When a case has begun, there is a level of information gathering that must be done before trial. Oftentimes, it is this information that can lead to the information which will allow for a settlement or agreement between the parties or that is the basis for trial.
Either way, this information gathering, called discovery, is an opportunity for the attorneys on a case to request and evaluate information. Often, interrogatories and requests for production are used. These means allow for the attorneys to send written questions and requests to the other party and sometimes, third parties.
For example, an interrogatory might be: “please describe any problems you have had in the past year during the exchange of the minor child”. An example of a request for production might be “Please provide your tax returns for the past three years”. These levels of discovery allow parties to learn general information regarding the matter at hand.
However, sometimes, simple questions and requests are not enough. In that case, parties can depose the other side and sometimes non-parties. In a deposition, the person being deposed is under oath, and a court reporter and attorneys are present. The person being deposed is sworn in, and the opposing counsel asks questions, much like in a trial setting.
The court reporter then transcribes the deposition. With new technology, instead of having to wait for the original to be mailed, the attorneys can receive an e-mail that the transcript is complete. The attorneys can then review the transcript themselves, and the party who was deposed can review as well.
As the person being deposed reviews the deposition transcript, they look for mistakes. Perhaps the court reporter misheard or an address was given incorrectly. This review by the person being deposed allows for corrections that make the deposition truly reflect what was said and meant to be said.
Because the deposition is a sworn statement that can be used in trial to show inconsistencies, it is important that the person being deposed has the opportunity to review their statements and assure that they accurately reflect what was said.
With the e-mail addition to depositions, the attorney and client can review the deposition at the same time, giving more time for both to read through the materials. There is a thirty (30) day window to review and make changes, so getting the deposition via e-mail as soon as it is ready gives the person being deposed more time to review and possibly correct changes.
If you are being deposed, understand the process, and know that you will have an opportunity to see the transcript and review. That “uh-huh” for “nuh-huh” can be caught and corrected, and your sworn oath will truly reflect what was said.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates practice throughout the State of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney Bryan L. Ciyou and Jessica Keyes.