Stranger than science fiction

The Madison County Record May 18, 2008, 6:54am

Some lawyers use case law to argue a motion in court. Amanda Verett reads sci-fi novels.

As reported by Steve Korris, a new fictional law of physics from an obscure book named "Demons in the Freezer" has been seized upon in Verett's year-old legal crusade against Pizza Hut.

In case you've forgotten, she claims the company bears responsibility for her allegedly injured shoulder as she held open the restaurant door for a Troy policeman after a fracas there in February 2007.

Officer Clarence Jackson wasn't there to eat; he was responding to a 911 call from Pizza Hut managers. The call was prompted by Verett and her male law partner, who were reportedly causing a disturbance, according to testimony.

But we digress.

In a sworn deposition, Verett now suggests it was a mysterious "vacuum effect"-- caused by Jackson and Pizza Hut--that led to her door-opening injury.

"There is a negative pressure environment inside a level four contagion lab," she said. "The scientists have a lot of trouble getting the doors open because there is a negative pressure inside the containment room," she opined.

This fictitious event--from a book we cannot verify exists and is not offered by presented by Verett to the Madison County court as legitimate proof in support of her personal injury claim.

That is, just like the fictious scientists in "Demons in the Freezer" had trouble opening the fictious door to enter their fictious lab, she had trouble opening the door to exit Pizza Hut.

Or maybe she didn't. Pizza Hut's lawyer, Jennifer Kunze, noted that "in a brief moment of apparent lucidity," Verett admitted during the same deposition that her vacuum theory didn't really apply in this case at all.

She wasn't just like the scientists in her story, after all. That's because, at the moment of truth, the inner and outer doors of the restaurant were both open.

Verett and her attorney, the notorious Thomas Maag, provide many a Record reader with steady comic relief. It's fun to tune in and track their free-suing exploits here in the Third Circuit, where no potential defendant can hide from their payday-seeking imaginations.

But the court has a responsibility to do something about lawyers who seem to routinely give the profession a black eye. In the world of public opinion it doesn't just reflect upon them. but on all lawyers.

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