Skip to main content

As a self-represented plaintiff, can i depose my defendant? If yes, can it be at my house?

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Litigation

I would like to depose several witnesses in three different cases. Can i do it?> and can it be done at my house?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

As a self represented plaintiff you are acting as your own attorney, and thus yes, you can depose the defendant. You will have to hire a court reporter and provide proper notice to the defendant's counsel.

The deposition can take place in any reasonable location as long as it is within 75 miles of the deponent's residence or within the county where the action is pending and within 150 miles of the deponent's residence.. However, I would not recommend doing it at your home. Many court reporting companies offer conference rooms in office buildings at no extra charge.

Of course, you may want to consult with an attorney to assist you with your case.

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

Posted

The first answer was direct and responsive to your specific questions and so I won't revisit those issues but I will suggest that you ought to reconsider the decision to handle a deposition yourself. The effective handling of witness examination is a skill that often takes lawyers years to develop. In fact, I've seen plenty of lawyers with years of experience who still haven't figured it out. Trying to do it on your own without any meaningful experience is unlikely to yield a deposition transcript that will be helpful to your cause.

That said, if you want to do it on your own or have no meaningful option then I'd recommend you go to your local courthouse where you'll likely find a law library. Look for resources on taking depositions. One good reference source is Daniel Dain's "How to Prepare for, Take and Use a Deposition."

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

1 comment

Asker

Posted

thanks for the book

Posted

Prior answers have already let you know that you need to conduct the deposition within 75 miles of the deponent's residence or within the county where the case is pending and within 150 miles of the deponent's residence.

You also have a right to depose corporations, and different rules apply in that case.

In many cases, documents are also important. You may request production of documents at a deposition. This is one reason you usually want the deposition to occur at a location where you have access to a copy machine.

Depositions are a critical tool. Many cases are won or lost with deposition testimony. You will need to study to conduct a quality deposition. If your questions are not proper or are in improper form, you can expect objections from opposing counsel.

Don't expect the deposition to be cheap. They can be quite expensive. If there are multiple parties or third party witnesses are anticipated, you can expect opposing counsel to ask many questions, and they have a right to question any witness deposed.

Answers on this site are only intended to provide general information. No attorney-client relationship is intended. Specific legal advice is only provided after a personal meeting in which detailed information about a client's particular circumstances and goals are obtained.

Mark as helpful

Posted

The prior attorneys' responses are all correct. I also do not believe that it's a good idea to conduct the deposition at your home. I would add that, as a solo practioner with a home office,this situation often arises in my practice. I have always used my court reporter's conference rooms, and, as Attorney Wallace has said, there is no additional charge for this.These conference rooms provide a neutral, professional setting.

Most larger hotel chains also have conference rooms available for use for your deposition. I found that fees for smaller conference rooms run between $100-$150 for one day (or less than a day).

If there is an opposing attorney and you don't mind holding the deposition on the defendant's "turf", you can also request that the deposition take place at his/her office

The advise that you consider hiring an attorney to assist you with your deposition preparation is sound. You may want to consider consulting with a local civil litigation attorney for advise. Another key to a successful deposition is to be sure to have your questions prepared ahead of time. You should also have any documents that you plan to use copied and in order. You'll want to have copies for the witness and the witness' attorney, as well as for the court reporter if you plan on using the documents as exhibits to your depositon.

Best of luck to you.

Disclaimer: The above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. My responses are intended to provide general information about the question posted. I am licensed to practice in the state of California. The information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for conferring with or hiring a competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

Posted

you are entitled to depose the plaintiff. you can depose them at your house provided it is within the miles range allowed by law unless defendant obtains a protective order to have it at another location.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

Litigation topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics