In this order dealing with venue discovery, Judge Gilliland denied defendant’s request to inquire into the plaintiff’s litigation or company funding, and noted that the defendant must “tether its questions in [a] reasonable way to venue” and avoid repeatedly asking questions outside the scope of venue discovery. If it fails to do so, Judge Gilliland instructed the parties that plaintiff may either instruct the witness not to answer, or contact the court.
The EDTX hotline rule that has been in place since 1991 has been a tremendous aid in keeping conduct during depositions in bounds. I recently had a case in another district where the inability to get a judicial officer on the phone meant that that a party could interpose repeated speaking objections and improperly instruct the witness not to answer – for hours. In the EDTX there’s an easy way to stop this sort of conduct, which means that parties know not to engage in it. The express direction in this order to contact the court if there is a disagreement as to the scope of proper questioning will save everyone – the parties and the court – time and effort getting to the bottom line of what will be allowed and what will not.
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