Posts Tagged ‘depositions’

Diving Deeper with Depositions

Discovery is an ongoing process. Often times, little snippets of information provided in one stage of Discovery will spark a deeper investigation to gather more substance on the subject. In domestic cases, Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents often uncover bits of evidence that the opposing party will want to learn more about prior to settling or going to trial. There are two types of Discovery that may be used to delve deeper into one or more topics that are relevant to your domestic situation.

1.Depositions— A deposition is basically an interview conducted under oath. Depositions usually take place at an attorney’s office, and the opposing party’s attorney has a great bit of freedom to ask you questions, which you are required to answer. Everything said during a Deposition is written down by a Court Reporter, and turned into a written transcript which can later be used in court. Depositions may be videotaped, and the tapes may later be played before a judge.

If you get to the point where Depositions are being used it could be a sign that the stakes are high in your case. The important thing to remember is that a Deposition is under oath. As the saying goes, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.  A Deposition is not the place to brag about an extramarital affair, or gloat about an offshore account. The opposing party will study the written deposition prior to a trial, and then may use the transcript to try to trip you up in front of the Judge. Be honest, be curt, and seek the advice of an attorney prior to your Deposition.

2. Records Depositions— A Records Deposition is actually more similar to a Request for Production of Documents than it is to an interview Deposition. Records Depositions are typically used when you need to gather information from someone other than the opposing party in your case. For instance, if you are involved in a custody dispute and the opposing party mentions in a response to Interrogatories that your child’s teacher has made notes related to your child’s feelings about living with you—you may use a Records Deposition to request that the teacher provide copies of those notes. A Notice of Records Deposition and a subpoena are served on the person from whom the records are sought, and then that person has 30 days to provide copies of the requested documents, or provide a time and location for you to inspect and copy the requested documents.

Records Depositions are a great strategic tool that allow you to gather information you need, without having to deal directly with the opposing party.

This is the fourth in an ongoing series about Discovery. Next week we will wrap up this series with an explanation of Admissions. As always, we here at Delaney & Keffler, LLC will take the time to fully explain Discovery, and help you obtain beneficial information. Contact us today at 410-535-3476  (FIRM) or for a free consultation.

What’s with the Inquisition?

If you are involved in a domestic litigation case, somewhere along the way you will most certainly be involved in a process known as Discovery. Discovery can begin as early as the filing of the initial complaint, and continue right on up through the final hearing. Although the process may seem overwhelming, it is very important that you provide all requested information to your attorney in a timely manner. Failure to respond to Discovery can result in severe sanctions, including a court ruling that precludes you from introducing critical evidence at trial.

Maryland has very liberal rules about what information is discoverable. Any information that can lead to admissible information is discoverable. That means that an opposing party can request information that it cannot present in the court room, so long as that bit of information will help them learn something else that that they can present in the court room.

There are five types of Discovery:

Interrogatories—A maximum of 30 questions, presented to an opposing party in writing. A party has 30 days to respond to all of the questions, in writing and signed under oath. An attorney will help craft appropriate responses in a manner that protects a client’s legal rights, including the right not to self-incriminate (“Pleading the fifth”).

Requests for Production of Documents—Any number of written requests for access to documents or property. A party has 30 days to respond by providing copies of the documents or property, or providing access to the documents or property. Under certain circumstances, access may be denied with an acceptable reason.

Depositions—An interview under oath, usually conducted after Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents are completed. Answers are recorded, and may be used against you during litigation, especially if your answers during the deposition conflict with your answers at trial.

Records Depositions—A Records Deposition is very similar to a Request for Production of Documents. However, a Records Deposition is usually used to request documents from a non-party to a case. Also, unlike Requests for Production of Documents, a Subpoena is required and must be properly served on the person that controls the sought after documents. A person has 30 days to respond to the Subpoena by providing the requested records or providing access to the records.

Request for Admissions—Request for Admissions are written statements that the opposing party must either admit or deny. Any statements that the party fails to respond to within 30 days are deemed admitted. Admitted statements are accepted as truth during trial proceedings.

This is the first in an ongoing series about Discovery. For the next few weeks, we will go more in-depth about this very important process. As always, we here at Delaney & Keffler, LLC will take the time to fully explain Discovery and help you obtain beneficial information. Contact us today at 410-535-3476 (FIRM) or for a free consultation.