Depositions: two questions about who and where

A search string today asked “Can a defendant be added after deposition(s)?”

I’m not a lawyer so can’t answer officially, but I believe so. Adding a defendant would of course require an amended complaint, and the new complaint probably will have to justify adding that new defendant. And then your lawyer would have to serve the new defendant, and he would answer, and on and on. And on.

That is, adding a defendant to a lawsuit could take a lot of time. Besides that, there is an internal time limit to amending a complaint and if your lawyer goes over that time limit, there can be additional court expenses.

That is my guess and only a partially educated guess. Whether a defendant should be added is a decision only your lawyer can make. So ask the question and listen to your lawyer’s answer. It’s why you retained him or her: he/she knows more than I do and much more than you do, and is undoubtedly a lot more rational than you are about your case.

The other search string asked, in effect, “Do I go to my lawyer for depositions or can my lawyer come to me?” A weird question.

Here’s my question: why wouldn’t you want to go to your lawyer’s office for depositions? And if you’re asking about your own deposition, it would most likely be held in the defendant’s lawyer’s office, not your lawyer’s. It’s the defendant’s deposition that would be conducted in your lawyer’s office.

But I guess if you’re physically unable to get to your lawyer’s office, the whole group–lawyers, court reporters, defendant(s), plaintiff(s), witnesses, witnesses’ lawyers–could come to you but gee, given how long it takes to negotiate and establish deposition schedules, I think throwing this wrinkle into the process could stretch the time out unbearably.

I once worked on a New York case for which a deposition (I don’t remember if it was of a defendant or a key witness) had to be conducted in Florida. And for that purpose, the lawyer I worked for had a lawyer friend of his, who practiced in Florida, set up the deposition in his office and schedule a local court reporter, and then another lawyer colleague was retained and traveled to Florida to conduct the deposition.

These were all billed expenses that were repaid off the top of the judgment. So if you’re a plaintiff asking whether depositions can be held somewhere other than the locale where you filed your complaint, the answer is maybe yes. But it can create an expensive and time-consuming event out of what is already an expensive and time-consuming event. (Deposition costs are usually the biggest expenses in a lawsuit.)

If you have a contingency agreement with your lawyer, you will be paying for this expense out of any settlement or judgment you get.

But if you don’t have a contingency agreement, you will be billed immediately after it is incurred.

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