Pre-Deposition Tips: How to Prepare to Take a Deposition- Plaintiff’s Perspective

by: Prince, Glover & Hayes Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

PURPOSES OF A DEPOSITION

There are four primary reasons to take a deposition:

The first (and probably most important) reason is to get what I call “…the good, the bad and the ugly.” Yes, it is to acquire information valuable to your case and to help further your discovery efforts. A deposition should tell you what you have to do to prove or refute, or to pin down, favorable facts, and it should help you determine what additional evidence is needed. Depositions allow you to obtain information about the background, personality, and demeanor of a witness.

A second reason is to preserve testimony. A witness whose testimony will benefit your case might not be available at the time of trial. His or her deposition should be taken to preserve testimony. Consider videotaping a witness that you know will be “unavailable” unless their appearance dictates otherwise.

A third reason is to establish a basis for impeaching a witness during cross-examination. To do this, you can elicit factual and logical inconsistencies within the deposition, inconsistencies between the witness’ testimony and earlier statements made, or conflicts of interests, bias, prejudice, and/or incompetence. This information can be used against the witness at a future date, but only if you are thorough in your questioning.

A fourth reason is to encourage settlement. Information from a deposition may assist your opponent in assessing a case. In the reverse, information in a deposition can encourage your client to think more realistically about settlement when there are weaknesses in your case.

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