Putnam County 2019 Law Day script
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PUTNAM COUNTY
TENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF ILLINOIS
VS. CASE # 19 – L - 427
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
This civil lawsuit is brought by Shantell L’Truth to collect damages from “Promography.Com” a “digital memories” company and its owner-operator, Willamena Meaner, for purposefully staging a pre-prom video that went virally bad.
Plaintiff’s sad tale begins with Lance Sellalot’s promise to take her to the Premier, Prom & Afterglow, which came with a promise that he would have a vintage Mustang at her doorstep to whisk her to an evening of fun and romance – the picture-perfect date that every Prom-goer would dream of ! Little did she know, until Lance arrived on the day of prom, that the “Mustang” she envisioned was not a car, but a HORSE ! Needless to say --- having laid out over $1,000 for a new dress, shoes, purse and accessories, hair and manicure – she was NOT about to mount that saddle or any saddle! Upset, and thoroughly angry at Lance, Shantell stormed back into her house, locked the door, and refused to even talk to Lance or the videographer who was standing out there with Lance, begging her to reconsider.
It was not until several days later that the plot thickened, as Shantell learned the identity of the woman who had been holding onto the horse’s reigns that day: Willamena Meanor, owner of Promography.Com. She had cooked up the entire “Mustang” surprise, intending to video the event and then to post the video on the net, hoping it -- and her business -- would “spiral viral.” Though Lance really had rented a vintage Mustang convertible, Willamena convinced him that the horse gag would be much more romantic – and a memory that would last forever. She was right – VERY right! And she now faces a jury to defend her business and reputation. Shantell seeks $100,000 in damages for her financial loss as well as the pain, suffering and humiliation she suffered --- including the emotional trauma of losing out on attending her Senior prom.
Who wins? That, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is up to YOU !
THE PUTNAM COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
WELCOMES YOU TO LAW DAY, 2019
Atty. Roger C. Bolin, PCBA President
Hon. Scott A. Shore, Law Day Chairman
TESTIMONY OF PLAINTIFF SHANTELL L’TRUTH
On Direct, Shantell’s attorney will ask questions to which she’ll answer:
- I am a Senior at Putnam County High School.
- I have been dreaming for months about finally attending the Prom and Afterglow, with senior heartthrob Lance Sellalot.
- Lance had asked her to the Prom months ago, and had promised that it would be the perfect night, beginning with his plan and promise to rent a vintage Mustang for their Prom Night transportation.
- In anticipation, I purchased a dress, matching shoes and purse, jewelry and accessories, AND I had my hair and nails done, at a total expense of $1,000.
- I was SO ready for the evening, watching out the front window, waiting for Lance and vintage Mustang to arrive.
- Then it happened… I couldn’t believe my eyes… Lance coming down the street, riding a HORSE! Where’s the Mustang, I thought! What kind of a cruel joke is this? And who’s that lady walking along-side his horse taking video?
- I rushed out to confront Lance, who got off his high horse with a huge smile on his face – a corsage in one hand and a pooper-scooper in the other!
- I demanded to know what this was all about!
- He kept looking back at the lady with a camera, as if he was totally ignoring my yelling and screaming.
- Finally he said, “Here’s the Mustang I promised – hop on!”
- I threw down my corsage, crying and screaming. This couldn’t be happening! No way was I going to get on that horse, or any horse, in my Prom dress, shoes and hair… it was too much to handle!
- I absolutely refused to do it, ran back in the house and locked the door.
- Lance and the camera lady kept begging me to come out for a good half hour, then left. I cried myself to sleep, hurt and humiliated – the best day of my life, and my only chance to attend my senior prom, ruined forever.
- Several days later, Lance tried to apologize and said it was all that lady’s fault, that he had hired her to photograph and video their Prom night, so they would both have a lasting memory, and she thought it would make a great video if he showed up ON a Mustang instead of IN one.
- I am claiming these losses: $1,000 for the prom dress and accessories that I’ll never wear, and $100,000 punitive damages for ruining my life and prom night!
On Cross Examination by Willamena Meaner’s lawyer, Shantell will admit:
- Yes, I had said yes to two seniors– Lance and Bob - BOTH asked me to Prom.
- Yes, I called Bob when I was in the house, but by then he had another date.
