Robert A. Bonavito, CPA PC

Two Most Commonly Asked Questions in Court

I've been in court, had my depositions taken, arbitrations, mediations over 2,000 times. And the two questions I get that always are great interest to me when I'm in one of these situations is that it's...I call the slippery slope question and the ad hominem question.

The way these lawyers ask these questions is always interesting. It's amusing to me and the juries like it and the judge likes it. It's just fun. So I'm going talk about those two questions.

The first one is the slippery slope. And usually how the attorneys ask this question, let's say it's a car dealership and they want to substantiate, they want to show that the car dealership's making a lof money or can make a lot of money.

They'll say, "Well Mr. Bonavito, is it possible that this company could sell a hundred cars per week?" Well obviously anything is possible, so I'll say, "Yes, it's possible." Then they'll say, "Well if they sell if they make a thousand dollars on 500 cars per week, how much will they make?" "Well, they'd make $500,000." "Well Mr. Bonavito, isn't that...doesn't that come out to $26 million a year?" Yes it does. This is...they love to ask these type of questions to me. They don't usually make any sense, they waste time, but I have to go through and I have to answer them because obviously I'm an expert. And so when I get these slippery slope questions, I mean there's things I do and say that we're not going go into here, but these questions, I don't know, I mean usually I don't think they're any good to anybody, but it's an exercise I often have to go through.

The other question is the ad hominen argument. And what this is, where let's say we do these reports and we testify and they'll come into court,  or a deposition, arbitration and they'll attack me or they'll attack the company.They'll attack somebody else. They won't even mention the report.And that's what a ad hominen argument is.

And again, I'm at a loss why they would do this, but it happens a lot. And mostly...well, I think the reason they're doing it is they really don't have any good questions or really good arguments to counter the report. So if you do a lot of court testimony like I do, then expect these two questions.

If you have any questions on this, feel free to email me.

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