Guest Column | May 9, 2013

Legally Speaking: Being Deposed

By Bob Goldberg, RSPA Attorney, Schoenberg, Finkel, Newman & Rosenberg, LLC.

Recently an RSPA Member contacted me because he had received a subpoena for a deposition and wanted to know what to do. He was not a party to the litigation, but what is known as a “third” party that may have knowledge regarding the dispute. The date of the deposition was during Spring Break and he had vacation plans with his family. The deposition was scheduled in a city two hours from his home and business. He was also instructed to bring hundreds of pages of business records that would take hours to find and copy. This inquiry alerted me to the fact that other RSPA Members may be or become subject to a subpoena and need guidance as well.

My first suggestion was that he might wish to engage a local attorney to represent him in the deposition. He was concerned about the cost and did not wish to incur the expense. Although the individual was not a party to the litigation he would be testifying under oath and may not recognize the implications of his testimony. Additionally, depositions are subject to detailed rules of procedure that he was not familiar with. The subpoena itself may not be proper, and without the legal knowledge to challenge it he may proceed unnecessarily. Finally, it may be appropriate to have a “Protective Order” entered prior to producing any records or providing any testimony. One of the parties in this litigation was a competitor, and certainly financial information, marketing strategies and other confidential information should not be shared with him.

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