Part four of this series focuses on interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Parts five and six will focus on another important aspect of the discovery process depositions. Part five will focus on depositions generally, while part six will explain how to make sure you are adequately prepared for your deposition.
A deposition is a question-and-answer session whereby an attorney, or multiple attorneys, question a witness under oath. The witness may be a party to the case, or a non-party with information regarding the case. The session is then recorded by a certified court reporter, who later creates a written transcript of the entire session. This transcript can then be used by either party to prove or disprove liability, to show bias, for impeachment purposes, or for any other purpose as allowed by the Michigan Rules of Evidence.
In short, the purposes of depositions are:
- to find out what information the witness has; and
- to preserve testimony for later use at hearings and/or trial.
As of January 1, 2020, depositions are limited to one day of no more than seven hours. In other words, you only get one shot to depose any given witness. This increases the necessity to be adequately prepared. It also makes your discovery strategy all the more important. Do you depose a witness first to see what information you receive and then send detailed interrogatories as a follow-up
; or , do you send interrogatories first and follow-up with more detailed information during a deposition . The answer is going to depend on your specific case. Either way, it is very important to make sure you give serious thought to how depositions are taken in your case.
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