Every deposition begins the same general way, basic boilerplate that the deposing attorney repeats on autopilot without really thinking about what he or she is saying. For my deposition today, I am looking to put a little spin on the ordinarily boring. For those of you who have neither taken nor read a deposition transcript, they usually always start the same exact way:
By Mr. Pamby: Let the record reflect that this is the discovery deposition taken of the Defendant, Doctor John Q. Smith, taken pursuant to notice and in accordance with all of the applicable rules of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. Doctor, as your lawyer likely told you my name is Namby and I am going to ask you a few questions today about your treatment of my client, Jane L. Jones. Before we begin with the actual substance of today’s chat, I just want to go through a few housekeeping matters. Once we do that, we can get this over and done with you scampering back to your office to complain about how much of a waste of time this is. Does that sound good?
Witness: “Um, sure?”
By Mr. Pamby: Good! You can see this pleasant looking gentleman with the keyboard thingy in front of him is a court reporter. As I learned by watching Boston Legal, everything that we say gets taken down and stored for posterity’s sake. The caveat here is that as talented as he is with that machine he cannot taken down us screaming at the same time at each other. So, let’s keep the screaming to a minimum. With this in mind, and knowing that I double parked my ambulance outside, I want to assure you that even though I represent a Plaintiff who is suing you for medical malpractice, I am not the bad guy here. I invite you to look under the table and around the room to see that I have neither a bifurcated tail nor a pitchfork.
Witness: “Uh...excuse me?”
By Mr. Pamby: You don’t see any of the telltale signs that I am the devil, do you?
By Mr. Pamby: Excellent! Just a few more things to get through and then we can begin your actual questions. If you do not understand a question that I have asked, please tell me. If you don’t do this, I have to assume two things: first, that you understood the question that I asked and second, that I understood the question I asked. I was not smart enough to go to medical school and clearly you were, so this medical stuff you are going to have to bear with me as I attempt to make sense of what you are saying. If you have any questions about what I asked or how the question is phrased, do not hesitate to interrupt me. Now, back to the court reporter, everything that you and I say has to be in a recognized verbal response like ‘yes’ or ‘no’. ‘Uhh-huh’ or ‘nuh-uhh’ unfortunately are not sufficient for our purposes here today nor is shaking your head, finger or doing the Macarena. If you wish to sing your responses to my question, I just ask that I be given the opportunity to sing along. Does that seem fair?
By Mr. Pamby: Before we begin, do you have any questions?
By Mr. Pamby: Excellent. Let’s begin... Doctor, why did you kill my client?