Depositions in Delaware are subject to rules of practice and procedure that are materially different in form and substance to what I have observed in many other states. Both the Delaware Chancery Court and the Delaware Supreme Court enforce the rules relating to deposition practice and take it very seriously.
In a seminar last week, Delaware lawyers C. Malcolm Cochran, IV and Norman Monhait joined with Vice Chancellor John Noble of the Chancery Court, on a panel that described the highlights of the “Delaware way” of taking and defending depositions.
Here are the materials that they have graciously agreed to share with us. These materials include cases and rules that any lawyer taking depositions in a Delaware proceeding should be familiar with if they want to avoid the wrath of the court and if they do not want their wallet lightened from the costs they might need to pay for not following the proper procedures and practices in this important aspect of Delaware litigation. The panel supplemented the materials linked above with a Chancery Court case that penalized an attorney by making him pay for the opposing side’s attorneys’ fees for a deposition in which the defending attorney improperly interrupted and interfered with the deponent’s answers. The Court emphasized that it “will not tolerate a lawyer supplanting a witness in a deposition”. In Re Fuqua Industries, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, 752 A.2d 126, 135-36 (Del. Ch. 1999).
UPDATE: A 2014 decision by Special Master Boyer in the Mine Safety case is a useful resource for citations to Delaware authority for reference in addressing issues of proper deposition practice in Delaware.