Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

"Answer" Includes Nonverbal Responses

Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

"Answer" Includes Nonverbal Responses

Article excerpt

The word "answer," as used in reference to depositions, includes nonverbal responses, such as a request to draw a diagram, as well as verbal responses, the California Supreme Court held.

In a product liability case, the plaintiff, who alleged he was injured while using a radial arm saw, sued the manufacturer in strict liability, breach of warranty, and negligence. During a videotaped deposition, the plaintiff was asked to diagram the location of the saw and his position at the time of the injury. He declined to do so, basing his refusal on Section 2025 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, which permits depositions to be recorded by videotape as well as stenographically, and which provides that if a deponent "fails to answer any question," the court may order that an answer be given.

"Answer," the plaintiff contended, meant a verbal answer. The trial court reluctantly agreed, bound by a California intermediate appellate court decision in Stermer v. Superior Court (Kolcraft Enterprises Inc.), 24 Cal.Rptr.2d 577 (Cal.App. 1993), in which the court declined to enforce a request that a plaintiff re-enact how an infant was placed in a car seat. …

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