In the spirit of my most recent blog, “OBJECTION!! There’s this case that says . . . “, here is a list of proper and improper objections to deposition questions that you should also keep in the back of your legal pad.
OBJECTIONS TO DEPOSITION QUESTIONS
Objections to the form of questions are waived if not raised at the deposition. Weil and Brown, Cal Prac. Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2010) ¶8:721 (citing C.C.P. §2025.460 (pdf)(b)).
Instructing witness not to answer is improper unless objecting on grounds of privilege. CCP §2025.460 (pdf); Stewart v. Colonial Western Agency, Inc.(2001) 87 CA4th 1006 (pdf), 10015.
Speaking objections which counsel explains his rationale for the objection is improper as it is usually used as a tactic to give the deponent a heads up that the area of questioning is dangerous and how he should answer. This is a form of “coaching” the witness and a protective order may need to be sought. See CEB, California Civil Discovery Practice (4th ed. 2010) §6:100.
OBJECTIONS TO THE FORM OF THE QUESTION (CCP §2025.460)
Calls for Contention: Rifkind v. Superior Court (1994) 22 CA 4th 1255.
Calls for Legal Reasoning: Sav-On Drugs v. Sup. Ct.(1975) 15 C3d 1 (pdf).
Calls for Narration or Lengthy Explanation
Calls for Speculation or Conjecture
Harassing and oppressive
Leading (if not an adverse witness)
Vague and Ambiguous: Deyo v. Kilbourne(1978) 84 CA 3d 771(pdf).
Answer is known to propounding party: Alpine Mut. Water Co. v. Sup. Ct.(1968) 259 CA2d 45 (pdf),54.
Argumentative: C.C.P. §2017.010 (pdf).
Asked and answered: Coy v. Sup. Ct. (1962) 58 C2d 210 (pdf),218.
Assumes facts not in evidence: West Pico Furniture v. Sup. Ct. (1961) 56 C2d 407 (pdf),421.
Calls for conclusion: C.C.P. §2017.010.
Insufficient foundation: C.C.P. §2017.010.
Hearsay: C.C.P. §2017.010.
Irrelevant to the issues: C.C.P. §2017.010.
Calls for a narrative: C.C.P. §2017.010.
Calls for an opinion: C.C.P. §2017.010.
Oppressive: Coy v. Sup. Ct. (1962) 58 C2d 210,218.
Lists of the objections can be found in Weil and Brown, Cal Prac. Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial(TRG 2010) ¶8:721 et seq. and CEB, California Civil Discovery Practice (4th ed. 2010) §6.98.
OBJECTIONS ON THE CLAIM OF PRIVILEGE
You must state the privilege or it will be deemed waived. See Weil and Brown, California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2010) ¶8:725 citing CCP§2025.460 (pdf)(a) and International Insurance Co. v. Montrose Chemical Corp. of California(1991) 231 CA3d 1367 (pdf),1373.
Attorney-Client: Evid.Code §§950-962.
Confidential Marital Communications: Evid.Code §§980- 987.
Clergy-Penitent: Evid.Code §§1030-1034.
Defendant in Criminal Case: Evid.Code §930.
Domestic Violence Counselor-Victim: Evid.Code §§1037-1037.8.
Human Trafficking Caseworker-Victim: Evid.Code §§1038-1038.2.
Official Information and Identity of Informer: Evid.Code §§1040-1047.
Physician-Patient: Evid.Code §§990-1007.
Political Vote: Evid.Code §§1050.
Psychotherapist-Patient: Evid.Code §§1010-1027.
Self Incrimination: Evid.Code §§940.
Sexual Assault Counselor-Victim: Evid.Code §§1035-1036.2.
Testify Against Spouse: Evid.Code §§970-973.
Disclosure may be compelled if the Court finds that the interests of justice in obtaining the information outweighs the protection. See Weil and Brown, Cal Prac. Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2010) ¶8:110.5 citing Gonzalez v. Superior Court (1995) 33 CA4th 1539, 1548.
Invasion of Privacy: California Constitution Article 1 (pdf), Section 1.
Taxpayers Privilege Rev. & Tax C. §19542 (pdf)See Schnabel v. Superior Court (1993) 5 C4th 704 and Weil and Brown, Cal Prac. Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2010) ¶8:112 – 124.6.
Trade Secret: C.C.P. §2019.210 (pdf) and Evid.Code 1160-1063 Weil and Brown, Cal Prac. Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2010) ¶8:129.
Work Product: C.C.P. §2018.030 (pdf).