In the Discovery Update this month, we continue to focus on remote depositions, cybersecurity, and technology to help in your firm. Make sure to check back every month for helpful information on new issues.
While we continue to navigate these times, let us know what we can do to help make your job easier.
Dawn of Zoom Deposition: What Lessons Are We Learning
By Matt Keenan and Jon Strongman
When history books are written about the COVID-19 era, they will certainly contain a chapter about how the virus changed the way we communicate—and the way we litigate. Civil discovery and depositions have, by necessity, moved online, and according to one prominent court reporting service, the number of remote depositions grew 400% since March 2020.
Zoom is more than the name of the brand. It’s a metaphor for how quickly this discovery reality has hit us. In the past three weeks, we have completed several remote expert depositions. The lessons learned, we believe, are worth sharing.
Upsides, Downsides, and the Big Picture
Obviously, this mode of discovery is in its infancy. The current platforms feel more like a useful adaptation of available technology to get the job done than a refined tool built and programmed for this specific purpose. There’s no question there will be acquired shortcuts and targeted technological improvements that will facilitate the process. That said, the basic concept seems unlikely to change—separate parties in separate locations speaking on a common subject with the benefit of technology. Our experiences appeared to advance the most important goal—learning opinions and the basis for the same. Questions asked, answers given, the ball moved.
Federal Court Rejects Request for In-Person Deposition in Trade Secret Case
By Thomas Hubert and Jacob Pritt
With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing throughout the United States, lawyers have had to come up with creative solutions to complete discovery, particularly when it comes to taking depositions. Over the past few months and for the foreseeable future, most depositions are taking place, at least in part, using videoconferencing technology. As these depositions have become more widespread, some attorneys have asked courts to require in-person depositions.
A federal court in Chicago recently considered a request for an in-person, rather than remote, expert deposition. In Sonari Systems v. Romano, et al., No. 16-cv-3371 (N.D. Ill. July 13, 2020), an employer sued its former employee and his new company alleging theft of information and breach of fiduciary duty. When it was time to depose the defendant company’s expert, plaintiff’s counsel stated it would conduct the deposition in person. The defendant asked the court for a protective order requiring the deposition to take place remotely due to the pandemic.