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What does objection to form mean?

Orlando, FL |
Filed under: Litigation

In addition, during my deposition I believe I heard my attorney say "form" many times. Does that suffice to pose an objection to form?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Sounds like that's the way the objection is preserved in Florida. Where I practice, the lawyers say either "object as to form" or simply "object," because there's a standard stipulation, called "the usual stipulation" which is referenced at the beginning of every deposition, that all objections other than those as to form are reserved for trial.

Translation: If there's a problem with the way the question is worded, if it's ambiguous, or compound, or assumes facts not in evidence ("when did you stop beating your wife?"), that calls for an objection as to form. Generally, the lawyer defending the deposition then instructs the deponent that he can answer the question if he understands it. If the lawyer is asking about stuff that is objectionable for other reasons, those objections are reserved until the time of trial under the "usual stipulation" where I practice. I suspect the same is true in many jurisdictions, but I'll let a Florida lawyer weigh in on Florida practice.

Not legal advice as I don't practice law in Florida. It's just my two cents on your question in light of general principles of legal practice and law. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds Florida licensure. That's not me.

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Posted

In Florida, all deposition objections are preserved with the exception of privilege and objections based upon the form of the question. To preserve an objection to the form it has to be raised at the deposition. This is why you hear an objection to form. An example of a form objection would be if an ambiguous question was asked. If the opposing party asks for the basis of the form objection then the objecting party must state the basis. This procedure keeps depositions from turning into arguments over objections. I am curious as to why you did not ask your attorney this question.

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9 comments

Asker

Posted

I don't recall the opposing party asking for the basis of the form objection, therefore the question and my answer will not be part of the transcript? I don't know why I didn't bring this up to my attorney afterwards, though I asked her 45 minutes of questions then.

Raymond Scott Costantino

Raymond Scott Costantino

Posted

No. Your attorney preserved the objection. It does not matter whether the other side asked for the basis. Plus, everything you testified to will be in the transcript regardless of the objection. The objection will be ruled upon to see if this testimony will be allowed at trial. Now, you should discuss all of this with your attorney.

Asker

Posted

So when you object to form you are essentially are objecting when this question is posed to the judge in trial?

Raymond Scott Costantino

Raymond Scott Costantino

Posted

If the opposition attempts to use your deposition testimony at a hearing or at trial the judge would then rule on the objection made at your deposition.

Asker

Posted

Thanks

C. C. Abbott

C. C. Abbott

Posted

I agree - many times the attorney will go fishing and the form objection is the way to halt the fishing - at least it shows your watching the depo Great Question

Asker

Posted

Thanks but a lot of times they can't go fishing for anything, correct?

C. C. Abbott

C. C. Abbott

Posted

correct - the depondent is required to answer but and unless the asking attorney certifies the question it was a lot of hot air.

Asker

Posted

Thanks

Posted

This is how we make objections to the formation of the question. If a question that is being asked could be understood two different ways, then the attorney should object to the form of the question - it is ambiguous or vague.

The person being deposed can still answer the questions, but the objection is preserved for a later time in case the deponent answered without fully understanding what the ambiguous question was asking.

I hope that helps answer your question.

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Posted

You have an attorney. He/she knows the facts of your case. We do not. You need to ask your questions from your attorney.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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