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What do I need to know before being deposed

A deposition is a method in a Florida civil lawsuit by which a party can obtain information by asking questions directly of the deponent. They are generally transcribed by a court reporter and can also be videotaped. Simply put they are like a Q and A session but can sometimes be a critical junction in a lawsuit and can make or break the strategy of a party. This is the basics of a deposition.

When do depositions occur In Florida you can depose someone before a lawsuit is filed but those are rare. Most depositions occur during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. The discovery phase normally comes after the pleadings or documents forming the lawsuit are filed in the case. The discovery phase also occurs before the trial.  
How does a deposition come together The party seeking the deposition should at least try to coordinate the date and time with the opposing counsel or the non-party being deposed. The party taking the deposition provides written notice. If the depo is of another party, then only a notice is required. If the depo is of a non-party to the lawsuit, then a subpoena is used. In state court the notices and subpoenas are filed with the Clerk. They are not filed in federal court. That court has slightly different procedures.
 
A non-party can agree to accept service of a deposition subpoena directly. If the non-party refuses or cannot do so, then a process server physically delivers that subpoena. Failure to appear or participate in the deposition with proper notice can result in sanctions unless there is a proper basis to do so.
What should I expect in my deposition If you are represented, then your attorney will discuss where and when the deposition will occur, who will be there, and what to expect. The most important issue your attorney will tell you is to always tell the truth.
 
When the deposition begins you will be placed under oath. By that oath you swear to tell the truth. It is improper and illegal to intentionally violate that oath. It can also seriously damage or destroy your credibility if you do not tell the truth. Thus is it always best to tell the truth.
 
Your business attorney will discuss whether you need to review any documents before the deposition. Likewise, your lawyer will advise whether you should bring any materials to your deposition.  
Do’s and Don’ts for a deposition Some important Do’s and Don’ts for a deposition in no particular order are:
 
  1.  DO always tell the truth.
  2.  DO listen to the question and consider your answer. It is ok to take your time.
  3.  DO tell the attorney asking you questions if you do not understand a question.
  4.  Do review any document handed to you fully before answering a question about the document.
  5.  Do inform your attorney if you need to take a break or if you are uncomfortable.
  6.  Do be sure to answer verbally to make it easier on the Court Reporter.
  7.  Do dress appropriately particularly if the deposition will be videotaped.
  1.  DO NOT guess. It is acceptable to say I do not know.
  2.  DO NOT try to answer questions about a document without looking at the document.
  3.  DO NOT volunteer information especially where no question has been asked.
  4.  DO NOT divulge what you and your attorney discussed unless you agree in advance with your attorney to do so.
  5.  DO NOT try to outsmart the lawyer questioning you or play lawyer.
  6.  DO NOT accept the statements, representations, factsPsychology Articles, or opinions of the lawyer questioning you unless they are absolutely and unquestionably accurate

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Written by David Steinfeld

David Steinfeld is one of the few Board Certified business law experts in Florida. He has been licensed for almost 25 years. He is AV-Preeminent rated, ranked as one of the Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report, and consistently named a Florida Super Lawyer and one of Florida’s Legal Elite. Dave has also received Martindale’s prestigious Judicial Edition Award for high reviews by Judges, its Platinum Client Champion Award and has a 10.0-Superb rating on AVVO as well as a 10.0 rating on Justia, lawyer reviews websites.

Check out business lawyer David Steinfeld online for helpful videos and articles on Florida business law, real estate disputes, and electronic discovery solutions for your business. This article is provided for informational purposes only.



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