The Basics of Depositions

By: beyli


A deposition is the out-of-court testimony of a witness to a potential or pending lawsuit. The words spoken by the witness are written down by a court reporter or other individual so that they can be used later in the courtroom to remind the witness of what he or she said or for discovery purposes, i.e. trying to find out exactly what happened and was seen.

Many countries have their depositions taken in a courtroom. The United States is different in that depositions are typically taken out of the courtroom, probably at the offices of one of the lawyers involved in the case or even in the witness' own office. The location for the deposition varies based on the circumstances.

Depositions in the United States are given as part of an examination before a trial as part of the discovery process. The discovery process occurs after the claims have been entered in court and an initial trial date has been sent. Discovery allows the litigants in any case to gather information to be used during trial or in preparation.

The rules for depositions for a case being tried in a federal court, or Article III court, are written down in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 30 in particular deals with the procedures for taking depositions. The states, seeing that explicit rules are helpful, have created corresponding rules for use in the state courts. While many of the rules are nearly identical, some may have a few variations or tricks to them.

There are a few basic rules to depositions that almost always apply. For starters, if the witness that the parties want to depose is not a party to the lawsuit, meaning the person is a third person, and is not willing to testify then the parties must subpoena the witness.

Depositions have many purposes. If it is given by an expert witness, the deposition can be used just to educate the attorneys as to the various bits of science of physics involved in the website. If a witness is having memory issues during trial, the deposition can be given to remind him or her of what was said.

The Iowa motorcycle attorneys of the Pete Leehey Law Firm understand the value of witness testimony and are familiar with deposing experts to ensure they have the highest level of understanding possible.

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