Just as you should know what objections to make in a deposition, you need to anticipate opposing counsel’s objections and know how to respond to them.
Keep in mind that opposing counsel must object to any error or irregularity in a question that might be cured if promptly brought to your attention, or risk waiving the objection. So, be prepared and know these objections are coming your way.
Here are three common objections to anticipate in a deposition and how to respond to them:
- If opposing counsel objects to the form of your question, try to rephrase the question.
- If counsel claims that question is ambiguous, consider asking what the deponent understands by your question and use what the deponent says to rephrase your question and get the desired answer.
- If the objection is to a missing or misstated element in a hypothetical question you asked a deponent expert, supply that element, if possible, or ask the deponent’s counsel to state missing elements. You can avoid this problem by developing written hypotheticals when preparing for an expert’s deposition and have your consultant review them for foundational accuracy.
Sometimes an objection isn’t what it seems. Opposing counsel’s actual purpose in objecting may be to coach the witness, e.g., opposing counsel may use an objection to suggest how the deponent should answer. If you think this is happening, you should generally avoid arguing about it because “coaching” is difficult to prove (opposing counsel’s objection and its result are already on the record). But if there’s obvious, repeated “coaching,” consider suspending the deposition and seeking a protective order. CCP §2025.470.
For step-by-step procedures for all aspects of depositions, turn to CEB’s Handling Depositions. CEB’s California Civil Discovery Practice is a comprehensive resource for everything related to discovery, including depositions. Also check out CEB’s program Preparing for, Taking & Defending Depositions, available On Demand.
Related CEB blog posts:
- What To Expect When You’re Expecting a Deposition: A Checklist for Preparing the Deponent
- 5 Steps to Preparing an Expert Witness to Do Battle
- To Depose or Not to Depose: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking an Oral Deposition
© The Regents of the University of California, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.