The Multi-Jurisdictional Practitioner...Looks at Depositions in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. DC Trial, Volume IX, No. 4 (Fall 2009).

THE MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL PRACTITIONER...

...LOOKS AT DEPOSITIONS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MARYLAND, AND VIRGINIA

This article is intended to serve as a reference tool when taking or defending depositions in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia. Regarding objections at depositions,[1] it can be useful to have citations ready for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, confronting an opposing attorney who is coaching or generally behaving improperly. Regarding errata sheets, it is important to know the law in your jurisdiction before advising a client about whether to make a change to the deposition transcript.

I. OBJECTIONS

a. Federal Rules Generally

FRCP 30(c)(1) states:

  • "Any objection during a deposition must be stated concisely and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner."
  • "A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation ordered by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(3)."

These restrictions apply to both parties and nonparties. See 2000 Notes of Advisory Committee regarding FRCP 30. Regarding whether it is appropriate to confer with a witness in the middle of a deposition:

Compare Hall v. Clifton Precision Inc., 150 F.R.D. 525, 531-52 (E.D. Pa. 1993) (counsel barred from conferring with client during breaks and recesses, except to decide whether to assert privilege; conferences during breaks and recesses are not privileged and may be the subject of inquiry) with Circle Group Internet Inc. v. Atlas, Pearlman, Trop & Borkson, P.A., No. 03 C 9004, 2004 WL 406988, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 2, 2004) (finding no rule prohibiting witness from consulting with counsel before answering questions at deposition) with Okoumou v. Safe Horizon, No. 03 Civ. 1606LAKHBP, 2004 WL 2149118 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 23, 2004) (witness, but not counsel, may initiate witness/counsel conferences during depositions) with McKinley Infuser, Inc. v. Zdeb, 200 F.R.D. 648, 650 (D. Colo. 2001) (witness and counsel may not confer while a question is pending except to discuss applicability of privilege, but otherwise may confer during breaks and recesses). See also Del. Super. Ct. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(d)(1) (counsel and witness may not confer regarding the substance of deposition testimony from the commencement to the conclusion of a deposition except during recesses or continuances greater than five days). At least one scholar has argued that courts should not bar attorneys from conferring with their clients in the middle of depositions, except while a question is pending, because these conferences help protect witnesses against unscrupulous questioning, aid in correcting false or misleading testimony, enable the defending lawyer to determine what clarifying questions to ask at the end of the deposition, and create a chance for attorneys to provide necessary hand-holding. See J. Cary, Rambo Depositions Revisited: Controlling Attorney-Client Consultations During Depositions, 19 Georgetown J. of Legal Ethics 367 (2006). K. Berman, The Litigation Quiz Show: Dealing With Dilemmas, ABA Annual Meeting, ABA Section of Litigation, August 9-12, 2007. See also GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp., 248 F.R.D. 182 (E.D. Pa. 2008)(FRCP 30(d)(2) authorizes sanctions upon any person who impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of a deponent).

b. District of Columbia - Superior Court

Regarding objections, SCR-Civil Rule 30(d)(1) states: "Any objection during a deposition must be stated concisely and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner." Under SCR-Civil 32(d)(3)(B), it is important to preserve certain objections during the deposition as they arise or they will be deemed waived for trial purposes. Such objections include:

  1. The manner of taking the deposition;
  2. The form of the questions or answers;
  3. The oath or affirmation;
  4. The conduct of the parties; or
  5. Any other error which could be obviated, remove or cured if raised in a timely fashion.

M. Mallow, Civil Practice in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (1995); see also, SCR-Civil 32(d)(3)(B).

Regarding instructions not to answer a question, SCR-Civil Rule 30(d)(1) states: "A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation directed by the Court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(4)."[2]

The D.C. Bar Voluntary Standards for Civility in Professional Conduct (Adopted by the D.C. Bar Board of Governors June 18, 1996; Amended March 11, 1997) can also be useful at depositions. For example, Standard 16 reads:

We will not engage in any conduct during a deposition that would not be appropriate if a judge were present. Accordingly, we will not obstruct questioning during a deposition or object to deposition questions, unless permitted by the applicable rules to preserve an objection or privilege and we will ask only those questions we reasonably believe are appropriate in discovery under the applicable rules. Id.

Standard 22 could also pertain to depositions:

During discovery, we will not engage in acrimonious conversations or exchanges with opposing counsel, parties, or witnesses. We will advise our clients to conduct themselves in accordance with these provisions. We will not engage in undignified or discourteous conduct which degrades the legal proceeding. Id.

