They panicked and in their panic they did what most would...
[Plaintiff opening statement]
ladies and gentlemen of the jury: forget everything you've seen on television and in the movies. There's not going to be any last minute surprise witnesses, nobody's going to break down on the stand with a tearful confession, you're going to be presented with simple facts. Andrew Beckett was fired and you'll two explanations on why he was fired, ours and theirs it's up to you to sit through layer upon layer of truth until you determine for yourself which version sounds the most true. There's certain points I must prove to you: point number one: Andrew Beckett was... is a brilliant lawyer, a great lawyer, point number two: my client afflicted with a disabling disease made the understandable, the personal, and the legal choice to keep the fact of his illness to himself point number three: his employers discovered his illness and ladies and gentlemen the illness I'm referring to is AIDS point number four: they panicked and in their panic they did what most would do which is just get "it" and everybody who has "it" as far as away as possible, the behavior of my client's employers seem reasonable to you, it does to me, after all AIDS is a deadly incurable disease but no matter how you come to judge Charles Wheeler and his partners in ethical and moral and inhuman terms, the fact of the matter is when they fired Andrew Beckett because he has AIDS they broke the law.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury...
forget everything you've seen
on television and in the movies.
There's not gonna be
any last-minute surprise witnesses.
Nobody's gonna break down on
the stand with a tearful confession.
You're gonna be presented
with a simple fact.
Andrew Beckett was fired.
You'll hear two explanations for
why he was fired, ours and theirs.
It is up to you to sift through
layer upon layer of truth...
until you determine for yourselves
which version sounds the most true.
There's certain points
that I must prove to you.
Andrew Beckett was...
Is a brilliant lawyer.
Andrew Beckett, afflicted
with a debilitating disease...
made the understandable,
the personal, the legal choice...
to keep the fact of his illness
His employers discovered his illness.
And, ladies and gentlemen,
the illness I'm referring to is AIDS.
And in their panic,
they did what
most of us would
like to do with AIDS...
which is just get it
and everybody who has it...
as far away
from the rest of us as possible.
Now, the behavior of Andrew Beckett's
employers may seem reasonable to you.
It does to me.
After all, AIDS is a deadly,
But no matter
how you come to judge...
and his partners,
in ethical, moral
and in human terms...
the fact of the
matter is when they
fired Andrew Beckett
because he had AIDS...
they broke the law.
Andrew Beckett's performance
on the job varied from...
to often times mediocre...
He claims he's the victim
of lies and deceit.
It was Andrew Beckett who lied...
going to great lengths to conceal
his disease from his employers.
He was successful in his duplicity.
at Wyant-Wheeler did not know...
that Andrew Beckett had AIDS
when they fired him.
Andrew Beckett is dying.
Andrew Beckett is angry.
Because his lifestyle,
his reckless behavior...
has cut short his life.
And in his anger, his rage,
he is lashing out.
And he wants someone to pay.
represented your company...
in a lawsuit in
1990, is that correct?
- That's correct.
- Were you pleased with his work?
We were satisfied
with the outcome of the litigation.
Mr. Laird, when I approached you
about being a
witness at this trial...
you gave sworn testimony
in a deposition. Is that correct?
In that deposition you said that you
were impressed and delighted...
with the quality
of Andrew Beckett's
work. Do you recall saying that?
Clip duration: 279 seconds
Uploaded: 12 December, 2020
Summary: When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.