Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in North Carolina

depositions

Can a person refuse to be deposed, especially if they have already been deposed once in the same law suit?

Asked on 10/15/04, 5:48 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Kirby Law Offices of John M. Kirby
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Re: depositions

Hmm. Well, here's a little more of an answer. I assume your case is not in federal court, but the federal rules now clarify that a person cannot be deposed twice without court approval. (There is a distinction between "resuming" a deposition that was "adjourned" and truly having a second deposition; I assume you are talking about the latter.) The general law which has developed on this issue from other jurisdictions is that if there is some reason, justification or cause, then it can be done. The best examples are if a party discovers new evidence for which they need to re-question you, or even better if they find out that one of your previous answers may be incorrect. There is to my knowledge no N.C. law directly on point. Technically speaking, you would probably need a "protective order" from the Court, which your lawyer could argue to the Court. It is unclear from your question whether (1) you are a party and (2) whether you have an attorney. You are well-advised to obtain a lawyer, especially if you plan to challenge the second deposition. And the previous responder is quite correct that a failure to honor a subpoena can subject a witness to sanctions from the Court, so this is no area in which to be a "cowboy." The "path of least resistance" would simply to be re-deposed, but that's a judgment call.

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10/17/04, 11:57 pm
Scott Mason The Legal Resource Center
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Re: depositions

Failing to appear at a deposition can result in court order santions. You could be found in contempt of court and arrested and ordered to pay a fine. If you would like more information on all the rules and ins and outs regarding depositions I would recommend you pick up a copy of The Deposition Handbook. It is the best book I've seen for laypeople and covers just about every conceivable question one could have about depositions, including what could happen if you refuse and legal reasons you can avoid a deposition. You can find a copy of the book on my site at the following address

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2495161673 (just copy and paste in browser window).

Good luck.

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10/16/04, 8:54 pm

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