3. Yes, I could have gone to Prom and Afterglow on my own – it was my choice, but for good reason, and due to the humiliation, not to do so. MY LIFE IS RUINED!
TESTIMONY OF PLAINTIFF’S WITNESS LANCE SELLALOT
On Direct, Shantell’s attorney will ask questions to which he’ll answer:
- I am a Senior at PCHS and I know both the plaintiff and the defendant.
- I had asked Shantell to be my date for the Premier, Prom and Afterglow.
- I had promised to rent a vintage Mustang for Prom day and promised I would have it at her doorstep on the way to the Premier.
- Wanting everything to be perfect for us both, I hired a videographer – photographer to photo-journal our night together.
- I found a company on line called “PROMOGRAPHY.COM” advertising that they specialize in Proms and could offer a one-of-a-kind memory that would last a lifetime! Sounded GREAT! I called and told the owner, Willemena Meaner, my Prom date plans – including renting a vintage Mustang.
- She came up with, what I thought was, a perfect plan – to surprise Shantell by arriving on a Mustang HORSE – as she video’d Shantell’s laughter and surprise --- starting the evening out with a memory that would last a lifetime, just as promised! I thought it was a GREAT idea!
- I was totally surprised see Shantell’s reaction when I showed up on horseback. I thought she would see the humor in it – guess NOT! I begged her to come out of the house, but she would not do so – and now, thinking about it, I don’t blame her. Willemena Meaner’s idea was a VERY bad plan, and in fact I fired her on the spot.
- I tried to explain the whole thing to Shantelle the next week, but of course it was too late to fix our Prom night. Even though she doesn’t like me, I wish her well, and hope she wins everything she deserves – in this case, and in life!
On Cross Examination by Willemena’s Attorney, Lance will admit (if asked):
- Yes, I think Shantell over-reacted. She is usually bright, funny, and ready for a gag or surprise no matter what it is – She even pulls gags like this on her own friends!
- I had a REAL vintage Mustang rented, and parked at school, to get us to Celebrations 150 and back to the Afterglow… the horse gag was just for the mile or so from Shantell’s house to the Premier. She could have walked it if she wanted to. (She never asked!)
- Yes, I might have signed some kind of release form – but Shantell wasn’t asked to sign anything. In fact she knew nothing about the video thing!
TESTIMONY OF DEFENDANT, WILLAMENA MEANER
On Direct, Willamena’s attorney will ask questions to which she’ll answer:
- I graduated high school last year.
- I’m the owner of a start-up company called Promography.Com…. I photograph and video special events. I specialize in Prom events because my own prom night was so special for me, and I want to remember it forever.
- A person named Lance Sellalot responded to my web ad, asking me to video and photograph his prom night with someone named Shantell L’Truth. I listened to his plans, and offered him a great deal … AND a great idea!
- I suggested that he surprise his Prom date by showing up with a Mustang HORSE rather than a Mustang car, while I video’d and photographed the entire surprise experience which was sure to be hysterical laughter – and a Prom memory captured digitally, forever!
- Lance loved the idea as much as I did – maybe more! He rented a horse, and we arrived together at Shantell’s house, just as planned.
- OMG – Shantell was hysterical alright, but not as planned – She went ballistic! Crazy! She started ranting and raving, and was uncontrollably angry at Lance!
- I kept video’ing but it got pretty ugly. I could not believe her lack of enjoyment of all this – clearly my perfect idea backfired.
- NONE of this is my fault – it was the perfect plan and it was just Shantell’s lack of ANY sense of humor and adventure that blew their date and my contract too!
- I should be suing HER for interfering with my contract with Lance. I can’t believe that SHE is suing ME! She should get NOTHING --unless she’s suing for a sense of humor, which she desperately needs!
On Cross Examination by Shantell’s Attorney, Willemena will admit (if asked):
- Yes, I was hoping this video would spiral viral, and my business too!
- Yes, I charged Lance practically nothing because of my hope that this would launch my company into internet fame and fortune.
- Yes, Lance signed a release to allow me to post the video whether Shantelle reacted positively or badly – good for MY business either way!
- Yes, I posted it…. And I’ve had over 50,000 hits this week so far! It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me!
- Yes, I have also made money off of licensing, adds and YouTube. Hey, a girl has to earn a living!
