Document Distribution Dilemmas for Video Depositions
Any lawyer worth his salt will tell you that depositions are extremely helpful case resources. They’re not only invaluable assets during the discovery process but can also be used to great effect in the trial period. A well-produced deposition can easily make the difference between a winning and losing hand.
Unfortunately, in some cases depositions can be difficult and expensive to conduct. This is where remote video depositions come into play. Thanks to technological advances, video depositions have become an easy and cheap alternative to intimate deponent-to-lawyer depositions. Instead of wasting time and money bringing deponents to you, setting up a remote deposition can not only minimize expenditures but also provide a compelling piece of evidence. Video depositions not only capture more detail but also command the attention of juries.
Although they may seem like a sure thing, these types of depositions unfortunately come with a few obstacles you must overcome in order to secure a winning hand.
Document Handling: The Remote Deposition Challenge
If you’ve ever taken a deposition before you know the importance of strategy. Just like an interrogation, you need to calculate your questions carefully and know when to show your hand. When you’re face-to-face with the deponent, you can detect certain nuances in order to put this strategy into play. If he is having a hard time remembering something, you can jog his memory with a photo; if he’s reluctant to go into detail, you can withhold a document until trial for a dynamic reveal.
However, when performing a remote or video deposition this strategy can become strained as a result of the following obstacles:
Much like a poker player, as a lawyer you never want to show all of your cards before the game begins. This means that you need to be careful on what documents and information are revealed during a deposition. However, during remote depositions you lose your control over such documents, as you rely upon a court reporter to hand the documents to the witness at the appropriate times. This may limit your tactical options and also allows opposing counsel more time to review the documents before you can question the witness.
Since the deponent is in a different location during a video deposition, a host of technological instruments must be used to connect him with you and the case at hand. These include recording systems, file sharing abilities for documents, editing software to share information, live stream communication to signal court reporters to hand over information, etc. Coordinating these details can become a challenge if the recording team is inexperienced.
In order for a deposition to go smoothly, you must be prepared. Unfortunately, this preparation is even more essential for remote depositions, because every move is recorded. This means that if you’re searching for evidence while the deponent just sits there, you’re the one who looks disorganized and unprofessional.
Now, it’s easy to keep track of a few pieces of paper or track one or two documents from point A to point B. However, when vital information exceeds a few pieces of paper, sorting through it all and retrieving the specific documents needed can become frustrating, especially when that retrieval is time-sensitive. Is there someone on site you can trust to coordinate the paper-shuffling?
Restricted Document Observation
During conventional depositions, all those involved are in close proximity and can closely observe the witness’s actions as well as the documentation. However, deposing a witness on camera may mean limited angles and viewpoints and obstructed observation. Therefore, when a witness makes an annotation in the document or refers to a certain passage, the court reporter must hold the document up to the camera for all to see, or the document must be projected onto the wall for attendees to get a better view—not exactly a smooth or refined way of proceeding.
A Skilled and Experienced Remote Deposition Team Anticipates and Overcomes These Challenges
Properly organizing and handling documentation can be extremely difficult when it comes to remote and video depositions. However, if you have the experience and drive to overcome these obstacles, your next video deposition can deal you the hand you need to secure your case. Allow us to give you the benefit of our experience. Call us today at (703) 837-0076 and see how we can help you successfully produce your next deposition.