Skip to main content

Questions about litigation

San Francisco, CA |

If during litigation, parties agreed that no one can post depositions on the web, etc., does that also mean that if someone says something defamatory about you and you defend yourself with a verbal or written statement (which you testified under oath in the deposition) can you get into trouble? I am worried that if someone defames me after agreeing to such, that I could not say anything as a result of my agreement with opposing party. I would have to sit passively by and take it. Please clarify the law on this. Thanks.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

It is not clear what you're asking. You cannot be sued in state court for anything said in the court or depositions. It is protected by the litigation privilege.

This is not a comprehensive answer. Call us for more information. 619.797.5456 www.mataelelaw.com

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

1 comment

Asker

Posted

I am trying to say that I gave info in my deposition thta clears me of wrongdoing. However, there are people who want to bleieve otherwise. If I state verbally or write that the truth is (and I had stated it in my depo) would that be ok even with the agreement not to release the deposition transcripts publicly. Can I verbally say or write the truth ? Thanks

Posted

Testimony under oath is almost totally privileged. Depositions are technically part of the public record of the case. I have been licensed in CA since 1988 and I never heard of anyone agreeing to not publish deposition transcripts. I have heard of parties stipulating to an order to seal the records though. Why would you agree to something like that, especially given your concerns?

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

3 lawyers agree

Posted

Your question is a bit cryptic, but I think you are asking whether an agreement to not publish a deposition transcript would prevent you from publicly discussing the transcript when you take umbrage at allegations made in the transcript. Your concern seems misplaced. It sounds like the deposition transcript (and its substance) is to be kept confidential and is not to be publicly disclosed (if filed with the court, it presumably would be filed under seal). This is often done under a protective order that is issued by the court. Therefore, no one is supposed to talk about the substance of the deposition in public. Think of a cone of silence over the deposition, where only the parties, their attorneys, and the court, is allowed to listen. Or, to use a Fight Club analogy, outside of the litigation, don't talk about the depositions! If you then go out and blab in public about things said in the confidential deposition that you do not want to be made public, then you only have yourself to blame. The purpose of a deposition is to gather evidence from witnesses. If you disagree with a statement made by a witness at a deposition, you will have your turn to rebut that in due course during the litigation process. To the extent you feel that you are sitting passively by and taking it--think of it as waiting your turn under the rules of civil procedure. Your desire to jump your turn may be detrimental to your litigation position.

This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all of the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

2 lawyers agree

3 comments

Asker

Posted

Trouble is I want to talk about my deposition as I know I will be unfairly maligned if i keep silent. I an innocent . Oh well. Thanks.

James Juo

James Juo

Posted

Are you saying that you said "something defamatory" about yourself in your own deposition? Or do you want to tell the same story that you told in your deposition? If the latter, you need to talk to your lawyer (assuming you have one) about the scope of the confidentiality agreement or protective order in your case. To take a silly example, if you are asked in your deposition whether you prefer Coke or Pepsi, that does not prevent you from telling someone else later what your preference is. Now, if your preference is based on a confidential statement from the opposing party, then you cannot disclose that confidential statement. In that case, you can disclose your preference but not the reason why. I am still not sure what the problem is. To me, it sounds like pride talking.

Asker

Posted

Thanks, Maybe so. Just saying that there have been defamatory statements on the net about me that I didnt do. I told the truth in depo which would put the others in a bad light. Just wanted to be able to say the truth and shut people up. If records were sealed then it could continue and I could say nothing..

Posted

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. As such, an NDA protects nonpublic business information.
NDAs are commonly signed when two companies, individuals, or other entities (such as partnerships, societies, etc.) are considering doing business and need to understand the processes used in each other's business for the purpose of evaluating the potential business relationship. NDAs can be "mutual", meaning both parties are restricted in their use of the materials provided, or they can restrict the use of material by a single party.
It is also possible for an employee to sign an NDA or NDA-like agreement with an employer. In fact, some employment agreements will include a clause restricting employees' use and dissemination of company-owned "confidential information."

Many NDAs are unilateral, or one-way agreements,[citation needed] where one party wants to disclose certain information to another party but needs the information to remain secret for some reason, perhaps due to secrecy requirements required to satisfy patent laws or to make sure that the other party does not take and use the disclosed information without compensating the discloser.
Another type of nondisclosure agreement is one that is a mutual agreement, where both parties will be supplying information that is intended to remain secret. This type of agreement is common when businesses are considering some kind of joint venture or merger.
Some practitioners insist on a mutual NDA in all cases, to encourage the drafter to make the provisions "fair and balanced" in case the drafter's receiving-party client later ends up as a disclosing party, or vice versa (not an uncommon occurrence)[citation needed].
A nondisclosure agreement can protect any type of information that is not generally known. However, nondisclosure agreements may also contain clauses that will protect the person receiving the information so that if they lawfully obtained the information through other sources they would not be obligated to keep the information secret.[2][dead link] In other words, the nondisclosure agreement typically only requires the receiving party to maintain information in confidence when that information has been directly supplied by the disclosing party. Ironically, however, it is sometimes easier to get a receiving party to sign a simple agreement that is shorter, less complex and does not contain safety provisions protecting the receiver.[citation needed]
Some common issues addressed in an NDA include:[
outlining the parties to the agreement;
the definition of what is confidential, i.e. the information to be held confidential. Modern NDAs will typically include a laundry list of types of items which are covered, including unpublished patent applications, know-how, schema, financial information, verbal representations, customer lists, vendor lists, business practices/strategies, etc.;
the disclosure period - information not disclosed during the disclosure period (e.g., one year after the date of the NDA) is not deemed confidential;
the exclusions from what must be kept confidential. In California (and some other states) there are some special circumstances relating to non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses. California's courts and legislature have signaled that they generally value an employee's mobility and entrepreneurship more highly than they do protectionist doctrine

The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Mark as helpful

Business 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