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"Objection! Palpably Improper. Don't Answer That Question"; NY Trial Attorney Gerry Oginski Explains

Posted by attorney Gerald Oginski

In pretrial testimony known as a deposition, there will often be objections made to questions being posed to a witness.

In New York, an attorney must make an objection if they feel the question is inappropriate. This is to preserve their client's legal rights not just at the time of the question-and-answer session being given in their attorney's office, but also for the purposes of trial.

If an attorney raises an objection based on "relevance," the witness is still required to answer the question.

By stating an objection, the attorney has preserved his right for the future.

However, an objection based on something being 'palpably improper' is different. In that instance, the attorney would be well within their right to direct the witness not to answer the question.

This is an important distinction.

During pretrial testimony, there will often be disputes about whether a question is appropriate or not. The attorneys in a lawsuit often do not agree whether a particular question is relevant to the claims being made in the case or to the defense being raised.

When the attorneys are unable to reach an agreement as to whether a question must be answered, there are different remedies to solve this issue.

The first is to call the court and try to speak to the judge to get a verbal ruling.

If the judge is unavailable, the attorneys will put their objections on the record and then at a later time ask the judge to intervene. The attorneys will then have an opportunity to submit formal papers to the judge and support their argument with case law. The judge will then make a ruling which allows the losing party to appeal, if needed.

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