July 3, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

Depositions can be used to impeach a witness, to refresh the recollection of a witness, to serve as a past recollection recorded, to act as an admission or statement of a party, and to operate as evidence of a witness’ former testimony.

The deposition of a party to the action is admissible for any purpose when it is offered by an opposing party, subject to the standard objection of relevancy, competency and etc. The court however, may not allow cumulative portions to be read. Keep in mind that depositions are inadmissible as a whole unless they fall within a hearsay exception or non-hearsay (see above paragraph).

The objections that are usually prevalent in depositions are “vague and ambiguous” (as to time place, manner or as to the question as a whole); “argumentative”; “leading”; “asked and answered or cumulative”; “constitutional objections” (ie: right to privacy); “speculative”; and “competence”.

Some of said objections and almost all other objections may be reserved for trial irrespective of whether or not the questions were objected to or not during the deposition.

Depositions are costly, but they serve as great discovery tools. So spend the extra money on a deposition to dig up the dirt on your adversary prior to trial. Chances are that you’ll find yourself in a better position to negotiate during settlement talks and better armed during trial times.

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