If opposing counsel is behaving badly, try reading the appropriate Standard into the record and then ask counsel if he or she will adhere to it. Consider how a judge reviewing the transcript of that deposition will react if counsel refuses to do so, or agrees to do so and then behaves contrary to the Standard.

c. District of Columbia - Federal Court

See below for the D.C. Bar Voluntary Standards for Civility in Professional Conduct, all of which are reproduced in Appendix B of the March 2008 Local Rules of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

d. Maryland - Circuit Court

Maryland Rule 2-415 (g) states:

g) Objections...An objection to the competency of a witness or to the competency, relevancy, or materiality of testimony is not waived by failure to make it before or during a deposition unless the ground of the objection is one that might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time.[3] The grounds of an objection need not be stated unless
requested by a party. If the ground of an objection is stated, it shall be stated specifically, concisely, and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner. If a party desires to make an objection for the record during the taking of a deposition that reasonably could have the effect of coaching or suggesting to the deponent how to answer, then the deponent, at the request of any party, shall be excused from the deposition during the making of the objection. (Emphasis added.)

Regarding this rule, the Committee noted:

During the taking of a deposition, it is presumptively improper for an attorney to make objections that are not consistent with Rule 2-415 (g). Objections should be stated as simply, concisely, and non-argumentatively as possible to avoid coaching or making suggestions to the deponent and to minimize interruptions in the questioning of the deponent. Examples include "objection, leading;" "objection, asked and answered;" and "objection, compound question."

Note that under Maryland Rule 2-415 (h), "[w]hen a deponent refuses to answer a question, the proponent of the question shall complete the examination to the extent practicable before filing a motion for an order compelling discovery." Thus, if you encounter a refusal to answer a question and storm out of the deposition, you do so at your peril.

Recently, I asked a defendant at his deposition whether he was aware of any facts that suggest my client was at fault or caused the subject event. After an objection, and a discussion with defense counsel, I got my answer. Although I did not have it handy at the time I asked the question, the following citation could have been useful: "An interrogatory or deposition question otherwise proper is not objectionable merely because the response involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact." Maryland Rule 2-402(a).

Additionally, authority exists in Maryland for the proposition that you can ask a malpractice Defendant standard of care questions. In State v. Branin, 224 Md. 156, 167 A.2d. 117 (1961), the Court of Appeals allowed plaintiffs in a medical malpractice suit to question the defendant doctor in his capacity as a medical expert and regarding his specific role in the case.

Another useful source of guidance for depositions is The Discovery Guidelines of the Maryland State Bar Association. Although not officially part of the Maryland Rules or adopted or approved by the Court of Appeals, the preamble states that the Guidelines may be of significant value "in interpreting and applying Title 2, Chapter 400 of the Maryland Rules and are designed to eliminate unnecessary discovery disputes."[4] The pertinent Guidelines are set forth below:

Guideline 6: Assertions of Privilege at Depositions

Where a claim of privilege is asserted during a deposition and information is not provided on the basis of such assertion:

  1. The attorney asserting the privilege shall identify during the deposition the nature of the privilege (including work product) which is being claimed; and
  2. The following information shall be provided during the deposition at the time the privilege is asserted, if sought, unless divulgence of such information would cause disclosure of the allegedly privileged information:
    1. For oral communications:
      1. the name of the person making the communication and the names of the persons present while the communication was made and, where not apparent, the relationship of the persons present to the person making the communication;
      2. the date and place of the communication; and
      3. the general subject matter of the communication.
    2. For documents, to the extent the information is readily obtainable from the witness being deposed or otherwise:
      1. the type of document, e.g., letter or memorandum;
      2. the general subject matter of the document;
      3. the date of the document; and
      4. such other information as is sufficient to identify the document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the document, and where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other;
    3. Objection on the ground of privilege asserted during a deposition may be amplified by the objector subsequent to the deposition.
  3. After a claim of privilege has been asserted, the attorney seeking disclosure should have reasonable latitude during the deposition to question the witness to establish other relevant information concerning the assertion of privilege, including (i) the applicability of the particular privilege being asserted, (ii) circumstances which may constitute an exception to the assertion of the privilege, (iii) circumstances which may result in the privilege having been waived, and (iv) circumstances which may overcome a claim of qualified privilege.
Guideline 8: Deposition Questioning and Objections
  1. An attorney should not intentionally ask a witness a question that misstates or mischaracterizes the witness' previous answer.
  2. An attorney should not intentionally ask a witness more than one question at a time. To insist upon an answer to a multiple-part question after objection is presumptively improper.
  3. Objections in the presence of the witness which are used to suggest an answer to the witness are presumptively improper.
  4. An attorney should not question a deponent in such a manner as he knows or should know would serve merely to harass or annoy the deponent.
  5. An attorney for a deponent should not initiate a private conference with a deponent during the actual taking of a deposition, except for the purpose of determining whether a privilege should be asserted. To do so, otherwise, is presumptively improper.
  6. It is presumptively improper for an attorney to instruct a client not to answer a question at deposition unless:There is a specific assertion of privilege in accordance with these guidelines,There is abusive conduct in the questioning of which this question is a part with a specific identification of why the instructing attorney believes this to be so, orThe question is completely irrelevant or intended to embarrass the witness.
  7. If the attorney lodging an objection or instructing a witness not to answer believes that his objection or his instruction requires the assertion of facts or an explanation of the formal defect, which would in any way be instructive to the witness, then the witness should be excused while the objection or instruction is made.

