Usually, in a two party case, there is the plaintiff, the plaintiff's lawyer, the defendant, and the defendant's attorney. There is also a court reporter and sometimes a videographer.
Where is the deposition held?
The deposition is typically held at one of the attorney's office in a conference room. Normally, the plaintiff's deposition is at the plaintiff's office, and the defendant's deposition is at the defendant's office. Sometimes, depositions are held at the place of business of the witness. For example, in an injury case, the treating doctor's deposition is taken at the doctor's office. If an injury occurred at a manufacturing plant, there may be depositions taken at the plant. More frequently, depositions are being taken via video teleconferencing when it costs too much to travel to a location.
Why is the court reporter there, and what is that machine?
The court reporter takes down everything that is said during the deposition and then transcribes it so that it can be read. The machine is a stenographic machine which helps the court reporter take shorthand so that she/he can transcribe it later. Nowadays, they usually have a laptop computer which automatically transcribes it as they type, and they give it to the attorney on a disc or little hard drive. More often, depositions are being videotaped as well which means there might be a videographer there as well.
How long does it take?
Most depositions are in the two hour range, but they can go from one hour to several days. A lot depends on the complexity of the case as well as the deponent giving the answers. Also, the attorney's experience can affect the length. Younger attorneys tend to ask more questions because they are afraid they missed one.
Why is the deposition taken?
There are several reasons. First, to discover information to prove or disprove the case. Second, to nail down someone's testimony so that they cannot change their testimony at trial, and if they do, their deposition can be used against them to impeach their testimony at trial. Finally, a deposition is taken in order to see what the person looks like and how believable they are as well as to see whether a jury may like or dislike them.
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