June 11, 2012 Articles

Perjury During Depositions and Its Consequences

By Jessalyn H. Zeigler and Allyn Rubright Gibson

Despite the vital importance of ensuring the collection of truthful testimony, a review of the federal and state rules of civil procedure shows a general failure to provide directly for sanctions when a party commits perjury during a deposition. The rule that comes closest to addressing deposition perjury is Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b) and its equivalent in the rules of many states. Rule 37(b) provides that if a deponent or party fails to obey an order to provide or permit discovery, the court in which the action is pending may make such orders as are just, including dismissing the action in whole or in part. This rule does not provide expressly for sanctions for discovery abuses absent violation of a court order regarding discovery. How can perjury in a deposition then be addressed? The following discussion considers two options for seeking a remedy under current law.

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