Whose Depositions Should You Attend?
After a lawsuit is filed, all parties’ attorneys have the right to conduct a formal investigation to find out more information and details about the case. This phase before settlement or trial is known as the discovery phase.
During discovery, the petitioner’s attorney collect evidence and facts to use to define their strategies better. This process helps avoid delays once the trial starts and can also lead to a settlement without having to go to trial. The most common tools used in discovery include interrogatories, subpoenas, and depositions.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is the taking of a witness’s statement under oath. It plays a critical role in discovering what the witness knows, preserving their testimonies, and understanding the case better. The person (deponent) appears at the office’s location at the specified time and then gives a sworn testimony under oath. The criminal defense attorney asks various questions to the deponent, similar to what happens in a trial.
With very few exceptions, anyone suspected to have the facts of the case can be deposed. They can be served a subpoena if they don’t show up in good faith.
Whose depositions should you attend?
Before we get to whose deposition you should attend, you need to understand who is allowed to attend depositions.
Who can attend depositions?
At least four people must be present in a deposition:
- the deponent to answer the questions;
- the deponent’s attorney to make sure their rights are protected;
- the opposing attorney to ask the questions; and
- the court reporter to give the oath and record everything said on the record.
These are the necessary parties to a deposition; it cannot be conducted if one is missing. An interpreter, expert witness, and videographer could be present if needed.
Who else can attend a deposition?
Anyone who wants can attend a deposition unless the court specifies otherwise. For the court to make such an order, the deponent or affected party may move for a protective order against certain people. If you show up to deposition and any party or attorney doesn’t want you, the attorney may suspend it to gain a court order to restrict you from coming.
Whose depositions should you attend?
Depositions can be long, tedious, and frustrating for the involved and passive observing parties. You may have to shelve important tasks, such as taking time off work to attend. At the deposition, you are not allowed to speak; only listen and take notes if you want.
To subject yourself to that, it should be something you have to do to avoid an undesired outcome or guarantee a positive outcome. Whose deposition should you attend? That depends on whether you are a named party in the lawsuit.
If you’re a named party in the lawsuit
If you’re a named party in the lawsuit, you should attend every deposition where you can influence the testimony in your favor simply by being present. You want the witness or defendant to be truthful or, at the very least, to corroborate what you agreed on or said. Stabbing you in the back will be harder if you are sitting right there.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident by another driver, attending the defendant’s deposition will influence them to testify truthfully. This subtle pressure could significantly influence the testimony in your favor. Just remember to be unobtrusive.
If you aren’t a named party in the lawsuit
If your friend or family member is being deposed, you should attend their deposition if they want you to.
The deponents often wish to have family or friends attend the deposition with them. Being interrogated for several hours can be exhausting and intimidating, so the deponent may need moral support and advice during breaks.
For example, a father may attend the deposition of a daughter engaged in a divorce proceeding for support and maybe intimidation. Media reporters can also attend a deposition.
Do you stand to gain from the deposition?
A deposition allows a criminal law attorney to learn more about a case while collecting and preserving witness testimonies. It involves asking the deponent questions related to the case and takes usually a few hours.
Why you need a lawyer
If you have an interest in the case, whether directly or indirectly, you can attend the deposition. Nevertheless, you should ask your lawyer first. They will help you determine whether it’s a situation you stand to gain from and advise you on the best course of action.
If you aren’t sure whether to attend a deposition, call the attorneys at Right Law Group for a free consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I say when you attend a deposition?
Nothing. Don’t say a word during the session if you are attending someone else’s deposition.
2. If either party doesn’t want me there, can the attorney refuse to continue with the deposition until I leave?
No, they cannot. They can only reschedule the deposition to a later date to acquire a court order to bar you.
3. Are depositions private?
If the deposition is filed as official evidence for a case, it is made available to the public but if not, it remains private.