Deposition - moving to strike

  Photo:  My nephews - not pretending not to be angry.

Photo:  My nephews - not pretending not to be angry.

Plaintiffs are usually timid when the defense moves to strike their answers in deposition. They worry that they did something wrong.  And they look to their attorneys for reassurance.  A gentle smile usually serves that purpose well.

It's different when moving to strike answers of a defendant/arrogant witness.  They hate it when you move to strike their answers in deposition.  They will narrow their eyes and inside you can feel them silently shouting out "how dare you."   This is because they believe they are entitled to be in control.  They detest not being in charge.   And they resent any act of authority that you wield.

In this example, the witness is the defendant.  He is being videotaped.  He has been schooled to present a pleasant professional facade.  He is not to lose his cool.  Or his temper.  Because if that veneer cracks open the jury will get an actual look at the not so pleasant stuff.  And well, that can't be allowed.

This strategy would work quite well, if there wasn't a particularly pesky plaintiff lawyer asking questions.  Over and over again.  With a smile.  As the hours go by, the doctor is not quite as cool as he was at the outset.  And then three little words are uttered:  move to strike.   This gets under his skin.  He can't shrug it off.  It ticks him off.  And then his attorney gets involved.  Let's see how this all plays out

(BY MS. KOEHLER)  Yeah.  Move to strike.  That was completely

4    nonresponsive.  We can move a lot faster if you answer

5    the question.

6 A   I did answer your question.

7 Q   Okay.  The question was . . .

8      (Pending question read by reporter.)

9 A   My answer would be the same.

10 Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  So you can't say yes or no?

11 A   It's . . .  Again, my --

12 Q   You can't say yes or no --

13             MS. E:  Wait a minute.  He doesn't have to

14    answer yes or no.

15 Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  I just am asking if you can answer yes

16    or no.

17 A   My answer would be the same as I mentioned before.

18 Q   So you can't say yes or no that you had a suspicion that

19    there was a clot before you ordered the echo?

20 A   I --

21             MS. E:  Objection.  Wait a minute.  Sorry.

22    Objection.  You have no right to force him to say yes or

23    no.  He can answer in any way that he needs to to be

24    accurate.

25 Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  Yeah.  You are --

122

 

1  A  I answered the question satisfactorily the first time,

2      and I will remain with this answer.

3  Q  Sir, only one person can talk at a time.

4  A  Which I am talking, so I'm answering your question.

5  Q   Now, if she is going to make a speaking objection, which

6      she knows she's not supposed to do, then I need to make a

7      record to tell her knock it off.  And then if there's

8      still a question pending, which at this time there is

9      not, then you can answer it.  But talking over us just

10      makes her (the court report's) life very difficult.

11  A  You are the one who's talking over us.

12              MS. E:  Wait a minute.  Let's take a break.

13      Let's take a break.

14              MS. KOEHLER: How long do you want?

15              MS. E:  Five minutes.

16              MS. KOEHLER: Okay.

17              VIDEOTAPE TECHNICIAN: We're off the record 

His attorney does a good job of calling a time out.  Things were just about to get interesting.