| by Heather Duncan, Esq.
Occasionally we receive inquiries from an attorney requesting that a deposition proceed by written questions in lieu of oral examination, often in connection with obtaining medical or billing records. Below are the general rules for handling these types of depositions.
Under both the California Code of Civil Procedure sections 2028.010 et seq. and Federal Rule 30, an attorney may provide the deposition officer with a set of written questions which are asked of the deponent and recorded verbatim by the court reporter.
The Notice of Deposition for written questions must comply with the same rules as any other deposition notice with the exception of the following:
- The name or descriptive title, as well as the address, of the deposition officer shall be stated.
- The date, time, and place for commencement of the deposition may be left to future determination by the deposition officer
The questions to be propounded to the deponent are served along with the notice. There is a 30 day time period to serve any cross-questions, with 15 days for serving redirect questions.
After the objections have been worked out and any appropriate court orders entered, the deposition officer receives the final questions and proceeds “promptly to propound the questions and to take and record the testimony of the deponent in response to the questions.“
At the deposition the reporter swears in the witness, reads each question to the witness, and takes down the responses verbatim in the same manner as with any oral deposition. As a neutral party and officer of the court, the reporter is not allowed to comment, explain or make any statement about the questions. After the deposition a transcript is prepared and certified under the procedures required by either federal or California law.