Sunday, July 6, 2008

What Should Come Before a Deposition?

1) As much discovery as possible. This includes all e-discovery of the plaintiff, of the family, and of the plaintiff lawyer. If the judge has shown hostility to the defense by adverse rulings, request e-discovery of the judge. E-discovery includes all computers, cell phones, and anything electronic used by the plaintiff side. In addition to total e-discovery, all medical and psychiatric records should be obtained of the plaintiff and of the family if possible. Because relationships often cause suicide, information should be gathered about those with whom the victim had conflicts.

2) This information should be summarized or provided entirely to the prospective experts. The expert should come up with a set of questions to be asked in the deposition to assist in determining an opinion. These include additional information needed, information to clarify ambiguous situations. If the other side has taken depositions, these should be reviewed by the expert as well.


Ben Wright said...

The e-discovery of the judge is an intriguing idea! Can you cite any case that allowed e-discovery of the judge? Your idea for e-discovery of the judge is consistent with my beliefs that information technology (1) makes abuse of authority more difficult; and (2) can render endless any investigation. --Ben

Suicide Malpractice said...

I know of none. In the case of Kosinsky, a lawyer had a vendetta from a prior case. He copied the judge's website, and published it during a case on disgusting pornography. The parties of the porn trial did not do e-discovery of the judge.

But, they should have, in this case.

I would look at the track record of the judge, especially in similar cases. If statistically significant different from a pure 50-50 result, I would demand e-discovery for bias. If there is an unequal amount of campaign contributions from one bar, I would ask for e-discovery of the judge. I would look at the credit report of the judge. If any financial transaction is suspicious, I would demand e-discovery. I would then demand e-discovery of the supervising judge. The experience of the expense, effort, and uncertainty should help judges empathize with parties subjected to these ruinous costs.

If refused, I would demand recusal, presuming bias. If recusal is refused, I would
demand a postponement until the judge can be investigated by the judicial review committee. If they fail to remove him, the judge is on notice that no guff will be tolerated.

I would repeat these steps at every adverse ruling, using the ruling as evidence of bias.

As a minimum, I would like to see it become a lawyer duty to a client to at least google the judge, looking for biased utterances.

Suicide Malpractice said...

Ben: If e-discovery starts for judges, prepare the Powerpoint to help them cope.

Ben Wright said...

These are revolutionary ideas you post here! The people most likely to pioneer them are smart litigants who represent themselves pro se; licensed lawyers will be hesitant at first. Your ideas are a reminder that technology beacons people to adopt novel practices in pursuit of unexpected legal outcomes.