Over the years, the attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde have taken many depositions. Many people did not like having their deposition taken, which is completely understandable.
Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, an attorney can set the deposition of anyone who has relevant information to an active case. The Deposition notice commands that anyone with knowledge of the case matter must appear and answer questions in an informal setting. Usually depositions take place in the office of the lawyer who set the deposition and they can last anywhere from an hour to several days, depending on the amount of information that the attorney wants to ask the deponent. In cases where there are multiple parties, each attorney is permitted to ask questions to the deponent. This is a crucial element to preparing for trial so almost all parties will always be deposed.
The Deposition and accompanying Subpoena have the full force of a court order, so the person must attend when and where the attorney specifies. A deponent is entitled to only a minimal witness fee for their attendance and unless they are identified as an expert, they will not be able to receive their hourly billable rate. Additionally, the code permits attorneys to set the location of the deposition with 75 miles of their residence. That range allows attorneys to set it as close to the attorneys as possible without regard to how far away the location is from their home.
So how can a non-party witness get out of a deposition? By talking to the attorney. The purpose of the deposition is to provide the attorney with the opportunity to speak with you and learn information. There have been many times the attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde needed to talk to a non-party witness and simply called them and asked if they would talk informally. When they agreed, the attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde engaged in an informal telephone call where we obtained the information we needed. When they refused, the attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde were left with no other choice but the depose the witness.
Of course, sometimes depositions are necessary. But even in those circumstances, the attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde generally reach out to the non-party witness and when they respond, we work with them on the date, time, and location of the deposition.