Respect the opposing lawyer – While a legal dispute is inherently an adversarial process, it is unlikely that the lawyer testifying will try to get you to answer incorrectly, argue with you, or intimidate you. While testifying can be an extremely personal activity for you, the lawyer has likely made hundreds, if not thousands, of statements in cases similar to yours, and it is very unlikely that he or she will have any personal feelings against you. So be warm and polite and don`t try to be evasive with your answers, as a good lawyer may use a statement from a combative, rude or angry witness at the witness at trial. If a question is inappropriate, your lawyer will object to it, but if not, your job is simply to recite the facts as you know them to the best of your ability. Don`t talk about the lawyer questioning and pause for at least 2-3 seconds before responding – this is important for several reasons. First, it is extremely difficult for the court reporter to record what you and the lawyer say when you talk about each other, and even if he or she manages to do so, it will result in a confusing transcript that is not helpful to either party. Even though in many cases you can predict what the lawyer will ask, wait until the question is over. Only answer what is asked – While you should certainly answer each question honestly and to the best of your ability, you should not give voluntary information or be overly emotional and continue to complain after the question has been answered to convince the opposing lawyer of your case. Regardless of where they are made, statements are formal legal proceedings and should be considered as important as your testimony before a judge and jury in court. Statements can and are often presented in court and read to the judge or jury. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared for your deposit. During the consultation, you and your lawyer discuss the expectations of the case: what should you have, what is nice to have and what things are not of interest to you in one way or another? What you want to get out of a settlement will be taken into account by the lawyer at the hearing.
There are a number of reasons why deposits are large. They allow the party requesting testimony to do the following: Don`t assume a fact is true just because the lawyer questioning them mentions it – If the lawyer giving your testimony mentions a fact, don`t automatically assume it`s true. For example, if your case involves a car accident and the lawyer says, „Did you know that John Doe was drunk at the time of the accident?“ do not assume that this is true for the rest of the testimony. This may not be true at all or there may not have been enough evidence to be admissible in court. It is important to note that many civil lawsuits do not end up in court. In many cases, settlement talks begin once the discovery is complete. The parties may refer to impeachment during these talks if they negotiate and defend their position. Often, an agreement is reached that allows the parties to avoid litigation. But if the case comes to court and the depositor takes the witness stand, he/she should be willing to answer questions about the statements made during the testimony. According to the doctrine of the summit, a CEO or other senior executive (i.e., someone who is at the „top“ of an organization) may try to pretend that they cannot be removed because they do not have a clear first-hand knowledge of the facts of the case, that testimony will take too long, and that there are other options for the plaintiff. to get the information they are looking for. This doctrine assumes that the removal of a senior executive is an unnecessary and abusive tactic to harass the defendant and force him to reach a settlement.
Courts are divided on when the higher doctrine is appropriate, and it is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. In general, cases where the observations or knowledge of individuals are important to the facts of the case are good candidates for statements. For example, a personal injury case where several cars collide at noon at a busy downtown intersection could warrant the testimony of drivers, passengers and witnesses walking the streets to determine who is responsible for the accident. Whether a declaration is required depends on the clear facts and circumstances of the case. Cases involving only legal and non-factual issues generally do not require them, as testimony and other evidence are not relevant to these decisions. However, in many lawsuits, statements play an important role in providing a more complete picture of the events in question. Unlike information recorded in documents or lawyers` responses to interrogations, a statement involves asking questions of a living and breathing witness about the case. The testimony has two purposes: to know what the witness knows and to preserve the testimony of that witness.
The intention is to allow the parties to know all the facts before the trial, so that no one is surprised once that witness is on the witness stand. Contrary to what countless movies and TV shows would have you believe, it is considered unfair to ignite a surprise witness at the eleventh hour of a trial. When a trial begins, the parties need to know who all the witnesses will be and what they will say during the testimony. What kind of questions are asked in a statement? Your personal data and details about the case, as well as questions about your previous testimonial experience. Deposition Academy has an in-depth article on common deposit questions that you should read for more information. The testimony can be stressful and take a long time for a deponent, so most witnesses are not too excited about being abandoned. For an average witness, there is usually no way out of a testimony once they have been notified. On the other hand, those with „important“ positions often try to invoke the higher doctrine to be excused by this process. So can your testimony lead to an out-of-court settlement of the case? Yes, it is possible.
Most statements are not used for more than just leverage to reach an agreement before a case goes to court. A statement can be used as evidence in court, but a settlement is usually the goal. This can be good news or bad news, depending on which side of a lawsuit you`re on and how the negotiations are going. If you are a plaintiff, a defendant or even just a witness in a civil lawsuit, there is a good chance that you will have to undergo testimony at some point. Statements are statements made by a person under oath for the purposes of litigation. Unlike court testimony, testimony is given outside the court, usually only with the witness, lawyers, and a court reporter. Since most of our clients have never made a statement and will never make one again, we have prepared this short guide to explain what a statement is, what to expect and what you can do to ensure that your testimony is clear, concise and accurate. On the other hand, cases where the evidence speaks for itself, such as complex infringement cases, can probably be heard without the use of statements. A statement is a question-and-answer session that takes place outside a courtroom, but always under oath. The reason for testifying is that a lawyer or lawyers may gather information and facts from witnesses who they believe will support their client`s position in a case or violate their opponent`s position.
As mentioned earlier, a statement is not a trial, but is part of the discovery process. Once the discovery is complete, a hearing date is usually set. Sworn testimony may be used as evidence at trial, and the depositor may be confronted by the opposing counsel with statements made during the testimony. In West Virginia v. McKesson`s lawyers recently invoked the principles of superior doctrine in a motion filed in Boone County Circuit Court to protect their CEO John Hammergren from impeachment. Hammergren said in an affidavit that he had „no direct knowledge“ of the company`s prescription opioid shipments to West Virginia pharmacies and that he did not manage their prescription drug order tracking system. The company`s lawyers also argued that since McKesson faces 500 similar opioid-related lawsuits, the dismissal in this case would „open the door“ to many other statements that would take far too long. Testimony is most often given during what is known as „discovery,“ which is the period of an ongoing lawsuit before the trial, during which each party has the opportunity to question opposing parties and witnesses and obtain other evidence that could be useful or prejudicial to the court. Your testimony will most likely be received by the other party`s lawyer if you are a party. Sometimes your own lawyer will ask you questions if they think any of your answers were unclear or incomplete, or if your lawyer wants to add additional information to the testimony recording. If you are a witness, the testimony can be taken up by lawyers on both sides, although one party may take the initiative to provide most of the questions. Whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff, the question you really want to know the answer to is what is the purpose of a statement? What is the result? What happens after that? Below are answers to these and other questions.
In real life, testimonies in civil trials rarely look like this. .