Guideline 9: Objections at Depositions

Attorneys objecting to the form of the question at deposition are encouraged, if requested, to state the reason for the objection.

e. Maryland - Federal Court

Several of the applicable Discovery Guidelines of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland are set forth below. They are incorporated into the Court's Local Rules by Local Rule 104.12, entitled "Familiarity with Discovery Guidelines," which states: "Counsel should be familiar with the Discovery Guidelines that are an appendix to these Rules."

Guideline 5: Deposition Questioning, Objections and Procedure

  1. An attorney should not intentionally ask a witness a question that misstates or mischaracterizes the witness's previous answer.
  2. During the taking of a deposition, it is presumptively improper for an attorney to make objections which are not consistent with Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1). Objections should be stated as simply, concisely and non-argumentatively as possible to avoid coaching or making suggestions to the deponent, and to minimize interruptions in the questioning of the deponent (for example: "objection, leading"; "objection, asked and answered"; "objection, compound question"; "objection, form"). If an attorney desires to make an objection for the record during the taking of a deposition that reasonably could have the effect of coaching or suggesting to the deponent how to answer, then the deponent, at the request of any of the attorneys present, or, at the request of a party if unrepresented by an attorney, shall be excused from the deposition during the making of the objection.
  3. An attorney should not repeatedly ask the same or substantially identical question of a deponent if the question already has been asked and fully and responsively answered by the deponent. Upon objection by counsel for the deponent, or by the deponent if unrepresented, it is presumptively improper for an attorney to continue to ask the same or substantially identical question of a witness unless the previous answer was evasive or incomplete.
  4. It is presumptively improper to instruct a witness not to answer a question during the taking of a deposition unless under the circumstances permitted by Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1). However, it is also presumptively improper to ask questions clearly beyond the scope of discovery permitted by Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1), particularly of a personal nature, and continuing to do so after objection shall be evidence that the deposition is being conducted in bad faith or in such a manner as unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the deponent or party, which is prohibited by Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(3).
  5. If requested to supply an explanation as to the basis for an objection, the objecting attorney should do so, consistent with Guideline 5(b) above.
  6. While the interrogation of the deponent is in progress, neither an attorney nor the deponent should initiate a private conversation except for the purpose of determining whether a privilege should be asserted. To do so otherwise is presumptively improper.
  7. During breaks in the taking of a deposition, no one should discuss with the deponent the substance of the prior testimony given by the deponent during the deposition. Counsel for the deponent may discuss with the deponent at such time whether a privilege should be asserted or otherwise engage in discussion not regarding the substance of the witness's prior testimony.
  8. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the following persons may, without advance notice, attend a deposition: individual parties; a representative of non-individual parties; and expert witnesses of parties. Except for the persons identified above, counsel shall notify other parties not later than fivebusiness days before the taking of a deposition if counsel desires to have a non-party present during a deposition. If the parties are unable to agree to the attendance of this person, then the person shall not be entitled to attend the deposition unless the party desiring to have the person attend obtains a Court order permitting him/her to do so. Unless ordered by the Court, however, a dispute regarding who may attend a deposition shall not be grounds for delaying the deposition. All persons present during the taking of a deposition should be identified on the record before the deposition begins.
  9. Except for the person recording the deposition in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b), during the taking of a deposition no one may record the testimony without the consent of the deponent and all parties in attendance, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

