Legal Blogs

How to Prepare for Depositions in Business Litigation

Depositions are a common legal process during the discovery phase of civil litigation. A business litigation attorney can help you to understand what the purpose of a deposition is and can help you to ensure you are prepared for the deposition. How to Prepare for Depositions in Business Litigation

When you are being deposed, you need to know how to respond to the questions you are asked. You also need to try and make sure you avoid saying anything that could be considered an admission of guilt or that could undermine your case.  It is best to have a lawyer by your side during the deposition process.

Southern California Business Law firm Brown & Charbonneau, LLP provides legal guidance and advice to clients who are being deposed, or who wish to find out relevant information for their case by deposing others. When you need an Irvine business litigation attorney with experience in depositions in civil cases, our firm is here for you. Give us a call now to learn more.

What is a Deposition in Business Litigation?

A deposition in business litigation is a key part of the discovery process. During discovery, plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases exchange documents and other information that each party to the case will need to prepare legal arguments.  As part of the discovery process, it is also possible for plaintiffs or defendants to conduct interviews with people who may know details relevant to the case.

Formal, on-the-record interviews with potential witnesses are called depositions. Depositions are used to find out what a witness is likely to say when put on the stand in a civil court. Depositions can also be used to try to find inconsistencies in the information presented by a witness so the credibility of the witness can be called into question.

Both plaintiffs and defendants can depose people. According to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 025.210, a plaintiff can serve a notice of deposition without leave of the court on any date that is at least 20 days after a defendant has been served with a summons or after a defendant has appeared.  If the plaintiff needs to serve a notice of deposition easier, the plaintiff can make a motion to the court and the motion may be granted if good cause is shown. Defendants can also serve a notice of a deposition, and may do so at any time without leave of the court after the earlier of appearing in the action or being served.

How Can a Business Litigation Attorney Help You Prepare for a Deposition?

If you are being deposed as either a party to the case or as a witness who has been called to testify in a case against someone else, it is very important that you understand what to expect and that you are prepared.

Both a plaintiff’s lawyer and a defendant’s lawyer are able to ask questions during a deposition. Depositions are usually recorded, and there is usually an official court reporter who attends the depositions. A person who is giving a deposition is bound to tell the truth, just as he or she would be when presenting testimony in a court of law.

When you are deposed, you can be asked a wide variety of questions about what your involvement is in the case at hand, and about relevant details related to the case.  There are some limits on what you can be asked, and there are some rules of evidence that apply as well to ensure you do not offer testimony on details you don’t have firsthand or expert knowledge of.

You must tell the truth during a deposition, but this does not mean you need to volunteer information that could undermine your case.  Your business litigation attorney should explain the scope of the questioning during the deposition and should give you practice questions and conduct practice sessions with you so you are prepared to answer questions in a smart way.

Your attorney can generally also attend the deposition with you and can provide guidance on when a question may be problematic or when an objection to a question should be raised so the question may not have to be answered.

Contact a Top Rated California Business Litigation Attorney Today

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP provides representation to plaintiffs and defendants in business litigation. Whether you are being deposed or want to use a deposition to find out what witnesses are going to say in your civil case, give us a call so we can help.

Our Irvine business litigation team understands the rules for the discovery process and will work hard to protect your rights and help you build your case. Contact us now at 866-237-8129 or contact us online to learn more about how we can represent you.