Depositions are one of several tools available to parties to obtain information from the opposing party to prepare for trial. When a deposition is set, it is sometimes a great source of stress for the deponent. In fact, most depositions are straight forward. This blog covers some key aspects of depositions to aid readers in understanding the process and to be a better deponent.
At the outset of each deposition, a court reporter who will swear the deponent and record word-for-word his or her statement has everyone in the deposition introduce themselves for identification purposes. This is usually followed by the deposing attorney laying out some basic rules, such as to be audible and not merely nod one’s head to a question so it is captured on the recording.
Following this standard initial process the deposing attorney will ask the deponent a series of identification questions, such as name and address. From this point, the questions take one of three forms as a general rule. The first are questions about areas the deposing counsel is uncertain, such as in a custody case as to the role the party has in the daily care of the child, or in a personal injury case, the details of an accident or specifics of daily pain levels and suffering. The next is to nail down specifics that might be in dispute at trial or might not to the streamline trial. Finally, for evidence that is unexpected and intended to surprise and “poke holes” in the deponent’s case theory.
During questions, your attorney may object in the event the deposition is used at trial, but the deponent answers, unless your attorney objects and instructs you not to answer; this could occur when the question directly or indirectly gets to your conversations with your attorney, which are confidential and legally privileged from answer.
Because of the potential of a typing error, error in wording by the deponent, a deponent, has the right to review the deposition and note any issues of contention on what is known as an errata sheet. This is always prudent. It is hoped this blog post helps the public at large understand this one tool of gathering information from the other side. If so, it has met its goal. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handles a wide array of criminal and civil litigation across the state. This is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is a form of advertising.