Guideline 6: Assertions of Privilege at Depositions

  1. When a claim of privilege is asserted during a deposition, and information is not provided on the basis of such assertion:
    1. In accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5), the person asserting the privilege shall identify during the deposition the nature of the privilege (including work product) that is being claimed.
    2. After a claim of privilege has been asserted, the person seeking disclosure shall have reasonable latitude during the deposition to question the witness to establish other relevant information concerning the assertion of privilege, including: (i) the applicability of the particular privilege being asserted; (ii) any circumstances which may constitute an exception to the assertion of the privilege; (iii) any circumstances which may result in the privilege having been waived; and (iv) any circumstances that may overcome a claim of qualified privilege. In accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5), the party asserting the privilege, in providing the foregoing information, shall not be required to reveal the information which is itself privileged or protected from disclosure.

Guideline 7: Making a Record of Improper Conduct During a Deposition

Upon request of any attorney, party unrepresented by an attorney, or the deponent if unrepresented by an attorney, the person recording the deposition in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b) shall enter on the record a description by the requesting person of conduct of any attorney, party, or person attending the deposition which violates these guidelines, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or the Local Rules of this Court.

In Boyd v. University of Md. Medical Sys., 173 F.R.D. 143, 144 (D. Md. 1997) (abrogated on other grounds), the Court stated "[i]t has been the law in this circuit for 20 years that lawyers may not instruct witnesses not to answer questions during deposition unless to assert a privilege." (citing Ralston Purina Co. v. McFarland, 550 F.2d 967 (4th Cir. 1977)).

f. Virginia - Circuit Court

As in Maryland and the District, counsel should object to preserve a privilege and, where appropriate, to the form of the question. Unlike in Maryland and the District, however, if counsel had the client review documents to prepare for the deposition, it appears that the identity of those documents is protected by the attorney-client privilege. See Mills v. MCC Behavioral Care, Inc., 37 Va. Cir. 225 (Cir. Ct. City of Richmond 1995); Shanholtzer v. Dean, 51 Va. Cir. 493 (Cir. Ct. City of Richmond 2000); McGann v. Com., 15 Va. App. 448, 452-53 (Va. App. 1992). Under Supreme Court Rule 4:1, questions that evoke irrelevant or otherwise inadmissible testimony are not objectionable during a deposition solely because the evidence might be inadmissible at trial. In other words, defending counsel need not object at a deposition merely to preserve those objections for trial.

Examples of questions with objectionable form include those which:

  • Contain an inaccurate summary or quote of prior testimony
  • Assume facts not in evidence or lack foundation
  • Pose hypotheticals with no factual basis
  • Are argumentative
  • Are used to "bully" the witness
  • Call for a narrative answer
  • Are leading
  • Are multi-part, convoluted or compound
  • Are unintelligible[5]

g. Virginia - Federal Court (Eastern District)

Practitioners in the Eastern District would be well-advised to note Local Rule 37(g):

Unnecessary Discovery Motions or Objections: The presentation to the Court of unnecessary discovery motions, the presentation to another party or non-party of unnecessary discovery requests of any kind, as well as any unwarranted opposition to proper discovery proceedings, will subject such party to appropriate remedies and sanctions, including the imposition of costs and counsel fees.

h. Strategies Common to All Jurisdictions

Try to learn your opponent's tendencies. Listservs can be great for this. If he or she has a history of improper behavior at depositions, you will probably find out. If so, consider videotaping the deposition. In my experience, this is the best technique for curbing bad behavior. Another is to threaten a "call to the Court." Again, if you anticipate bad behavior from your opponent, do some research, find out which Judge, if any, will be available to take such calls, and if the behavior continues after you've made your threat, and you are on solid ground, make the call. First, however, make sure the court reporter is prepared to read back the offending passage in the deposition. Whatever you do, don't make an idle threat.

If you are facing improper speaking objections, cut off the offending lawyer and ask the deponent to leave the room before further speeches take place. Once the deponent has left, tell opposing counsel to make whatever record he or she chooses. Remind counsel that you will insist on this procedure each time he or she attempts to make a speaking or suggestive objection. If counsel refuses to comply or instructs the deponent to remain in the room while making speaking objections, read the appropriate rule or guideline into evidence, state for the record that he or she is violating that rule or guideline, and state that if the behavior continues, you will file a motion to exclude the testimony at trial, or for monetary sanctions, or both. If the behavior continues, and you are confident in your position, consider terminating the deposition and filing the motion. In my experience, while most Judges dislike discovery motions, they detest stupid lawyer tricks.

