In When and How to Object During Deposition, Art of Advocacy blogger Paul Mark Sandler writes that in civil litigation, “objection-free depositions are unheard of.” Attorneys often make unnecessary objections or fail to make them properly when dealing with parties in the case and the opposing expert witness. Sandler says attorneys sometimes waive objections by failing to raise them in a deposition and offers some helpful guidelines for knowing when and how to object.
How should an objection be made? To be effective, an objection cannot be vague or unclear. Although Maryland Rule 2-415(g) states that the grounds for an objection “need not be given unless requested by a party,” this language presents a trap. If counsel objects to a deposition question that can be immediately cured, the lawyer must state the grounds to avoid waiving it. The objecting attorney must give enough detail to “provide the questioner with the opportunity to obviate the mistake while the deposition is taking place.” (See Davis, 117 Md. App. at 403-04.) This protocol affords the party taking the deposition the chance to re-word the question and cure any problems in it.
Objecting attorneys should be careful not to say too much, however. So-called speaking objections are improper under both the Maryland Rules and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When an attorney in a deposition objects, he or she must state the objection concisely, in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner.