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Judge DeGuilio: Reading Depositions

A video deposition is better for the jury than a deposition read aloud in the courtroom, but an agreed summary of the deposition is far better. The Court urges the parties to agree on a summary of any deposition that would require more than thirty minutes to read to or play for the jury. At the very least, the Court expects counsel to edit video depositions to eliminate dead time (such as a physician looking through medical records for a minute or two to find the report of the plaintiff's next office visit) or repetitive material.

If a deposition is played or read at trial, the Court presumes the parties' agreement that the court reporter need not report it. The party presenting the deposition should provide the courtroom deputy clerk with a transcript for the record and, if only portions of the deposition were used, with a list of the portions presented to the jury.

In bench trials, the Court strongly prefers to read the depositions (or specified parts) himself rather than to have others read them to him.