II. LAW REGARDING ERRATA SHEETS

In all of the courts covered in this article, the deponent can elect to "read" his or her transcript or can "waive" that right. Generally, if the deponent elects to "read," she can make substantive changes to the transcript (see below for several notable exceptions). What is not always clear is whether a deponent who makes substantive changes is subject to a further deposition regarding those changes.

a. Federal Courts Generally

FRCP 30(e) empowers deponents to make changes to their deposition transcripts. Under FRCP(e)(1), "[o]n request by the deponent or a party before the deposition is completed, the deponent must be allowed 30 days after being notified by the officer that the transcript or recording is available in which:

  1. (A) to review the transcript or recording; and
  2. (B) if there are changes in form or substance, to sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for making them.

The majority of Federal Courts support a liberal interpretation of FRCP 30(e)(1)(B) and allow substantive changes to depositions. The leading case for this approach is Podell v. Citicorp Diner's Club, Inc., 112 F.3d 98 (2nd Cir. 1997).[6]

Under FRCP 30(e)(2), the officer [court reporter] "must note in the certificate prescribed by Rule 30(f)(1) whether a review was requested and, if so, must attach any changes the deponent makes during the 30-day period."

In De Seversky v. Republic Aviation Corp., 2 F.R.D. 113 (E.D.N.Y. 1941), the Court interpreted the 1937 version of FRCP 30(e) as requiring the court officer (reporter) to make any changes a deponent desired. It then held that when a deponent through an Errata Sheet recants his testimony or directly contradicts his material answers, counsel can re-depose him on those material changes.[7]

b. District of Columbia - Superior Court

SCR-Civil 30 (e) states:

Review by witness; changes; signing. If requested by the deponent or a party before completion of the deposition, the deponent shall have 30 days after being notified by the officer that the transcript or recording is available in which to review the transcript or recording and, if there are changes in form or substance, to sign a statement reciting such changes and the reasons given by the deponent for making them...

Additionally, SCR-Civil 32(d)(4) provides for a motion to suppress all or part of a deposition if it is made with reasonable promptness regarding "errors and irregularities in the manner in which the testimony is transcribed or the deposition is prepared, signed, certified, sealed, endorsed, transmitted, filed, or otherwise dealt with by the officer." The Superior Court Civil Rules do not appear to sanction further depositions of deponents who have made substantive changes to their depositions. It is conceivable that in ruling on a 32(d)(4) motion to suppress, a Judge could allow such a deposition.

c. Maryland - Circuit Court

Rule 2-415 (d) allows for reading and signing within 30 days after submission of the transcript to the deponent. As part of the reading process, the deponent can make changes to the form or substance of his testimony, but must state the reason for each change. Under Rule 2-415 (i), if a correction sheet contains substantive changes, any party may depose the deponent regarding those changes unless the Court enters a Rule 2-403 protective order to the contrary. Under Rule 2-415(j), an objection to the manner in which testimony or the transcript is dealt with by the officer (court reporter) is waived unless a motion to suppress all or part of the deposition is made promptly after the defect is or with due diligence might have been discovered.

d. Maryland -- Federal Court

One Maryland federal case interpreting FRCP 30(e) held that errata sheets may not materially alter or contradict sworn testimony. In Wyeth v. Lupin, Ltd., 252 F.R.D. 295 (D. Md. 2008), Magistrate Judge Gauvey cited Greenway with favor, and held that substantive changes to deposition testimony could not be made because the errata sheet "materially change[d] the answers ... represent[ing] lawyerly fixing of potentially problematic testimony" for the defendant. Id. at 297. It is unclear what effect this opinion will have on other cases in the District of Maryland.[8]

e. Virginia - Circuit Court

Under Supreme Court Rule 4:5 (e) (2009), changes to the deposition can be made to either form or substance, so long asthe deponent elected to read her transcript or an opposing party refused to allow the deponent to waive her right to review the transcript,[9]the changes are made within 21 days of the transcript having been submitted to the deponent (or her lawyer); andthe changes are accompanied by the deponent's reasons for making them. If the deponent properly makes changes to her transcript, she can be cross-examined on her changes and reasons for making them. While no published Virginia opinion has of yet discussed whether counsel may redepose when a deponent later changes her testimony, one group of commentators posits that such changes could trigger another deposition. See Kinsler, et al., Va. Prac. Civil Discovery § 5:19 (2009 ed.) (arguing that the idea of redeposition is "less of a problem than the preservation of incorrect and dangerous testimony")..

