Depositions can be very stressful, and there are a number of reasons why lawyers and clients alike may want to avoid them in certain circumstances. This article will give a broad overview rather than an examination of state-specific laws and policies.
Were you subpoenaed?
There aren’t too many options if you have been subpoenaed to a deposition. If you refuse after being ordered by the court to give a deposition, you would likely be found in contempt of court, leading to dire consequences. On top of that, you would still be forced into the deposition.
Tip: Make sure that your request actually came in the form of a subpoena and not just an ominous letter before taking action.
However, even if you were subpoenaed to attend a deposition, documented by court reporting Livingston NJ can rely on, don’t give up hope yet. There are various tactics you might be able to utilize that will ultimately buy you more time to prepare or come up with a more customized strategy.
- If the deposition is to occur very far from you, argue that it should be held closer to you. Some states even have laws mandating that depositions be within a reasonably close geographical distance.
- Depending on state law, you can argue that you are not a direct party to the matter. Some states, such as Connecticut, prohibit compelling any person who was not a direct party to testify.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer who practices in your local area before doing anything. If the matter involves a company you work for, ensure that they pay for your lawyer.
What if you weren’t subpoenaed?
If you were not subpoenaed, and instead were requested to attend by a certain party, then the legal stakes are much lower. Your absence in a deposition will not provide evidence against you, but it may not reflect well on you, depending on the circumstances. While it would be unwise to completely ignore the deposition request, some factors should be considered that include:
- Which party put you on the deposition list?
- How much knowledge do you have of the event?
- Do you have anything to gain or lose by attending?
These answers will be on a person-by-person and case-by-case basis. You should use any legal resources at your disposal as well as common sense before taking any action on a simple deposition request. Chances are that there will be serious fallout from any deposition, so it’s best to stay one step ahead where possible in these matters.
In short, it’s difficult to know what will happen if you refuse to be deposed. The consequences will always differ depending on how directly involved you were with the incident leading to the deposition. It will also hinge on whether you are being legally compelled to attend a deposition.
The only certain course of action to take is to review all the documents you receive thoroughly and consult legal counsel if you need help interpreting them in order to avoid any potential legal, economic, or social fallout.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions and court reporting.