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We should then remind the plaintiff of the following instruction from our predeposition preparation session: “If you don’t understand the question, don’t answer it. Tell the defense attorney you don’t understand the question.” The small business lawyers are those who specialize in to solve the issues that you face in business or company legal matters.

Which held that a deponent “need not answer questions that serve no proper purpose or are irrelevant.” The decision in IES Corporation is based on two prior California Supreme Court decisions, a prior Court of Appeal decision, and former Code of Civil Procedure sections 2065 and 2066, which provided, respectively, that “a witness must answer questions legal and pertinent to the matter at issue” and has a right “to be protected from irrelevant, improper, or insulting questions, … [and] to be examined only as to matters legal and pertinent to the issue.”

These code sections were deleted in 1967 by enactment of the Evidence Code which incorporated their provisions in more general form into Evidence Code section 765 which directs the trial judge to “exercise reasonable control over the mode of interrogation of a witness so as to make interrogation as rapid, as distinct, and as effective for the ascertainment of the truth, as may be, and to protect the witness from undue harassment or embarrassment.”

The Stewart court cites no case authority to support this portion of its opinion and makes no mention of IES Corporation. Instead it claims that, because former Code of Civil Procedure section 2025(m)(l), since renumbered as section 2025.460(a), states that a specific

information must be timely made during a deposition, this “sanctions use of an objection with an instruction not to answer in order to protect privileged information.” (87 Cal.App.4th at 1015.) But this code section makes no mention of instructions not to answer.

The Stewart court then contrasts the above code section with the former Code of Civil Procedure section 2025(m)(2), renumbered as section 2025.460(c),which states that objections to the relevancy or materiality of testimony are “unnecessary” in deposition. But the purpose of this code section is to keep depositions from being burdened with objections to the admissibility of evidence at trial. It does not bar the deponent’s counsel from instructing a client to refuse to answer.

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WINNING MATTERS a question properly objectionable on grounds it is “irrelevant” and “not reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence.”

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