Immediately’s submit is the second in a collection of posts by good friend of the Academy, Crystal M. Uebelher, J.D., CPCU. Crystal is an insurance coverage skilled and a lawyer. Crystal loves instructing non-lawyers concerning the legislation and legal professionals about insurance coverage.
It occurred. You acquired the dreaded e-mail or telephone name advising that your deposition will probably be taken. Your intuition could also be to stay your head within the sand. It is a affordable response. Most individuals don’t like battle and a deposition is, in spite of everything, a part of an adversarial course of. As an alternative of disengaging, attempt to pull your head out of the sand and ask the appropriate inquiries to set your self up for deposition success.
Query 1: Am I a truth witness or a company consultant?
That is crucial query it’s essential to ask earlier than you start preparation for a deposition. Let’s discuss this distinction. Reality witnesses testify about private information of the information that could be related to the litigation. That is the most typical sort of deposition. It’s probably your title appeared in a doc or in prior discovery responses. This led the opposing lawyer to consider you might have extra info to share. As a truth witness, your position is to in truth reply questions on what you keep in mind.
A company consultant deposition has a a lot bigger scope. The legislation considers firms and different restricted legal responsibility entities to be an individual. That is what we name a “authorized fiction”. Clearly, an organization isn’t an individual; it’s a assortment of particular person individuals working to offer a superb or service. So how does a lawyer depose an organization? The opposing lawyer is allowed to depose an actual one who is designated to talk as the corporate, i.e. the company consultant. You may additionally hear this known as a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, which references the federal rule that creates a proper to those depositions.
We’ll discuss extra about getting ready for a company consultant deposition later on this weblog collection. For now, let’s deal with truth witnesses.
Query 2: Why me?
In each case there are specific information all sides wants to determine to win. Every lawyer is aware of the important thing information which are at problem. A lot of the invention course of is geared toward constructing proof to show these key information to a decide or jury. There’s a good probability the opposing lawyer believes your testimony will assist set up a kind of key information and injury your organization’s place. This implies it is vital earlier than your deposition to grasp why you might be of curiosity to the opposing lawyer.
For instance, let’s assume you might be an insurance coverage agent whose company is being sued by a consumer for failure to obtain employment legal responsibility insurance coverage. A key truth the consumer might must show is that you simply assumed an obligation to acquire such insurance coverage for them. The main points of conferences or communications together with your consumer will definitely be pivotal to the case. Subsequently, earlier than giving a deposition, you ought to be ready to debate your finest recollection of these key conversations or emails. Having this data additionally permits you to higher acknowledge the traps the opposing lawyer might set in questions that appear innocuous.
You also needs to ask for a replica of the Discover of Deposition. It is a formal authorized doc requesting your deposition. It could checklist matters the opposing lawyer needs to debate with you and paperwork you might be required to convey alongside to the deposition. This doc is one other supply of details about why you might be being requested to take a seat for a deposition. It’s best to inform your lawyer if there are matters the place you lack private information. For instance, in case you are a claims consultant being requested to testify concerning underwriting tips that utilized to the insured, point out to your lawyer that you simply don’t have the private information to testify on this subject. Or if there are paperwork which may exist at your organization, however you might have by no means seen them, you must point out this too.
Now we all know why you might be of curiosity to the opposing lawyer. This info will information you thru the subsequent part of preparation. Examine again subsequent week to be taught the subsequent steps.
Crystal Uebelher, J.D., CPCU is an insurance coverage lawyer who’s captivated with elevating the experience of legal professionals and insurance coverage professionals on the ever-changing points in our business. Crystal is the proprietor of Readability Training and Consulting, LLC, the place she creates significant academic experiences for insurance coverage brokers, legal professionals and claims professionals. Crystal additionally works within the Claims Division at a mutual insurance coverage service.
Crystal earner her juris doctorate in 2007 from the College of Wisconsin Regulation Faculty (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif). She earned her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation in 2017.
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