September 10, 2019 Articles

Pretrial Discovery: Defending Against an Errata Sheet

Understanding this important but often overlooked part of the deposition process is vital for new litigators

By James D. Abrams and Devin M. Spencer

Depositions are invaluable to the discovery process, both to uncover the facts and arguments to be used at trial and to preserve the testimony of relevant individuals before it is forgotten or skewed. Many new litigators may think that a witness’s testimony is forever set in stone once the deposition ends. But how final is that testimony really? The answer in federal court is that the battle over the official record does not end with the deposition. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(e) permits a deponent to make changes to his or her prior sworn testimony through a written statement called an errata sheet. Errata sheets often create post-deposition confusion for new litigators, as federal courts take vastly different approaches to Rule 30(e) and the scope of changes permitted by an errata sheet.

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