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Depositions as a Grudge Match

Over at his Illinois Practice Blog, Evan Schaeffer posts about a decision by 7th Circuit Judge Easterbrook in Redwood v. Dobson concerning bad behavior by lawers in depositions, though "not as bad as the insult-riddled performance by Joe Jamail that incensed the Supreme Court of Delaware." (Not sure if this widely circulated Joe Jamail deposition is the same one).

But Easterbrook's opinion doesn't offer entertainment value only. He also recounts a list of "don'ts" that lawyers should abide at depositions. They include:

    * Asking harassing questions;
    * Feigning an inability to remember;
    * Pretending not to understand ordinary words;
    * Giving improper instructions not to respond.

And Schaeffer explains that Easterbrook's opinion explains the few circumstances in which a deponent can be instructed not to answer a question under the federal rules. "A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation directed by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(4)." Being harassed isn't on the list, however; Easterbrook says that in some cases, the deponent may be entitled to "stalk out of the room."

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 9, 2007 at 06:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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