Jump to content
GAemployee

Depositions and filings, made public?

Recommended Posts

The plaintiff said they wanted the deposition of the defendant to be filed confidential and under seal. The protextive order was general and vauge but did not specifically mention the deposition.    A few months later the plaintiff files the full deposition with the court showing everything and now it is all public.  

 

Is it a normal practice and/or is the plaintiff's counsel allowed to take a deposition of defendant asking questions irrelevant to the case including embarrassing personal questions and then file the whole depo with the court for the world to see. 

 

Any there any guidelines or rules on this?  Were any violated?  Is this allowed? Any limitarions on what can and cant be filed?

 

This is U.S District court in North Georgia. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, depositions are not filed with the court. The attorney is allowed to ask questions about the incident, and about anything related to the incident and anything that might lead to discoverable evidence. If he goes to far afield your attorney will object.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although things filed in court are technically public documents, unless filed under seal, it is extremely rare for anyone to access such records unless one of the litigants is a celebrity.  If the court had previously ordered the record sealed, the public should be prevented from accessing  the deposition by the clerk.  I agree that depositions are not normally filed with the clerk  although relevant parts may be used as exhibits at trial or hearings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, GAemployee said:

Is it a normal practice and/or is the plaintiff's counsel allowed to take a deposition of defendant asking questions irrelevant to the case including embarrassing personal questions and then file the whole depo with the court for the world to see.

 

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to "is this normal."  Moreover, whether something is or isn't "normal" is generally meaningless.

 

As far as whether what happened in the particular case about which you're asking was "allowable," that depends on a lot of facts not included in your post (in particular, the specific terms of the protective order you mentioned).  For starters, a deposition is an event, and an event cannot be filed with the court, so your assertion that "the whole depo" was filed is obviously incorrect.  What I assume you meant was that the entire transcript of the deposition was filed.  With that in mind, you should be aware that transcripts of depositions are rarely filed with the court.  More commonly, excerpts from transcripts may be attached as exhibits to motions.  Sometimes, entire transcripts will be lodged with the court (which basically means that custody of the transcript is given to the court, usually for purposes of a trial, but it's not part of the court's publicly available file).  I, for one, can't think of any good reason why an entire transcript would be filed, but that doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally happen and for good reasons.

 

As far as "irrelevant" "embarrassing" questions, the scope of permissible discovery is far broader than what is relevant.  See Fed. R. Civ. P., Rule 26(b)(1).  If, during the course of a deposition, the attorney asking questions strays too far off the path of relevancy, the witness (or his/her lawyer) can object and, under appropriate circumstances, refuse to answer certain questions.  If the examining attorney believes the objections are not well taken, he/she can file a motion to compel further testimony.  "Embarrassing" questions are not off limits at all.  Lawsuits often require testimony about things that are embarrassing.  In appropriate cases, a party who is concerned about such thing can seek a protective order.

 

You didn't say whether you're a party to the case about which you asked, but I assume you are.  If so, and if you believe it was inappropriate for the plaintiff to have filed the transcript, you can file a motion asking that the transcript be stricken from the court's file or sealed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...