Depositions in California
When a party or non-party witness is questioned orally under oath it is called a deposition. Those who are facilitating the questions are called “deposition officers”. Depositions are valuable because it is considered a sworn written testimony that can be used as admissible evidence during trial. Dispositions also offer the opportunity for an attorney to see how a party might conduct themselves in court.
A proper deposition notice is required when you compel a party for deposition testimony. For a non-party, a deposition subpoena must be issued.
Documents are crucial to winning a case. Legal counsels will often request documents from both parties and non-parties. In order to request documents from a party, all specific items should be listed in the deposition notice. For non-parties, documents need to be specified in the subpoena. This process is to make the deposition more transparent and efficient: documents are attached to the deposition transcript as exhibits for court.
Any party to an action can depose anyone: party or non-party. A party sometimes subjects oneself to a deposition. For non-parties, deposition is the only discovery method available.
Timing of Depositions
Defendant: Interrogations often precede depositions. A defendant will most likely not have enough information about the case to prepare for a proper deposition, thus they wait till after a plaintiff.
Plaintiff: Plaintiffs have to wait 20 days after the service of summons or an appearance in action by the defendant before they serve a notice of deposition.
Where do Depositions Take Place?
Commonly, dispositions are taken at noticing attorney’s offices. However, it is smart to accommodate the other party to avoid frivolous litigation.
Advantages of Depositions
Depositions allow you to explore evidence. Some evidence could be inadmissible during trial. For example, hearsay. Hearing someone recount and answer questions could lead to the obtaining of new information. A disposition allows an attorney to get the scope of a party’s knowledge OR anticipated testimony in advance of a trail. Ultimately, this could save time spent in the courtroom.