former business partner regarding my lawsuit. Neither my former business partner nor I will be represented by counsel. I am InProPer. Can I levy objections to questions the other side poses to my witnesses & expert witnesses during depositions? Any other advice in addition to, "get an attorney"? TY
What everyone is saying is fine. Legal objections are proper, and objections to the "form" of the question are waived unless made at the eposition. That means that if you don't understand the question, the witness might not understand it either, in which case an objection based on "vague and ambiguous" is proper, if not required to preserve the same objection to the time of trial. Likewise, many lawyers like to ask "argumentative" questions. An "argumentative" question is one not being asked to obtain information from the witness, but rather is deliberately calculated by the questioner to make some key point in his or her case, that is damaging or embarasing to your case or to the witness. (e.g., "isn't it a fact that you no longer beat your wife?") Its "argumentative because no matter if the witness answers "yes" or "no" the net result is the same-- he did beat his wife at some point in the past. The next question will be "when, did you stop?" Hence, the proper objection is "argumentative".
What I do, and most other competent lawyers would do in the case of a "friendly" witness (such as your former business partner (presuming you're still on good terms),, is to interview the witness first (before the deposition) and find out what he's going to say at the deposition to the "key" questions, or "sensitive" issues. That way you will not have to constantly object at the deposition itself, if you already know what the answer is going to be, and it is favorable. If you don't know what the answer is, or if you know the answer could be unfavorable, you might put in a "vague and ambiguous" objection to make the questioner clarify his or her question, which may have the effect of deflecting the question away from the potential "bad" testimony.
In fact, my ususal practice is to not object at the deposition unless i don't understand the question, or think the manner in which it is asked will lead to a "bad" answer.
Defending depositions is an "art", it comes only with experience. But everybody has to start someplace. In my earlier years, my rule of thumb was "when in doubt, keep it out" (that means if you don't know, object. It's a lot easier to make the objection and preserve the issue for trial, then to keep quiet, and risk a subsequent ruling that you waived the objection by not making it at the deposition.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
Yes. In fact it is important that you make objections at a deposition in order to preserve your right to object at trial. The reason for this is that it gives the parties the opportunity to correct the way a question is asked. For example, if a lawyer asks a question that is vague and an objection is made, he can clarify what he means. In most situations, but not all, you cannot prevent a question from being asked and answered, you just want to make sure that the question is clear and that you preserve your objections. Do some searching on line and you will find a list of objections and what they mean and when they can be raised.
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I am not sure what you mean by levying objections. Objecting to questions being posed by the other attorney is a tall order for anyone who has not had experience doing this before. Here is the problem, objections usually does not warrant no responses. People say get an attorney so that a person with experience in this field will be able to guide what is objectionable and what isn't.
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Yes, you can and should make appropriate objections during deposition. But the rules for what's objectionable during a deposition are very different than the rules for objection during a trial or evidentiary hearing. Unless you're an experienced litigator, you really need competent counsel representing you during this process.
You will be hard pressed to get much more advise than yes object and yes get an attorney. Beyond that it is nearly impossible to advise you on how to properly defend a deposition. Attorney's spend years learning the art of litigation, including depositions and trials. Unless an attorney is sitting there listening to the questions after spending years siting in depositions and learning from their mistakes, it is difficult to know what to object to and whether the objection is proper. If you want to be successful, the "get an attorney" advise is the best advise you will ever get.
As others have said, I would retain counsel. If you do not want to do that, you can research deposition objections online to use the appropriate ones during the deposition.
Yes, but it might be helpful to remember that most objections need not be made at the time of the deposition. If the testimony they are seeking is simply irrelevant for example, or if it is inadmissible hearsay, you can still make those objections at trial. At a deposition you mainly want to object to the form of questions that might cause your witness to give an answer that is misleading or ambiguous. Some common objections are "vague and ambiguous," "compound," "assumes facts not in evidence," "the document speaks for itself," and one of my personal favorites when they ask the witness what somebody else was thinking or why anybody did anything, "calls for speculation."
Even more important than objections is proper preparation. If the witness is good, and well prepared, you hardly need to object at all. But I don't have time to reveal all the secrets of good preparation right now. You might want to look for some videos or other materials online that can teach you how to be a good witness at a deposition.
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