Novack and Macey represented an attorney who was accused of perjury during her deposition taken for a legal malpractice suit against her former law firm. The petitioner believed the attorney’s answers to several questions in her deposition were false and petitioned the Court to hold her in criminal contempt. Many of the questions called for the attorney’s recollection and interpretation of events, communications, and documents from more than four and a half years prior. Given the amount of time that has passed, she was not able to remember and provide answers.
- In a petition concerning alleged perjury, a petitioner must adequately allege that (1) the deponent’s testimony was false and untrue when made; (2) the deponent knew the testimony was false when she gave it; and (3) the deponent had a willful and malevolent intention of assailing the dignity of the court or of interfering with its procedure and the due administration of justice. The Court added to this standard that “an alleged false statement must be a statement of fact and not a conclusion, opinion or deduction drawn from given facts. Moreover, a truthful answer to a question subject to various interpretations is not perjury.”
Applying this framework, the Court found that none of the attorney’s contested responses where she couldn’t recall an event or didn’t have an answer to a question constituted perjury. The Court found it “clearly apparent” that the allegations were factually insufficient and dismissed with prejudice.