When you are a party in civil litigation (you are suing or being sued), it is common to receive a subpoena for your deposition. This means your opponent is on a “fishing expedition” to find out everything you know about the issues involved in the case. This process is done before a court reporter and you are asked all sorts of questions. Depositions are different than testimony at trial since the opposing counsel can ask a much broader scope of questions at a deposition if they might lead to admissible evidence.1 Keep in mind that your deposition testimony can significantly ...
October 3, 2018CD
Depositions are a way of gathering information about a case that actually involves your active participation with the attorneys. Most other forms of discovery are just through mail or electronic without both (or several) attorneys or a court reporter (who takes the deposition). A deposition is unique in nature because it allows questions to be asked of you and questions on responses that you cannot prepare for in advance. This blog covers five things you should know before you are deposed. Having this information in advance will allow you to provide more accurate or complete answers, advancing your case. Alternatively, it ...
February 8, 2018CD
One of the key ways to obtain information in litigation is by depositions. In the most common scenario, these are depositions of the parties. Essentially, a court reporter and the attorneys and the litigants meet at one of the attorney’s offices or the office of the court reporter, the witness/party is sworn under oath, and questions are asked by the deposing attorney. There are many aspects of depositions. This blog explores the five common mistakes in answering and the proper ways to answer deposition questions. Personal knowledge. In everyday life, we all answer questions in normal human discourse by stating as ...
November 16, 2017CD
The Four Cardinal Rules You Must Follow It may seem like an odd blog post, How to “win” your divorce case in a bench trial. The law is applied to the facts by the judge who then decides the case, right? Not necessarily. Judges are impartial, but a case can be won or lost by an unprepared litigant or attorney or failure to follow what are the four cardinal rules of trial. These are the topic of this blog post. The first and most important part of a trial is to have a trial theme that defines your case. This is like ...
October 17, 2017CD
In trial court testimony, it is rare that the prosecutor (if the defendant testifies on his or her behalf) or a Plaintiff’s or Defendant’s attorney gets a stunning revelation on cross-examination, such as in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men where the witness on trial in a military court—while enraged on cross—admitted he ordered the “code red” which caused other soldiers to beat up a non-conforming soldier. Equally, criminals on trial for murder don’t typically admit they killed the victim, nor does a divorcing party admit to a gambling or drinking problem. This is basic, innate, and instinctual self-preservation. However, ...
May 30, 2017Adam Hayes
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 ...
January 19, 2017Adam Hayes
Divorce trials are different from other civil and criminal trials because the events that led to the divorce are still going on and creating evidence and issues up to the point of trial. For this reason, a great deal of trial prep occurs near the time of the trial to capture the essence of the divorce dynamics. In this situation, it is often hard to determine any sort of rules to follow in presenting your case to the court (i.e., your testimony). However, over the years, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys have observed a few relative constant do’s and don’ts for ...
October 11, 2016Adam Hayes
When the inquiry is made about requesting the court to award attorney fees in domestic relations cases, such as a dissolution, modification of custody, paternity matter, modification of child support, or contempt issue, or protective order the standard answer is, “We can ask”. The American standard is that each party pays their own attorney fees, unless there is a contract or statute that allows for an award of attorney fees. In domestic relations matters there are statutes that allow the award of attorney fees, but that is just the first hurdle. Truly the determination of an attorney fee award is solidly ...
July 1, 2015Adam Hayes
Depositions of parties and third persons is common in litigation. In court a deposition may be used to impeach one’s credibility if they change their story or if they are unavailable for trial testimony. That said deponents sometimes do not know whether they should review their deposition and why. Generally, reviewing your deposition and having the chance to note mistakes is important. What should you look for? First, are all of the facts you relayed correctly stated in your deposition. Did you misunderstand a question or give an answer that is not recorded correctly in the deposition because, for instance, you had ...
June 18, 2015Adam Hayes
In all forms of litigation, civil and criminal, depositions are a common form of “discovery.” Discovery is the process of obtaining information to prepare for trial. In a deposition, an attorney asks questions with the other attorney asking clarification questions to get an accurate answer. With a deposition, it is easy for a party to under- or over-answer questions. When this or other improper answer occurs, the attorney will object, but the witness can answer unless his or her attorney instructs him not to do so; an example where a litigant would be instructed not to answer is with assertion of ...
April 28, 2015Adam Hayes