Depositions vs. Interrogatories in Discovery
An Irvine trial specialist provides assistance when companies become involved in civil litigation. Your business may determine that you need to use the California state court system or the federal court system to seek protection of your rights, in which case you could file a lawsuit. Your company could also be sued if someone believes the business infringed upon their legal rights. If your business is sued, an effective response is essential.
An Irvine trial specialist at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP provides representation and advocacy both to companies which are suing and to companies which have had claims filed against them. We can help your business to do everything possible to develop an effective legal strategy that is aimed at maximizing the chances of getting an outcome as favorable as possible within the civil litigation system.
The pre-trial process and case preparation are integral parts of success in civil litigation, so you must be prepared to develop your case before appearing in court. Discovery is a key part of the process, and often involves the use of both depositions and interrogatories. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help with both. Give us a call to find out more about what is involved in the discovery process and to get a legal advocate on your side who can help with your case.
What are Depositions and Interrogatories in Discovery?
The discovery process is a pre-trial process that takes place before a civil lawsuit goes to court for opposing parties to present evidence. The purpose of discovery is to help facilitate the process of each party to the civil case obtaining access they may need to build a case or raise defenses. Information that could be relevant to the case is exchanged during discovery, such as documents, photographs, emails and electronic data, and more.
The exchange of paperwork and materials is just one part of the discovery process. People who may be called upon to testify as witnesses are typically also interviewed or asked questions during the discovery process by the party whom the witness will be testifying against. The purpose of the questioning or interviewing is to find out what the witness is going to say in court. Further, since the questioning of the witness is done under oath, things the witness says during discovery could potentially be used against the witness if he tells a different story or changes the facts when actually testifying in court. In other words, the information from discovery could essentially be used to impeach the witness’ testimony during trial and undermine the credibility of a witness.
There are different ways for witnesses to be questioned to find out what they’re going to say in court. One option is to send the witness an interrogatory and the other is to schedule a deposition. Sometimes, both occur. An interrogatory may be sent first and then the witness who completed the questions on the interrogatory could be deposed.
California Code Section 2030.210 explains requirements for responding to interrogatories. Those who must complete an interrogatory need to respond in writing and provide all discoverable information. Alternatively, an objection could be raised to the interrogatory with the goal of preventing the questioning. There are also rules for responding to and scheduling depositions.
Interrogatories can be quicker, less costly, and less complicated than depositions, but there are downsides. Since the questions are written, the witness may have more time to think and craft answers, rather than providing more candid answers during discovery. There is also no chance for back and forth questioning in an interrogatory, unless a subsequent deposition is scheduled. However, if the witness is not likely to be a key witness or if the more intense questioning of a deposition is unnecessary, interrogatories can be simpler and easier for all involved parties.
In many cases, depositions allow for much more information to be gleaned, as compared with interrogatories. Not only can better follow-up questions be asked, but those being deposed can be pressed for more information if answers are not detailed or forthcoming. It is also possible to observe a witness and get an idea of how the witness is able to articulate answers when questioned. This can be invaluable in preparing for how to handle the witness during a civil trial. An experienced attorney can question the witness during a deposition and can develop a solid strategy for court based on this questioning.
Getting Help from An Irvine Trial Specialist
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance to companies during the discovery process, whether your business is suing someone or has been served with notice of a lawsuit and must begin working on a defense. When you trust our firm to help with your company’s case, you can rest assured your legal issues will be handled by an Irvine trial specialist with the utmost of experience and legal skills. To find out more about the personalized help we offer, give us a call at 866-237-8129 or contact us online today.