Episode #74: Emotional Witnesses at Deposition

Guest: Matt LaBeau, Attorney - Collins Einhorn Farrell

Attorney Matt LaBeau with Collins Einhorn Farrell joins Dr. Steve Wood to discuss preparing emotional witnesses for deposition. Matt talks about the different types of emotions that witnesses might be struggling with (sadness, anger, nervousness) and how important it is to identify in advance if your witness may be an emotional one so that the attorney and consultant can offer the proper level of preparation and training. Matt shares some examples of emotional witnesses he has worked with where things went well, as well as the story of a challenging witness whose testimony ended up sinking the case. Steve and Matt give examples of depositions where the emotional witness gets themselves into situations where the attorney can't do much to help and how that can be avoided with advance preparation and training. They also touch on Reptile and the impact of Reptile plaintiff tricks, plus difficult witnesses who won't meet with the attorneys and how to find ways to work with those types of witnesses. Matt shares the approach he uses when identifying an emotional witness including determining what their emotions are, how he meets and talks to them to make a connection, how he takes time to explain the process and help them understand how to deal with opposing counsel, etc. Lastly, Matt and Dr. Wood discuss the challenges of Zoom depositions and managing the witness's needs in a virtual setting and the impact of cases related to Covid deaths and the challenge of witnesses for those types of cases.