TESTIMONY OF DEFENSE WITNESS, BOB
On Direct, Willemena’s attorney will ask questions to which he’ll answer:
- I’m a student at PCHS and I had also asked Shantell L’Truth to the Prom.
- She said yes and that was great.
- She NEVER told me she was going with Lance, but I heard that on the grapevine and got another date, from another school.
- I never told Shantell that I had another date – I don’t know what she was thinking, saying yes to TWO of us, but I wanted her to stew about it.
- On the day of Prom – just before the Premier was about to start – I got a text from Shantell asking me where I was and when I might be coming to get her!
- I texted back that I was at the Premier with my date and would see her there – what nerve!
On Cross Examination, BOB will have to admit (if asked):
- Yes, my Prom date was Willemena Meaner’s sister, Misty Meaner.
- Yes, I told Misty all about Shantell and her deceptive ways.
- Yes, Misty told me that her sister might help us set up Shantell in a way she’ll regret for a long time to come.
- All I knew was that Willemena had a REAL MEAN STREAK in her.. and that was fine with me!
- Yes, I’m happy that Shantell got what was coming to her.
- Yes, I’ve seen the video --- EVERYONE has – funniest thing since the “Charlie bit my finger” video when IT went viral – that one has had over 900 million views!
VERDICT FORM A
We, the jury, find FOR the Plaintiff, Shantell L’Truth, and AGAINST Promography.com
We award damages to the Plaintiff, itemized as follows:
Out-of-pocket losses for dress, purse, shoes etc.
(Plaintiff claims $1,000): $___________________
Pain and suffering, embarrassment, loss of
Prom experience (Plaintiff claims $100,000): $___________________
Other damages (specify): __________________ $___________________
TOTAL DAMAGES AWARDED: $___________________
Signature of Foreperson
VERDICT FORM B
We, the jury, find AGAINST the Plaintiff, Shantelle L’Truth, and FOR the Defendant,
Promography.Com. (Shantelle gets nothing.)
Signature of Foreperson
JUDGE’S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE JURY AT THE END OF THE CASE
Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, it is now time for you to deliberate on your verdict. You must first select a foreperson who will preside over your deliberations. Any verdict you reach must be unanimous.
You will be given two forms of verdict.
If you find in favor of the Plaintiff, you will use Verdict Form A and you will determine the amount of damages to be assessed for her claimed losses, $1,000 claimed for her out-of-pocket expenses for her dress, purse, shoes and accessories, and $100,000 claimed for pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of her (last chance in a lifetime) prom night experience.
If you find in favor of the Defendant, use Verdict Form B. You would then have no occasion to consider the issue of damages.
Ordinarily, you would have as many hours or days as it would take to reach a verdict. But today, you have FIVE MINUTES!
BAILIFF, PLEASE TAKE THESE VERDICT FORMS --AND TAKE THE JURORS INTO THE JURY ROOM TO BEGIN THEIR DELIBERATIONS!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COURT REPORTER
The Court Reporter provides the only record of what everyone says during the trial. This is used to repeat an answer the Court or parties did not hear, and provides the transcripts in the event of an appeal.
In this Mock Trial, the Court Reporter should make quick notes of key testimony --and may be called upon by the judge to read back the last question or answer!
If a lawyer asks to have something read back, the Court Reporter should ask the judge for permission to do so.
The Court Reporter also reports all parties’ names and their roles for the Record. Please “fill in” the student-participants’ names (ask for help if needed!)
Plaintiff – Shantell L’Truth ________________
Plaintiff’s Lawyer ________________
Witness – Lance Sellalot ________________
Defendant – Willemena Meaner ________________
Defendant’s Lawyer ________________
Witness – BOB ________________
Circuit Clerk ________________
Court Reporter ________________
Front Row (right to left) Back Row (right to left)
THE CIRCUIT CLERK ADMINISTERS THIS
OATH TO EACH WITNESS:
Stand and raise your right hand, then ask the witness to raise his or her right hand, and ask:
Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
THE BAILIFF OPENS COURT BY SAYING:
All Rise! The Circuit Court for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of The State Of Illinois Is Now In Session, The Honorable Judge _______Presiding!
