A deposition is a case discovery tool. Depositions are necessary to learn the basis for the other party’s claims or defense, and to test whether their testimony holds up under cross examination. A deposition also captures the witness testimony and preserves it.
Employment litigants rarely have all the facts needed to prove their claims. They typically need to obtain documents and testimony to support their case. A court’s “Civil Rules” empower them to do this.
Under Civil Rules, parties are allowed to ask the other party or outside witnesses questions under oath. Civil Rules have the force of law and the court has power to enforce them.
Employment litigation might involve allegations of workplace harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination, violation of company policy or theft.
In cases involving an employee and employer, a deposition allows one party to question another party or witness under oath. The deposition usually takes place in the attorney’s office with a court reporter transcribing the deposition, and possibly includes a video record of the deposition.
Parties and witnesses cannot refuse to appear at a deposition or answer questions once there, unless they obtain a Protective Order or otherwise properly object to a subpoena. If they do, the court can sanction them.
Circumstances that fall outside the subpoena power of the court are due to no fault of the party offering the deposition or witness, and include illness, infirmity, imprisonment or death. In this type of circumstance, a deposition can be used as evidence.
The deposition is part of the case Discovery Plan which sets out a course of action to gather all available evidence within the time allowed for the Civil Rules. Although not required by the Civil Rules, each party should prepare a Discovery Plan for all but the simplest case.
Other Discovery Tools
In addition to Depositions, the Civil Rules also provide for Request for Admissions, Document Requests and Interrogatories. Refer to the 2021 Florida Statutes, Title VII, Chapter 92.251 – Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act.
If you have questions about an employment concern, or regarding deposition, contact Derek Usman at the Usman Law Firm for consultation.