As a skilled personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR trusts , we should always recall that the deposition play a key role in building your case for trial. This is not merely a fact-finding tool. By the time a deposition is to be taken, you should be able to ascertain the defense’s position on most issues through responsive pleadings and written discovery. Now is the time to prove important facts, obtain admissions, and narrow the disputed facts to help set up your client for trial.
Notice of Deposition
Ensure that your notice is compliant with the rules in your jurisdiction, and that it is properly filed and served. As has been established in previous blog articles, all depositions should be videotaped. If what you want to get out of a deposition is not worth the cost of videotaping it, then the deposition isn’t worth taking. Make sure that you properly state in the notice that the deposition will be videotaped.
Rules do apply
If you are defending a deposition, make your objections concisely and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner. Cite the rule or objection for the record and don’t make a speaking objection. Only instruct your client not to answer 1) to preserve a privilege, 2) to enforce a court imposed limitation, or 3) to present a bad faith motion.
If your opposing counsel isn’t playing by these rules, point out to opposing counsel the fact that these objections are improper. If they continue, cite the rule or case law that supports your position, attach it to the deposition and make an official record of what rules your opponent is violating. If they still persist, you may have to contact the court for a telephone ruling on the record.
Depositions outlines: One question, one fact
In order to avoid objections to vagueness, ambiguity, or compound questions, keep the questions on your deposition outline simple. One question should deal with one fact. Try to keep the question to only take up one line on our outline as well. If questions start getting too long or complex, it can be difficult for the witness to understand and make it hard on you to achieve your goals. Make sure that each major goal in your deposition has its own heading in your deposition outline, and that the questions within that goal help assist you in obtaining the information you need.
Depositions can be one of the most valuable discovery tools in preparing and building your case for trial. For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran trial lawyer to properly prepare for trial.
Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into deposition rules.