Trial Consultant Phillip Miller asks: How do you deal with an evasive deposition witness?
Dealing with Evasive Deposition Witnesses
Laziness and lack of preparation can doom any discovery effort especially when you come head to head with an evasive deposition witness. You may have taken this kind of deposition before and everything went great, but this time the witness seems unmanageable. You seem to be doing everything right, but you are not getting anything. The most obvious conclusions and answers that favor your client’s case become muddled responses that have no value because you had not properly prepared for an evasive deposition witness. A nightmare for sure…
In my trial consulting practice, we often find a witness, for, whatever reason, will not provide reasonably fair and honest testimony. In our book Advanced Depositions Strategy and Practice (Our: Paul Scoptur, Milwaukee and Tom Vesper, Atlantic City) we categorize and define the dozen most common evasive, uncooperative behaviors and provide suggested techniques for what to do when they are encountered in a deposition.
I obviously don’t have time here to cover all of the information that this subject commands, but we do a thorough coverage in our book. In a previous Blog I dealt in some more depth about that crafty defense expert who constantly lays down ‘Rabbit Trails’, or long digressions that waste time and keep you from making your point, check it out.
An important option for examining any evasive deposition witness is to structure portions around documents, photographs and so on that “speak for themselves.” This is not to suggest that the evasive deposition witness will not try to run, but if you choose exhibits carefully, the witness’s evasive answer in the context of the document or photograph will compromise her credibility.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you have any questions about this topic please call me at The Miller Law Office 615-356-2000 in Nashville Tennessee.