THE JUDGE “DIRECTS TRAFFIC”
BY TELLING COUNSEL:
WHEN TO CALL THEIR NEXT WITNESS,
WHERE THE WITNESS SHOULD STAND TO BE SWORN IN BY THE CIRCUIT CLERK,
WHEN TO PROCEED,
WHEN TO CROSS EXAMINE, AND
BY TELLING WITNESSES:
TO SPEAK UP
TO ANSWER A QUESTION IF THE WITNESS REFUSES
TO STEP DOWN WHEN THE WITNESS IS DONE TESTIFYING
BY TELLING JURORS:
WHEN TO BEGIN THEIR DELIBERATION
WHAT ISSUES THEY ARE TO DECIDE
BY TELLING THE COURT REPORTER
WHEN TO READ BACK A QUESTION OR ANSWER
THE JUDGE RULES ON OBJECTIONS BY SAYING:
(If the judge agrees with the objection): SUSTAINED!
(If the judge disagrees with the objection) OVERRULED!
JUDGE: Now and then, after an interesting witness response, ask the Court Reporter to please read that back?
JUDGE: If the witness is soft-spoken, ask the witness to repeat his or her last answer so that the jury can hear it.
Good Morning. As the Bailiff announced in opening court, I am Judge __________ and I will preside over today’s proceedings. We require strict adherence to Court Rules and if I see any infractions, the Bailiff will be called upon to deal with you!
Today’s case is a civil suit in which Shantell L’Truth is suing Willemena Meaner, owner of PROMOGRAPHY.COM, for ruining her prom night experience for her own selfish profit and possibly for other personal motives.
To collect any damages, the Plaintiff must prove the Defendant is liable, and that she sustained the damages she claims, by a preponderance of the evidence, or in other words, that her case weighs at least slightly in favor of her winning.
Order Of Proceedings: (keep things moving!!!)
- Plaintiff, call your first witness to be sworn and to then take the stand.
- Defense, you may cross-examine.
- The Witness is excused.
- Plaintiff, call your next witness to be sworn and to then take the stand.
- Defense, you may cross-examine.
- The Witness is excused.
- Does the Plaintiff Rest?
- Defense, call your first witness to be sworn and to then take the stand.
- Plaintiff, you may cross-examine.
- The Witness is excused.
- Defense, call your next witness to be sworn and to then take the stand.
- Plaintiff, you may cross-examine.
- The Witness is excused.
- Does the Defense Rest?
FOR FUN: WHEN SOMETHING IMPORTANT IS SAID, STOP THE PROCEEDINGS AND ASK COURT REPORTER TO READ THAT BACK!
Now that the evidence is concluded, Each Lawyer will have one minute to tell the jury what each side wants the jury to do, and why. (Call time if necessary!)
Instruct the Jury! (See next page)
When the Jury returns:
Does the jury have a verdict?
Ask the Foreperson to stand and Read the Verdict and then you (Judge) can say:
I pronounce judgment for _______ and against _________ !
-- and you can ask the loser if they want to appeal to a higher court!!
WELCOME TO PUTNAM COUNTY LAW DAY, 2019!
- Picture on Front Steps; Introduction of County Office-Holders & Bar.
- Brief introduction to the purpose of Law Day and agenda, history of courthouse, connection to Abe Lincoln. This year’s theme: Free Press, Free Speech, Free People! While the first amendment protects speech, and the press protects our right to know, are there limits on what the press can leak? Are there limits on what schools can teach or preach? Are there limits on what kind of statues or holiday exhibits we can display in a park? Are there limits on hate rhetoric on social media? You are the future deciders of these issues.
- Selection of cast members for mock trial script:
Plaintiff, Shantell L’Truth
Plaintiff’s Witness, Lance Sellalot
Defendant, Willemena Meaner
Defense Witness, BOB
Circuit Clerk, Court Reporter, Bailiff,
Jury, Alternates, and Judge
Assignment of all others as shadow jurors.
- Those who will be jurors and shadow jurors can tour the courthouse and sheriff’s offices, and can register to vote – be back at exactly 9:40 for the start of our trial! Jurors not present will be replaced! Those already assigned roles will stay to prepare, but will get a chance to tour and register after the mock trial.
- Open Court and conduct Mock Trial.
- Pictures of participants while Jury deliberates; picture of jury after deliberations with foreperson standing;
- Participants tour and register, students load and leave.