How To Handle The Deposition Of A Corporate Representative
When a company is sued, the suing party is entitled to depose the person with the most knowledge of the facts of the case. It is up to the company (or the company’s lawyer) to determine who that person is, and to designate the person who does, in fact, have the most knowledge of the facts or circumstances alleged in the suit.
Preparing for Your Deposition
If you are the designated corporate representative, how do you prepare for your deposition? Obviously every case is different, and your business attorney will (or should) fully prepare you for your deposition, but here are a few tips to keep in mind, when and if you are deposed as the person with the most knowledge.
- Getting up to speed – In a larger company, it is very possible that you (the person being deposed) may not actually have the most knowledge. Work with your attorney and speak to employees, to make sure that you understand the facts, claims and defenses being made in the case. Unusually, the notice of deposition will have a list of subjects that you will be asked to answer. If it does not, or if the list is too vague for you to prepare, your lawyer can object, and ask for a more precise list of topics, to allow you to properly prepare for the deposition.
- Don’t guess – A deposition isn’t a game show. There is no requirement you know all the answers, and undoubtedly through the course of a deposition there are things you will be asked that you do not know. Do not be afraid to say that you don’t know an answer, or to defer to someone else who may have more knowledge on a given subject than you do.
- Get protective orders – If there is a chance that your deposition may require you to speak of or disclose information that you believe to be private, confidential, or which constitutes a trade secret, your attorney can ask the court for a protective order. If granted, the order will prohibit the other side from asking questions that threaten to reveal your private, sensitive information.
- Remember who you are – Remember you are being deposed as a corporate representative, or someone with knowledge. You are not being deposed in your individual capacity.
That means that you should answer in your capacity as a corporate representative. If answers are different—say, the company has a different view officially on a subject than you do personally-you should do your best to clarify you are answering on behalf of the company.
Additionally, if you are asked a question that relates to your personal opinions or observations, make sure that you say as much, so as not to accidentally bind the company to an opinion that’s yours, personally, and not the official company “opinion.”
Call the West Palm Beach business litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig for help today protecting your business and its confidential information.