A Juror’s View of Impeachment Using Deposition Testimony

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A juror in an insurance coverage case described the impact of impeachment of the plaintiff using inconsistent deposition testimony.  Dan Rodricks: Was it a hack or just a ride between friends? A Baltimore jury — with me on it — decides. | COMMENTARY – Baltimore Sun (Nov. 19, 2022).

Plaintiffs, a mother and her son, were injured in an auto accident.  The driver’s insurer denied coverage, asserting that the car was a “hack,” that is a car for hire, which was uninsured.[1]

Plaintiffs contended that the driver was an “acquaintance” and claimed that:

He gave Mom and Son a ride so they could shop for groceries. They gave him… $10 so he could buy some lunch and, during a stop on the way home, a snack at a pharmacy. There was no evidence that Mom and Son offered him anything more.

Plaintiffs sought to recover the entire $30,000 policy.

But, their testimony was impeached:

So the jurors were not convinced that the guy’s Ford Escort had been transformed into a hack. But no juror was happy with the testimony, either. When presented with transcripts of answers they had given in depositions long before trial, Mom and Son, as well as the alleged hack, denied just about everything they had said. That got to be pretty strange; it made us less sympathetic toward Mom and Son and cut into what we thought they deserved.

Id. (emphasis added).  The jury “awarded them about $11,000 in medical expenses and something extra for time, inconvenience and stress, a total of $14,383 between them.”  Id.


[1] In the Baltimore Sun article, a “hack” is described as “Baltimore’s unique informal transportation system” with historic roots in “Black exclusion in public transit.” Mr. Rodricks wrote: “Those who use hacks might not own cars or have a driver’s license. They might not have time to wait for a bus, might not have a credit card for an Uber or Lyft. They might have a disability. They might be standing in the rain.”