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.
1. What objections are necessary?
At a deposition, an attorney is required to object to those defects that are immediately curable–that is, irregularities that opposing counsel can correct at the deposition. Such defects include procedural matters, such as the manner of taking a deposition, the form of questions or answers, the oath or affirmation, and the conduct of the parties.
Timely objections are necessary, for instance, where a question is leading, vague or unintelligible, mischaracterizes prior testimony, calls for speculation, or constitutes a compound question. Problems can also arise with answers. If the attorney taking the deposition believes the witness has not provided a responsive answer, that attorney should object accordingly.