This is from a real deposition transcript.  The lawyer was examining an adverse expert witness…

Q. As I understand it, what you’re saying is you can’t make a blanket statement that just because cellulitis doesn’t respond to broad-spectrum antibiotics that it’s not necessarily cellulitis?

A. Right.  Right.  I — I sort of got lost in the — in the … negatives there.  But — but I — I know you understand what I’m saying.

Correction:Um, No, he absolutely DOESN’T understand what you’re saying — and neither will a judge or jury if (legal gods forbid) this part of the transcript ever made its way into evidence.  First of all, the triple negative is impossible to interpret with any confidence.  Second, there is absolutely zero evidentiary value in what a lawyer may personally “understand.”  What matters is what the judge or jury understands.  And if all they have to go by is this testimony, they won’t understand much.  Moral of the day — there is a moratorium on negatives.  I know in reality there are some circumstances where you absolutely must use them, but lawyers must never — and I mean never (myself excluded for purposes of this demonstration) — use a double negative, triple negative, quadruple negative, etc.  If you MUST speak in terms of negation, trust me, one negative is plenty.

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