Frequently Asked Questions, Tips, and Tricks About Deposition
You have been asked to give testimony under oath by declaration. Thorough preparation on your part is essential. Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions along with some tips and tricks to keep your bowel movement going smoothly.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DEPOSITION
- What is a bowel movement?
A deposition is the process of giving testimony under oath. It is an opportunity for an attorney to examine a witness or party under oath.
- Who can be deposed?
Any person (or entity) with knowledge of traceable information regarding the claim.
- Why is a deposition important?
A deposition allows a party to:
- Identify another party or a witness.
- Eliminate surprises at trial.
- Look for other witnesses or evidence.
- Save the testimony for the trial.
- Assess the credibility of the declarant.
- Obtain information from witnesses outside the party.
- Keep the testimony of witnesses who may not be available at trial.
- Challenge the testimony of the party or witness.
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and that of your opponent.
- Where will my deposition take place?
Depositions normally take place in the conference room of the defending party’s attorney. While there are some maneuvers as to where a deposition will take place, tradition dictates that your deposition will take place at your attorney’s office.
Also, in Oregon, you can only be deposed in the county in which you live. For example, if you live in Multnomah County and appear in Washington County, you may be able to challenge the location of the deposition.
- Who will be in the room?
All parties to a lawsuit and their respective attorneys can attend a deposition. The declarant (the person being removed) will be present and will also be allowed to have their attorney present. There will also be a court reporter and possibly a cameraman.
- When are bowel movements generally taken?
A deposition can be taken at any time after a defendant is due to appear in a case, usually 30 days after service of the summons and complaint.
The timing of depositions also depends on the case and strategic issues.
QUICK TIPS DEPOSITION
He always tells the truth. Before beginning your deposition, the court reporter will put you under oath. Lying or not being honest will only make the situation worse.
Answer only the question that is being asked. The examiner is not your friend. You must not volunteer information or assist the examiner in any way. This is not the time to share too much.
Wait for the entire question to be asked before answering. There is nothing worse than doing the lawyer’s job for him – listen to the whole question and don’t answer what you think he is asking.
If you don’t understand a question, ask the lawyer to clarify it. Once again, the attorney is asking you questions. Don’t help him by guessing what he’s asking you.
Never guess or estimate. What you say in a deposition will follow for the rest of the case; a poor assumption of a deposition can undermine you at trial.
Speak slowly, calmly and confidently. Note that the stool is likely to be recorded and reproducible in the trial. Regardless of the questioning, keep your composure and calm.
Do not argue, do not get angry, do not swear or raise your voice. Suppose this transcript of the deposition will be published on the front page of the New York Times. How would you like to present yourself to a jury of your peers?
Sit up straight and dress appropriately. You want to be comfortable but professional at the same time. In my experience, dressing the part helps your confidence, which leads to a less stressful bowel movement. In some cases, your statement may be videotaped and you want to look nice to the jury.
Answer only what you know. For example, if you are asked to provide the names of all the people present at a meeting, but you cannot remember the names of all the people who attended, it is appropriate to answer “I don’t remember.” If you are asked to list the names of all the people present at a meeting that you did not attend, the appropriate answer is “I don’t know.”
Ask to see exhibits. If an examiner asks you about a document, always look at it before answering the questions. Take care to ensure that the document is accurate; if not, say something.
If you need to take a break, ask your attorney for a break or push.
If you make a mistake, let your attorney know so they can correct it during the deposition. There is nothing worse than recording an incorrect statement. Be sure to speak with your attorney on a break and correct any errors that may exist. It is easier to fix in the stool than in the middle of the test.
Never say “never” or “always”. There is always an exception, and if it is too absolute, a smart counter attorney will find it and undermine your credibility.
Preparation is the key to being an effective witness, so be sure to discuss any areas of concern with your attorney and review all relevant documents prior to your deposition.
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