Deposition in the United States

The principal approach to discovery in civil cases. A deposition involves the taking of a statement from a witness who is under oath. The statement is given by the witness in response to a question from an attorney. Both sides to a case are present during a deposition, and cross-examination can occur. Responses are recorded and transcribed for later use. For example, a deposition may be produced and admitted by the court as evidence as though the person actually testified in court. In taking a deposition, one party asks oral questions of the other party or his or her witnesses. A witness who is deposed is called a deponent. The deposition is not conducted in a courtroom, but usually in the office of one of the attorneys. The deposition process may also require a witness to produce particular documents or records. [1]

Analysis and Relevance

A deposition is the most common form of discovery. Because counsel for both parties are present and may examine witnesses, interviews are often thorough and lengthy. A complete transcript is made of a deposition. Depositions frequently yield information that allows an attorney to obtain an acceptable settlement or more fully prepare for trial. Because it may be excessively drawn out, expensive, and contribute to delays in court proceedings, the deposition process is subject to frequent criticism. Some states have revised their rules of civil procedures to impose limits on depositions. [2]

Deposition Definition

The testimony of a witness reduced to writing, in due form of law, by virtue of a commission or other authority of a competent tribunal, or according to the provisions of some statute law, to be used on the trial of some question of fact in a court of justice. In some states it is applied to the testimony taken on a preliminary hearing, and reduced to writing by the committing magistrate. In its generic sense, it embraces all written evidence verified by oath, and includes affidavits, but in legal language, a distinction is maintained between depositions and affidavits. 3 Blatchf. (U.S.) 456. In its technical sense, it is confined to the written testimony of a witness given in a judicial proceeding. 53 Am. Dec. 270. In Ecclesiastical Law. The act of depriving a clergyman, by a competent tribunal, of his clerical orders, to punish him for some offense, and to prevent his acting in future in his clerical character. [3]

Plain-English Law

Deposition as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455): A tool used by one party in pretrial case investigation (called discovery) to question the other party or a witness in the case. All questions are answered under oath and recorded by a court reporter, who creates a deposition transcript.

Practical Information

Testimony of a witness under oath taken in writing to be introduced at a trial, hearing, investigation, or at arbitration proceedings. (Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Deposition?

For a meaning of it, read Deposition in the Legal Dictionary here.

Taking the Deposition of the Sexual Harassment Plaintiff

This section examines the Taking the Deposition of the Sexual Harassment Plaintiff subject in its related phase of trial. In some cases, other key elements related to trials, such as personal injury, business, and criminal litigation, are also addressed.

Concept of Deposition in Judicial Assistance

In this context, a definition of Deposition may be as follows: The testimony of a person, whether a party or not (often referred to as a deponent), given under oath or affirmation before a designated or appointed individual other than the judge, jury, or other body that will adjudicate the claim, in response to questions, oral or written, by a party to the litigation, and recorded for later use. A deposition is usually recorded in writing but is sometimes videotaped or tape recorded, where not prohibited by host country law. (See 22 CFR 92.49).

Deposition Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.

Beginning the Deposition: Employment Discrimination Depositions

This section offers information on beginning the deposition in relation to the employment discrimination deposition process under the United States law.

The main federal statutes that are applicable to employment discrimination cases are the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. This content on beginning the deposition in the context of a deposition in an employment discrimination case may be applicable to claims filed with state or federal administrative agencies.

Beginning the Deposition and Beginning the Deposition


Notes and References

  1. Definition of Deposition from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California
  2. This definition of Deposition Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This

See Also

Further Reading (Articles)

“Deposition Apparatus” in Patent Application Approval Process, Politics & Government Week; April 10, 2014

Acid deposition: unraveling a regional phenomenon., Science; February 10, 1989; Schwartz, Stephen E.

Depositions 101, Journal of Environmental Health; June 1, 2012; Waller, Patti

Depositions 101: Six Things You Need to Know about Depositions, Mondaq Business Briefing; September 5, 2012;

All Depositions Are For Use At Trial.(Reprint), Mondaq Business Briefing; February 8, 2008

Depositions, errata sheets, reopening, and termination. (Florida), Florida Bar Journal; March 1, 1996; Taylor, Robert E., Jr.

Depositions: Are they legal jeopardy?, ED Legal Letter; May 1, 2005

“Plasma Deposition Apparatus and Plasma Deposition Method” in Patent Application Approval Process, Politics & Government Week; May 29, 2014

Patent Application Titled “Deposition Apparatus and Method of Depositing Thin Layer Using the Same” Published Online, Politics & Government Week; June 5, 2014

Deposition rules: new Tax Court Rule may change the way IRS pursues depositions.(legalnews), California CPA; October 1, 2010; Walker, Steven L.

Giving depositions as a defendant or an expert.(Medicolegal Issues), Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings; January 1, 2006; Thornton, Russell G.

Conducting Discovery in Japan: Depositions, Letter Rogatory, and Production of Documents, Mondaq Business Briefing; September 12, 2012

Atmospheric deposition and canopy interactions of major ions in a forest., Science; January 10, 1986; Lindberg, S.E.

Deposition Guidebook, Florida Bar Journal; November 1, 2010; Rozelle, Paul G.

“Powder Deposition Apparatus and Powder Deposition Method” in Patent Application Approval Process, Politics & Government Week; June 12, 2014

“A Deposition Is Not a Take Home Examination”: Fixing Federal Rule 30(e) and Policing the Errata Sheet, Northwestern University Law Review; April 1, 2012; Ruehlmann, Gregory A.

Deposition reform; is the cure worse than the problem? (Florida), Florida Bar Journal; July 1, 1997; Dimmig, Howard

Deposition rate monitor is non-intrusive, material-specific. (Inspection, Measurement & Test).(Brief Article), Semiconductor International; August 1, 2002; Braun, Alexander E.

Deposition of Conformal Copper and Nickel Films from Supercritical Carbon Dioxide.(semiconductor research)(Illustration)(Statistical Data Included), Science; October 5, 2001; Blackburn, Jason M. Long, David P. Cabanas, Albertina Watkins, James J.

Patent Issued for Deposition Apparatus and Method for Manufacturing Organic Light Emitting Diode Display Using the Same, Journal of Engineering; May 14, 2014


Deposition: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Deposition. This part provides references, in relation to Deposition, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Deposition by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Deposition and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Deposition or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Deposition and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Deposition. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Deposition should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Deposition when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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