You may have learned the old Boy Scouts maxim: Be Prepared. It’s helped you a lot throughout your life, and while your attorney does a fine job of protecting your interests, you figured it couldn’t hurt to give him a hand by backing up all of your arguments with paperwork. After all, this is a great way to show opposing counsel that your case is airtight.
Sometimes, Too Many Documents May Actually Hurt Your Deposition
Or so you thought. What you may not know is that bringing too many documents to a deposition can actually be detrimental to your case. Here are a few examples of common types of documents, and how they can play out in the course of your deposition:
- Documents to be produced. These are any documents that you have been instructed by your attorney to bring with you. You should always bring three copies of each document: one copy for opposing counsel, one for your attorney, and the last for your reference. You should also bring the original document in case the copy is of poor quality or the accuracy of the document is called into question.
- Unauthorized documents. You should not bring any notes, diaries, or other records to help you state your case during a deposition unless they have been thoroughly reviewed by your attorney. This is because any document you produce may be examined by the opposing counsel, and can potentially be used against you. For example, if you use your personal schedule as evidence that an accident occurred on a specific date, opposing counsel may note that you attended a meeting in D.C. days later, calling the severity of your injury into question.
- Documents not produced. If an attorney asks you to confirm something based on evidence, you should ask him to produce the document for confirmation. Do not offer to supply the information yourself; you should not even produce your driver’s license, ID, or other personal items without your attorney’s consent. If you are asked to respond to the information presented in a document, examine it carefully. If you have never seen the document before, do not vouch for the accuracy of the information listed. If you don’t understand what it says, don’t try to guess at its meaning.
Was your case derailed by a paperwork error or by misinterpretation of the evidence?