How Low Can You Go? Analyzing Deposition Misconduct and Avoiding Common Deposition Mistakes

Environmental, Mass Torts and Products Liability Litigation Committees’ Joint CLE Seminar, Program Materials, January 2013

American Bar Association 2013

11 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2013 Last revised: 11 Feb 2013

See all articles by David Grenardo

David Grenardo

St. Mary's University School of Law

Date Written: January 5, 2013

Abstract

Depositions represent a key discovery tool in litigation. Attorneys typically utilize depositions for any number of reasons, such as to obtain admissions from the opposing party for use at trial, to secure testimonial evidence that eliminates or creates genuine issues of material fact for summary judgment motions, to learn about the opposing party’s case, and/or to attain a preview of the other party’s arguments or strategies. Attorneys must prepare diligently for depositions they are taking or defending. Failure to prepare a witness for deposition or failure to prepare adequately to take a deposition may result in negative consequences for the client and its case, as well as sanctions against the attorney. Also, if an attorney defending a deposition does not stop or subdue the testifying witness’s unruly or obstreperous behavior, then the attorney may also be sanctioned for failing to act. Coaching a witness can also result in sanctions for an attorney, and certainly telling a witness explicitly what to say during a deposition could as well. This article discusses attorney misconduct in cases from several jurisdictions that relate to the following common mistakes made concerning depositions: failure to prepare for a deposition, failure to act during a deposition, and coaching a witness. This article also provides practical insight on how to avoid these mistakes.

Keywords: deposition preparation, deposition misconduct, obstreperous, witness preparation, coaching a witness, litigation practice, defending a deposition, taking a deposition, deposition sanctions

Suggested Citation

Grenardo, David, How Low Can You Go? Analyzing Deposition Misconduct and Avoiding Common Deposition Mistakes (January 5, 2013). American Bar Association 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2212204

David Grenardo (Contact Author)

St. Mary's University School of Law ( email )

1 Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228
United States

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