Litigation + Valuation Perspectives

Demystifying Valuation, Economic Damages + Forensic Accounting

Surviving A Deposition: Part II

Reporting the Deposition

Attorneys who do the deposing are responsible for hiring the court reporter to be used in the deposition. Usually, the court reporters are on a first name basis with the attorney who hired them and that’s because they do most of the attorney’s initiated depositions.

Almost all court reporters will try to put something in the deposition transcript to indicate any unusual or significant non-spoken actions on the part of the witness, or to indicate the occurrence of an event in the conference room. Examples of these non-spoken actions or events are: “At this time a short recess was taken;” or, “At this time the witness searched through her briefcase for the requested documents;” or, “At this time the witness stood up and stretched.” These non-spoken events are usually put within parenthesis in the transcript to show actions being taken rather than a specific verbal question or response being made.

At the deposition, you should always maintain a calm and cool demeanor. No matter how much the questioning attorney tries to rattle you, stay calm. Do not lose your cool. I once had a court reporter tell me about a deposition at which he was reporting where a witness, an elderly gent, who obviously felt he was being made to look foolish, leaped up from his chair, lunged across the table and proceeded to choke the opposing attorney as the attorney gasped for air. Finally, the old guy picked up a pitcher of ice water and poured it down the front of the opposing counsel’s trousers.

Unfortunately some attorneys will attempt to badger, bully, intimidate and ridicule you in order to get you to say what they want you to say. Remember, you have the right to bring the deposition to a close if you feel you are being overly harassed by the questioning attorney. Hopefully, the attorney(s) with whom you are working will speak up and object to such behavior by the opposing attorney.

Don Bays, CPA/ABV, CVA