Richard Hayes interview
Friday, January 13, 2023 – 9:30 a.m.
Richard Hayes is Kenneth Lemmons' lawyer in the malpractice suit against Veronica Smith, her practice, her partners, and the hospital.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Richard Hayes
Detective Armstrong: Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Richard Hayes: My name is Richard Hayes, and I live at 314 South 5th street.
Detective Murphy: Do you know why we asked you down here today?
Richard Hayes: I assume that one or both of you were hurt in the line of duty and want my help and expertise to ensure you receive your rightful due.
Detective Armstrong: Actually, we have some questions regarding the Kenneth Lemmons lawsuit.
Richard Hayes: That was my second guess. May I ask why my client is not present at this interview?
Detective Armstrong: You may. Would you characterize the Kenneth Lemmons filing as a nuisance lawsuit?
Richard Hayes: I resent the implication.
Detective Murphy: And what implication is that?
Richard Hayes: That my client is not due his claim.
Detective Armstrong: We're well aware of how the game is played, Mr. Hayes. You file a lawsuit against a large organization in hopes that they don't want to be bothered by the cost and trouble of going to court, and thus they offer you a generous cash settlement.
Richard Hayes: Offer my client a settlement, you mean.
Detective Armstrong: Of course. Your client.
Detective Murphy: If the various entities you're suing decide to fight, what do you think of your client's claim then?
Richard Hayes: Kenneth Lemmons has a solid case, and we'll easily prove causation, the link between the medical negligence and the harm done to the patient.
Detective Murphy: Does your client still believe that?
Richard Hayes: Why wouldn't he?
Detective Murphy: Events unfold slowly. Perhaps he's wavering. Perhaps he's given up.
Detective Armstrong: Has Kenneth Lemmons ever indicated to you he might pursue other avenues to satisfy his sense of injustice?
Richard Hayes: Are you accusing him of something?
Detective Armstrong: Please answer the question.
Richard Hayes: Kenneth Lemmons has never told me anything I'm free to share with you.
Detective Armstrong: Fair enough.
Detective Murphy: Dr. Veronica Smith was a victim of harassment. She received a series of unwanted text messages and had her tires slashed. Does Kenneth Lemmons strike you as someone capable of such actions?
Richard Hayes: Isn't everybody capable of almost any action? You're no doubt familiar with crimes of passion committed by people who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Detective Murphy: Would Kenneth Lemmons hurt a fly?
Richard Hayes: I do not believe my client harmed or harassed Dr. Veronica Smith. He may have hated Dr. Smith—and he had every right to hate her for what she did—but he would not resort to such childish tactics.
Detective Armstrong: You may feel you have a strong case. A judge or jury might feel otherwise. Do you know whether Mr. Lemmons has been recently exposed to sure-to-win lawsuits that lost?
Richard Hayes: I would certainly never give a client cause to give up hope, not when there's such a good chance of winning.
Detective Murphy: What happens to the lawsuit now that Dr. Smith has died?
Richard Hayes: A slight change in tactics. The insurance companies still exist, the doctor's estate. The hospital might even be more agreeable to putting the whole thing behind them.
Detective Murphy: So Dr. Smith's death could actually help the lawsuit.
Richard Hayes: That's a definite possibility, yes.
Detective Armstrong: How likely a possibility?
Richard Hayes: You know how the game is played, detective. There are no guarantees in law. Otherwise, I'd be rich.
Detective Armstrong: You do stand to make out if Kenneth Lemmons wins. You could get a better office, hire some staff, move up the food chain. A big money case like this could turn things around for you.
Richard Hayes: The figures we're talking, yes, my time will be well remunerated. More than that, though, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that justice has been observed.
Detective Murphy: Have you spoken to the opposing lawyers since the news broke?
Richard Hayes: I'm letting them sweat.
Detective Murphy: How about your client? Has he been calling you around the clock looking for updates?
Richard Hayes: Kenneth Lemmons is very distracted by his pain.
Detective Murphy: We'd like to talk to him, but he's been difficult to reach.
Richard Hayes: I'm sure we can arrange something.
Detective Murphy: We'd like it to be sooner rather than later.
Richard Hayes: I understand, but in addition to the unbearable pain he suffers from the loss of his beloved wife, my client also suffers terrible physical pain from—
Detective Murphy: We can come to him if he's unable to meet with us here.
Richard Hayes: I'll speak with him and see if we can arrange something for later this week. Will that suffice?
Detective Armstrong: Later today would be even better.
Richard Hayes: I'll see what I can do.
Detective Murphy: We'd appreciate that.
Richard Hayes: I'm always happy to help the boys in blue. Or girls, as the case may be. Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Detective Armstrong: Where were you the night Veronica Smith died?
Richard Hayes: Me? I wouldn't know.
Detective Armstrong: One week ago today.
Richard Hayes: That's the second Friday of the month? In that case, I do know where I was. That's poker night, which means I have four people who will testify as to how much money they took from me.
Detective Armstrong: Not much of a winner, are you?
Richard Hayes: It's not how often you win. It's how big you win.
Detective Murphy: On that note, we'll thank you for coming down today. We look forward to hearing from you about when we can interview Kenneth Lemmons—soon.
Richard Hayes: You have a good day, detectives.
Interview ended – 9:49 a.m.