Gentle deposition sparring

  Photo: Me with an Italian Emperor

Photo: Me with an Italian Emperor

Setting:  We are in a downtown Seattle conference room.  The sky is deep blue.  The sun is shining.  Its rays bounce like mirrors off the skyscrapers and rippling waterways below us.  Eric the videographer is at the far end of the table.  Jane the court reporter is her usual excellent self.  Cheryl our medical negligence paralegal is by my side.  Across the table are the defense lawyers.  In front of a gray screen sits the witness.  The defense side is somber.  I am feisty. We are about an hour an a half into the deposition.

Q.  And similarly endocarditis, if not properly diagnosed and treated will be fatal; correct?

Mr. King:  Objection.  Asked and answered. You may respond.

A.  Endocarditis like other things, if not treated, could certainly be fatal, yes.

Q. By Ms. Koehler:  All right.  In this case it was fatal; am I correct?

Mr. King:  Objection.  Assumes facts not in evidence.  You have a position that he had endocarditis at the time.  We don't have to agree with that.  That's your position.  We have a contrary position.  So you shouldn't ask him as if it's an established fact.  (Mr. King is not yelling or even shouting.  He's very seasoned and just trying to put me in my place).

Ms. Koehler:  (Becoming theatrical in a totally Elle Woods kind of way) Okay.  You're like making horrible objections, terrible, some of the worst I've ever heard.  But I'm not going to get mad about it.

Mr. King:  I don't think you should.

Ms. Koehler:  I should get mad about it.  But I like you.  I'm not going to get mad about it.  But it's not proper.

Mr. King:  Well, I don't think your question's proper for the reasons stated.

Ms. Koehler:  Well, my question is not coaching the witness.  It's just a bad question then.

Mr. King:  The question isn't complying with courtroom standard.  That's my problem with the question.

Ms. Koehler:  My intent, though misguided, is honorable.  Yours --

Mr. King: (He sees where this is going and tries to head me off by interjecting) So is mine.

Ms. Koehler:  Your intent is not.  You're trying to interfere with my deposition.  Don't do it.

Mr. King:  I'm not trying to interfere.  And unless you can read my mind, I don't know what the basis is for presuming I have a maligned intent. (Props to Mr. King - he can definitely think on his feet.  Quite fun to spar with actually)

Ms. Koehler:  Coaching the witness.  All right.  Back to my question which I completely forgot.