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Cracking Down on Deposition Misconduct: Sanctions for Attorney and Witness Improprieties

Bringing and Defending Motions for Sanctions, Avoiding Misconduct, Creative Judicial Remedies

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, January 4, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide trial lawyers through the dangerous area of deposition misconduct and creative judicial remedies. Whether dealing with an evasive witness or an obstreperous lawyer, courts are not shying away from issuing costly sanctions orders. Deposing counsel must know what tools are available to keep defending counsel and the witness in line. Defending counsel is placed between the Scylla and Charybdis of not coaching the witness and failing to control a witness.


Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a) and (b) (and their state law equivalents), if a party fails to answer a deposition question, or provides an evasive or incomplete answer, that party can be ordered to answer and sanctioned for not doing so. This exposure to sanctions has been extended to attorneys as well. Thus, trial counsel must take steps to ensure such testimonial issues do not arise.

Courts have focused on three items in awarding sanctions: the conduct of the witness in answering (or not answering) the questions; the making of needless and "coaching" objections by counsel; and conversations between counsel and client held during breaks regarding testimony. Questioning counsel should know how to make a record of these actions to successfully bring them to the court's attention.

On the other hand, sometimes what seem to be evasive answers and needless objections are brought about by the actions of the questioning attorney. Defending counsel should also know how and what record to make in such instances, and how to best oppose sanctions motions.

Listen as this panel of seasoned trial attorneys reviews the rules governing deposition conduct for counsel and client alike. Learn appropriate steps for seeking and defending against monetary sanctions. Perhaps most importantly, come away from the webinar with the knowledge of how to avoid and prevent sanctionable behavior in the first place.



  1. Sanctionable conduct during a deposition
    1. Witness answer issues
    2. Counsel objection issues
  2. Making a record during the deposition
    1. What is (and is not) proper colloquy
    2. Memorializing compromise suggestions
    3. Video as behavior control
  3. Discovery motion practice
    1. Order to compel
    2. Sanctions orders
    3. Limitations on sanctions to compensation
    4. Applicability of sanctions to counsel
  4. Witness preparation to avoid problems in depositions


This panel will review these and other relevant matters:

  • General principles concerning deposition conduct
  • Improper activity during a deposition
  • Making a record during the deposition
  • Motion practice
  • Witness preparation to avoid sanctionable conduct


Cochran, Anthony
Anthony L. Cochran

Smith Gambrell & Russell

Mr. Cochran represents individuals and businesses in a wide variety of matters. He has tried jury trials, bench trials,...  |  Read More

Gordon, Michael
Michael R. Gordon

Founder and Managing Partner

Mr. Gordon has been representing businesses and individuals in all aspects of dispute avoidance and resolution since...  |  Read More

Witte, Monica
Monica P. Witte

Smith, Gambrell & Russell

Ms. Witte is a litigation Partner at Smith Gambrell whose practice focuses on complex commercial litigation. Prior to...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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