Discovery – Depositions (Part 1)

Depositions are not the least expensive discovery device, but they can yield very valuable information that paper discovery cannot.

  • For example, they allow the attorneys get a feel for the witness and how effective he or she is under the pressure of questioning.  The deposition is more informal than the trial, but the witness is still under oath.  At the deposition, both sides are able to:
  • to see the witness
  • hear the witness
  • test the witness’ ability to testify under pressure
  • find out how the witness intends to answer contentions made in the lawsuit

For the litigator, the deposition may be the first time to size up the witness for credibility and competency.  If the witness is weak or lacking in credibility or competency, it will affect settlement of the case.  If the witness is strong, competent and believable, it will also affect settlement.  These factors help the attorneys involved to set a value on the case.

The statutes governing depositions are found in the California Code of Civil Procedure.


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