If you are involved in a civil lawsuit as a witness, plaintiff or defendant, there is a likely chance that you will receive what is known as a “deposition subpoena” in the mail or in person. A deposition subpoena is an official document approved by your state’s judicial counsel. The purpose of a deposition subpoena is to notify you that you are to have your deposition taken, and thus be “deposed”.
A subpoena is a legal document that “orders” someone to appear either at a court, or in this case, a deposition. A deposition is essentially an interview between the opposing side’s lawyer and yourself. Effectively reading the deposition subpoena is the first step in preparing for your deposition.
Reading the Subpoena
Legal documents are often difficult for the untrained eye to read, but it is possible with a little patience. Take a few moments to carefully read what is written on the subpoena, there can be a lot of information crammed into a small space and your eyes may be tempted to jump around on the page. The easiest way to effectively read a deposition subpoena (or any legal document) is to begin in the top left corner and work your way down, reading left to right, line by line.
Who Will Conduct the Deposition
Various states use different types of deposition subpoena forms but all will have the name of the court from which it was issued. More importantly, the subpoena form will include the lawyer’s office which set your deposition and thus will be conducting the deposition (asking you the questions).
Who to Contact for Questions
If you have any questions about the deposition but do not have a lawyer of your own, like a personal injury lawyer Newport Beach CA trusts, you may contact the attorney’s office listed on the subpoena, though remember that this will be attorneys for the OPPOSING side. If you already have a lawyer of your own (which you most likely will) contact them with regard to any questions or rescheduling needs. Don’t wait until the last day to do this unless it is truly an emergency. Remember that rescheduling is always better than simply not showing up. Completely not showing up to your deposition without notifying anyone beforehand will reflect poorly on your character and can result in legal ramifications.
Date, Time and Location
On your deposition subpoena, you also will find the date, time, and location of your deposition. Your deposition will be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance. This allows for you make arrangements or to reschedule if need be. The attorney’s office which set your deposition should allow you to reschedule your deposition for a convenient date, time and location that will work for you. Also, you may be entitled to accommodation for transportation to and from the deposition. If this is needed, contact either your attorney or if you do not have an attorney, contact the attorney which set the deposition and is listed on your subpoena.
Documents to Bring
Some deposition subpoenas will contain wording that states you are required to bring documents to your deposition. These may be anything from medical records, video recordings, to pictures and diagrams that have to do with your case. The lawyers conducting your deposition are entitled to take copies of whatever documents you refer to during your deposition. However, be mindful of any document you bring to your deposition, whether it is being requested or not. Any document that you bring to your deposition (including photos, text messages, audio/video recordings) and that you use during your deposition can and will be copied by the lawyers conducting your deposition.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bruno Nalu for their insight into depositions and subpoenas.