Fun Facts about Depositions, sponsored by: Justin Bieber

From egging a house in Los Angeles, to a DUI in Miami, to assault in Toronto – all you seem to hear about Justin Bieber lately is his legal troubles. No exception this week when a video of his deposition for allegedly ordering his body guard to attack a member of the paparazzi went viral.

A deposition is an oral examination that (generally) lawyers conduct outside of the court room during the discovery phase of litigation. The sworn testimony gets reduced to writing and submitted to the court as part of the record. So who better than J. Biebs to illuminate a few fun facts of depositions for us.

  • Fun fact #1: Body language cannot be recorded. J. Biebs winking and preening at the camera would have gone unnoticed by the court until the video had 3 million plus hits on YouTube.
  • Fun fact #2: However, attorneys will use depositions to predict how the witness will perform at trial and how the jury will react to them.  This is useful as they prepare for ADR, in hopes of reaching a settlement before trial. Personally, if I were Justin’s attorney (and not knowing the other evidence in the case) I would try to work out a settlement.
  • Fun Fact #3: An objection to form is generally asserted to clarify the record. Bieber’s lawyer uses this objection before Justin complains that the question doesn’t make sense.
  • Fun fact #4: If Selena Gomez was also deposed about any discussions she had regarding the paparazzi with Bieber, the record needs to establish her connection to him.  Due to his combative reaction to that question, any statements with Gomez would need to establish the relationship.
  • Fun fact #5: Lawyers can help clarify their client’s statements. For example when Justin said “I think that I was detrimental to my own career,” his attorney was quick to offer “instrumental” as the appropriate adjective.
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