f. Virginia - Federal District Courts

Note: at least one Virginia Federal District Judge has adopted the minority view that F.R.C.P. 30 (e) cannot be interpreted to allow a deponent to alter what she said under oath. See Lewis v. Va. Baptist Homes, 1997 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2562, 1997 WL 102524, (W.D. Va. 1997). However, the Western District has not consistently followed the minority rule. See Foutz v. Town of Vinton, 211 F.R.D. 293, 295 (W.D. Va. 2002)(holding "the Court believes that the better reasoned decisions interpret FRCP 30(e) broadly as to allow proposed deposition changes to be admitted into evidence"). With no controlling Fourth Circuit precedent and a contrary sister-state holding,[10] it is not clear whether a Virginia Federal Court would allow substantive changes to be made to deposition testimony.

Copyright (c) 2009, Eric N. Stravitz.


[1] For the most part, this article does not address objections to deposition notices or court officers (reporters).

[2] "At any time during a deposition, on motion of a party or of the deponent and upon a showing that the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in such manner as unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the deponent or party, this Court or the court in the district where the deposition is being taken may order the officer conducting the examination to cease forthwith from taking the deposition, or may limit the scope and manner of the taking of the deposition as provided in Rule 26(c). If the order made terminates the examination, it may be resumed thereafter only upon the order of this Court. Upon demand of the objecting party or deponent, the taking of the deposition must be suspended for the time necessary to make a motion for an order. The provisions of Rule 37(a)(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion." SCR-Civil 30(d)(4).

[3] For example, a failure to object to the admission of photograph at a deposition did not constitute a waiver of the objection since the ground of the objection could not have been removed. Nocar v. Greenberg, 210 Md. 506, 124 A.2d 757 (1956). A second example comes from Davis v. Goodman, 117 Md. App. 378, 700 A.2d 798, (1997). In Davis, Plaintiff's counsel had objected at a de bene esse deposition to defense counsel's questions of an expert witness because the questions were not phrased using reasonable degree of certainty (or probability) language. In so doing, defense counsel merely stated "objection." Noting that other courts have called this an "objection to form," (Id. at 397, 807) the Court found that these objections were waived because they were not made with specificity. The Court reasoned that the drafters of the Maryland Rules did not want litigants to be prejudiced by easily curable errors. Id. at 400, 808.

[4] An earlier version of the Discovery Guidelines was approved by the Conference of Circuit Court Judges.

[5] The substance of this list comes from an article entitled "Proper Objections in Depositions, Dealing with Improper Objections, Dealing with 'Speaking Objections.'" by Virginia lawyer Paul D. Merullo.

[6] The leading case often cited for the minority position, that errata sheets may not be used to contradict sworn deposition testimony is Greenway v. International Paper Co., 144 F.R.D. 322 (W.D. La. 1992). A few Circuits similarly narrowed the application of FCRP 30(e) to permit only typographical changes. See Hambleton Bros. Lumber Co. v. Balkin Enterprises, Inc., 397 F.3d 1217, 1223 (9th Cir. 2005); Thorn v. Sundstrand Aerospace Corp., 207 F.3d 383, 389 (7th Cir. 2000) ("a change of substance which actually contradicts the transcript is impermissible unless it can plausibly be represented as the correction of an error in transcription, such as dropping a 'not.'"); Burns v. Board of Cty. Comm'rs of Jackson Cty., 330 F. 3d 1275, 1282 (10th Cir. 2003). This appears to be a minority view and has not been followed by the 4th Circuit or D.C. Circuit.

[7] Cited by Erstad v. Curtis Bay Towing Co., 28 F.R.D. 583, (D. Md. 1961). See also Holland v. Cedar Creek Mining, Inc., 198 F.R.D. 651 (S.D.W.Va. 2001), in which the Court disallowed changes to a deposition transcript because the deponent did not provide any reasons for the changes, but stated "Of course, by making substantive changes, a deponent exposes himself to the potential reopening of his deposition and cross-examination concerning the changes in his testimony." Id. at 653 (citations omitted).

[8] See Footnote 6 above as this opinion follows the minority position.

[9] Rule 4:5(e) states that "[w]hen the testimony is fully transcribed, the deposition shall be submitted to the witness for examination and shall be read to or by him, unless such examination and reading are waived by the witness and by the parties."

[10] See Wyeth, 252 F.R.D. at 297.