Welcome to our final entry of the series on the discovery process in Texas court. As you know, discovery is where both parties gather information before a trial to facilitate a smooth and simple process. By this point the compilation of information is nearly complete through interrogatories, and request for production, disclosure, and admission. And now, depositions are the final part of discovery.
Depositions are interviews of parties to the case, as well as third parties (such as witnesses) with information about the case. Although depositions do not take place in a court room, similar rules apply. The lawyers are present, the witness is sworn in by a court reporter, and must answer questions honestly. A stenographer records the interview, which is submitted to the court. For convenience, the rules around the rigidity of deposition allow plenty of wiggle room. Depositions can by done over the telephone or videoed in person (without a stenographer). In Texas court, a deposition video can even be used in lieu of a live testimony.
A notice of intent will be served within a reasonable time of the deposition. The deponent will be notified to appear for a deposition through their attorney. If the deponent is a third party, a subpoena is served for the person to show up at a certain time and place to give their deposition. The notice also includes the identity of the witness, the means of conducting the recording, and any additional attendees.
Although depositions might seem informal, they are integral to the case, so you must treat it as such. Like testimonies in court, depositions can be unpredictable. If you are a plaintiff in a case, you will likely be deposed. This can be a stressful process so it helps to prepare yourself beforehand. You will be asked questions. Answer them simply, and do not give any extraneous information. This is not the time to argue...answer concisely and truthfully. "Yes" and "no" are your go-to responses. "I don't remember" is also acceptable. Take your time in answering. Even better, take a deep breath before answering, too. Your attorney will review the previous information from discovery with you, so you have a good idea of what questions are coming and how to respond.
This concludes our series on discovery in Texas courts. You will benefit in knowing this process beforehand to prepare you for the best possible outcome. We will be there with you for every step of the way to make sure you receive recourse and compensation you deserve. If you are not currently a client but believe you are involved in a situation that requires legal action, please call Reich and Binstock now.