PREPARING FOR AND HAVING YOUR DEPOSITION TAKEN
A perfectly good day at work is ruined when you receive a phone call from your company’s attorney informing you to come up with dates when you are available to have your deposition taken! Excuses quickly race through your head, “I don’t remember anything,” “Bob in HR is really the person who dealt with the matter.” However, the attorney persists that it is your deposition that is needed, so you provide the attorney with a date and start to worry.
The fear, annoyance and frustration of having your deposition taken can be alleviated if you know what to expect.
Take the time to meet with the attorney to prepare for the deposition and take the preparation time seriously.
The most important step to prepare for a deposition is to talk to an attorney prior to the deposition being taken. Do not rely upon what friends, family members or acquaintances might tell you about what will occur during the deposition. Listen to what the attorney advises, heed the advice and utilize it during the deposition. During deposition preparation, do not be afraid to ask the attorney questions—what the attorney believes the topics will be, any specific questions the attorney knows will be asked, how long the attorney believes the deposition will take, etc. Ask the attorney what, if anything, you should review prior to your deposition. Review only the items identified by the attorney.
A court reporter will be present at the deposition and will make a record of everything that is said. You may feel the need to discuss topics that are not relevant to the deposition or engage in idle chit-chat. During a deposition, remember that whatever you say, even if not in response to a question, will likely be recorded by the court reporter. If the attorneys ask that the deposition be transcribed, you may be asked to read it. At that time, you can discuss with the attorney what to do if there are any errors.
At the beginning of the deposition, a court reporter will have you swear to tell the truth which obviously requires that you tell the truth. When responding, do not guess in order to provide an answer because you think you should know or should remember. A deposition is not some sort of test to come up with the “right answer.” An attorney is attempting to find out what you know about the facts and circumstances that surround the case.
A deposition will typically take place in a conference room at a law office. Make sure you have been provided with the address for the location of the deposition and the time it starts. If you have met with your attorney, in advance, and know what to expect, there is no reason to be nervous. Depositions are normally used to gather facts before trial.
Note that this post is only a brief summary about preparing and having your deposition taken, it does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship. Should you have specific questions regarding the above, please contact Steven Scott or R. Lawrence Steele at Hodges and Davis.
Hodges and Davis, P.C. - November 2014