Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New Rule For Defending Depositions: DO NOT LAUGH

I just saw this story a few minutes ago. Apparently a Federal District Court judge has handed down a $29,000 sanction against a party and their attorney. The sanctions arose from the deposition of Aaron Wilder in the case of GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp. During the deposition, the deponent (Mr. Wilder) was a wee bit out of control.

By wee bit, it appears that he was unwilling to give a straight answer to most of the questions, continually engaged in "hostile, uncivil, and vulgar conduct" including insulting the opposing counsel during the 12 hours of the deposition. According the judge's count, there were 73 uses of the F-bomb during the deposition. (Which if you think about it is only a little more than 6 per hour)

Now, the attorney himself was also hit by sanctions for his part in the deposition. The court found that he did nothing to control his client, but the part that jumped out at me was where the evidence of attorney encouraging/failing to control his client was when he "snickered".

Considering how many crazy clients I have... and how some of them act,... I am going to have to really reign in my snicker reflex. G-d knows I can't afford a $29,000 sanction.

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