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Interesting Experts and Videotape

For a couple of decades, Massachusetts personal injury lawyers have had the benefit of taking expert witness depositions by audio-visual means. These videos are then shown to the jury and the scheduling nightmares that are often involved in having experts testify in court are no longer a problem. This key component of the plaintiff’s case is taken care of weeks or months before the trial. Still, it is worth keeping in mind that there are differences between a video and live testimony.

It is generally felt that audio-visual depositions can become quickly boring when they are shown to the jury. That is why the use of demonstrative aides should be employed. Check with the videographer before the deposition to see how well the aides will appear on camera. Further, to avoid having the jury looking away from the monitor, it is often thought beneficial to have two monitors, each situated at one end of the jury box. Finally, because of the aforementioned potential for boredom, it is conventionally thought that in most instances the direct examination should run about thirty minutes. It boggled my mind that O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” actually showed their jury a sixteen hour taped deposition in his 1995 trial.

Objections have to be handled by the judge prior to the trial so that the tape can be edited appropriately. Interestingly, I have found that most defense lawyers are not inclined to object on a video. Of course, if the question is properly phrased, one needn’t worry about any objections.

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