What follows is my article just published in the March 2016 edition of the Tennessee Bar Journal discussing the many ways to use depositions at trial.
Best Practices for Using Depositions at Trial
The law favors the presentation of live witness testimony at trial. Just because a party takes a deposition does not mean it can be used at trial, and even if it can be used it may be only for limited purposes, or under certain circumstances. The purpose of this article is to discuss the many ways that depositions can be used in the trial of a civil case, including uses for proof, impeachment, to refresh recollection, with unavailable witnesses, experts, adverse parties, for completeness and offers of proof. The Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP) and Tennessee Rules of Evidence (TRE) govern the circumstances and purposes for which depositions can be used. Although our focus is on the use of depositions in civil trials, many of the same general principles can apply to criminal cases, to the limited extent depositions are used at trial, and to administrative proceedings, arbitrations and other forms of ADR if the use of depositions is governed or guided by the rules of evidence and procedure.
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