Tricky Deposition Questions
The question is asked out of sequence. “Did you use the most recent standards?” When? At the time of the incident, 5 years previous, or last month? Ask what year or date the attorney is asking about before answering. Don’t assume you know.
The questionmisquotes you. “You said earlier you were stopped for a minute, weren’t you?” “No, I said I was stopped for about one to three minutes.”
The question implies an answer. “You didn’t actually see the man clearly, did you?” implies you didn’t see him clearly. If you did, say so “I saw the man very clearly.
The question is outside your knowledge. “To the best of your knowledge, did maintenance do regular safety checks?” It may be tempting to assume that they did, but if you don’t know that for a fact, then it’s “I don’t know.”
The question implies what you should know. “As the accountant, didn’t you know what was posted?” Stick to the facts, regardless of what a mythical accountant should know. “No, I did not.”
The document question. “Isn’t it true that you signed the May 3rd agreement?” “May I see the document please?” Always review whatever document is being referred to before answering, even if you think you know what it is.
Personal questions.“Didn’t you have an abortion/DUI/felony charge last year?” Litigation makes your life transparent, but some information is irrelevant. If your attorney doesn’t object to the question, then calmly, neutrally, answer truthfully. Your attorney can have the question and answer excluded later.
Scolding questions. “Couldn’t you have provided better warnings?” You’re not a child. Stay calm. “I believe we provided good warnings.”
Vague questions. “Were you there long?” “It was short, wasn’t it?” ‘Long,’ ‘short,’ ‘a little,’ ‘a lot’ and the like are all open to subjective interpretation. Stick with the facts. “I was there about an hour.” “It was about 6 inches.”
The nonexistent question. “Of course the accounts are kept in the safe.” This isn’t a question, it’s a statement. “I’m sorry, what is the question please?”
Silence. You’ve given your response, yet opposing counsel just stares at you, silent. Don’t figure you must have forgotten to say something. Silence is a tactic to get you to talk
more. Don’t budge!
If you have some other tricky questions you can add to the list, please make comments below or send me your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope your next depositions goes really well.