Hardcore Deposition: Lawyer Uses a Gun

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 14, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ask a seasoned court reporter to tell you a wild deposition story, and you'll hear an unbelievable tale.

But unlike people who tell a fish-that-got-away story, court reporters have transcripts to prove it. That's why the case of the gun-toting lawyer is a real classic.

Las Vegas attorney James Pengilly says he didn't use a gun in a deposition to intimidate a witness. Based on the deposition transcript, however, disciplinary authorities didn't buy his story.

"Appalling" Behavior

Lawyers, like anybody, can get angry in a deposition. The crafty ones learn not to show it -- at least not on the record.

Pengilly was not that crafty. It started with name-calling, escalated to cursing, then chest-beating, and finally the gun. Opposing counsel Dale Hayes, Jr. couldn't believe his eyes:

Hayes: "What are you doing now? If you pull the gun, I'm going to call the police."

Pengilly: "Get out of here. Get out of here right now."

Hayes: "Are you recording this?"

Wishing he had it on video, Hayes described it for the record. The court reporter nervously kept typing.

Hayes: "He's grabbing a gun with his right hand in his back pocket."

Deposition Suspended

Of course, the deposition was suspended -- and so was Pengilly. The state supreme court suspended him for six months and a day.

Still, he never changed his story. He admitted he had a gun, but said he has a license to carry.

"I have it every day, all day," he said. "I always carry a gun because I'm an attorney and people don't like me."

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