Depositions are a critical part of the legal process. This period of formal questioning and discovery takes place before the trial. Witnesses present their testimony and answer questions under oath, allowing attorneys to gather information, define their strategies, and save time once the trial begins.
Federal Rule of Procedure 30 clearly defines when and how depositions should be administered, but they offer less direction regarding the location. The rules merely state that the party responsible for initiating discovery may decide upon a location. This flexibility allows depositions to occur where they make the most sense for all parties involved. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a video deposition location.
Video Depositions Can Occur in Person
Traditional depositions are held in person. Participants typically include the deponent, opposing counsel, deposing counsel, court reporter, and sometimes a videographer and/or interpreter. In-person depositions are most convenient, efficient, and cost-effective if all parties involved live in the same geographic location.
Video Depositions Can Occur Remotely
While remote depositions have been around for years, the concept of deposing witnesses virtually became the new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using teleconferencing technology, it’s easy to conduct secure, high-quality depositions online from anywhere.
In this setup, all participants tune in from their respective locations. Then, everyone signs into a platform where they can see each other and any documents under examination. The deposition is also recorded so attorneys can review the footage later.
Video Depositions Should be Held in a Formal Setting
Even though depositions occur outside the courtroom, they are still formal affairs. Therefore, they should be conducted in a quiet, private setting where interruptions are unlikely to occur. Examples include an attorney’s office, court reporter’s office, or reserved meeting or conference room. If any deponents are recovering from injuries in a hospital or similar setting, depositions can also take place there.
Video Depositions Require Good Lighting and Acoustics
Video-recorded depositions allow you to fine-tune your case, show video testimony of an absentee witness in court, and demonstrate the witness’s body language and tone of voice to the judge and jury. As a result, choosing a deposition location with good lighting and acoustics is important to ensure high-quality video and audio.
Courts Can Modify Deposition Locations
If disputes arise regarding where a deposition should occur, judiciary officials are permitted to change the location to protect participants from unfair costs, inconveniences, or inefficient practices. For example, if a case litigated in one state involves plaintiffs residing all over the country, it would be unreasonable for the deciding party to arrange in-person depositions in one central location. If this happens, the court can alleviate costly and unnecessary travel costs by requiring depositions to be taken remotely.
At Talty Court Reporters, we utilize the latest technology to deliver the very best results in your legal case. Turn to us for top-quality remote depositions, video and audio conferencing, court reporting, transcribing services, and much more. For additional information or to request a cost estimate, please contact us today.