A recent Delaware Supreme Court opinion provides a tutorial on the standards imposed on Delaware lawyers when a deponent, who is the lawyer’s client, engages in inappropriate conduct during a deposition. See Shorenstein Hays-Nederland Theaters LLC Appeals, Nos. 596, 2018 and 620, 2018 (Del. Supr. June 20, 2019). My overview of the decision was the focus of my latest legal ethics column for The Bencher, the publication of the American Inns of Court, which appears in the current issue. (I’m now in my 21st year of writing that ethics column for their national publication.)
This is the first decision from Delaware’s High Court on this issue, as compared to the rather abundant guidance that has existed for many years regarding the consequences when lawyers themselves engage in errant conduct during a deposition. A prior Chancery decision from 2015 involving the parties in this case was highlighted on these pages, and provides additional factual background details about the underlying long-running, internecine imbroglio that the court was ruling on–before it addressed the deposition issues.
Bonus Supplemental Materials:
- Over the last 15 years or so of this blog’s existence, in connection with various legal ethics commentary appearing on these pages, I have highlighted about 10 Delaware decisions that specifically address minimum standards of attorney conduct in the deposition context–and the consequences of not following those rules.
- Also helpful for those interested in this topic are practical seminar materials available on these pages, by permission of the authors, that provide a general overview of the legal ethics standards and related “rules of the road” that apply to proper deposition practice and standards imposed on Delaware counsel as well as those admitted pro hac vice in a particular case.