Most litigators understand the importance of video depositions for saving money on expensive expert witness time at trial, but fewer realize the power of video for establishing or exposing the character of key fact witnesses and the preservation of testimony.
Video Depositions for Exposing Character
There was a case several years ago where the deponent was a 3rd shift truck driver. The deposition (which occurred during his normal bedtime) revealed that the truck driver had threatened to drive a stake through his ex-friend’s heart in revenge for wrecking a vehicle that he had leant him the day prior.
When asked why he threatened his friend, his reply was, “Because I’m pretty sure that’s what you do with blood suckers.”
Lucky for the deposing attorney, he made the decision some years back to videotape every single deposition for moments just like this. It was evidentiary gold. That deposition forever lived on candidly as The Van Helsing Deposition.
Video Depositions for Preservation
In some situations like personal injury and medical malpractice cases, due to a witness’s age or medical circumstances, their future may be left in the balance. It’s important to preserve their testimony so that the parties have the benefit of the evidence in the case of an unexpected or impending death. Video depositions are the best way to ensure that the whole essence of the testimony is preserved. As sad as it is to think about such circumstances, the family of the deceased has a better shot at closure if the case is able to be tried fairly.
This was seen first hand in a mesothelioma case. The deponent was in pretty bad shape and didn’t have much time left. He was in severe pain most of his life and during the video deposition, his stomach became distended and the deposition was terminated while he was carted away by the paramedics.
Video depositions not only preserve the content of testimony, but it can also show, in living color, the physical pain that someone is experiencing and that is something that a transcript alone just can not do.
Video Depositions for Attention and Retention
One of the most overlooked benefits of video depositions is retaining the attention of juries, judges, and mediators. It’s a known fact that not everyone absorbs information in the same way. Some lawyers forget that most jurors don’t spend any time in a courtroom. They are out of their element physically, mentally, and emotionally. This mentally exhausting task of trying to remember a bombardment of compact information is trying for even the most scholarly.
That being said, some people learn better through reading, some listening, and some watching. Pairing a video deposition with a transcript for the jury’s benefit means that you’ll have the best shot at the jury absorbing the information that you want to present.
For more information on video depositions, contact Ruffin Consulting today!