Another Discovery Tip

There’s an old saying that you should never put anything in writing that you don’t want to see as an exhibit someday. There is a lot of wisdom in this.

Yesterday I was taking a deposition in a collateral dispute related to a car accident injury case. I was cross-examining a witness about a strongly worded letter he sent to one of the people involved. The witness was not happy to be asked about every intemperate thing he wrote in the letter, and whether he had any factual basis to write those things. Maybe it will not ultimately affect the litigation, but it sure made him look bad.

Write this down: don’t write correspondence when you are mad! Now, you will most likely do this anyway, but do it in a way that doesn’t cause harm or embarrassment. If you write angry, don’t mail angry.

Let it sit for a day and then reread it. Or show it to a colleague to see if you should tone it down. Angry missives seldom contribute to a real resolution of anything and can be embarrassing when you have to explain them in a deposition or respond to them as exhibits to a motion.

Be especially aware of email. People tend to write emails very conversationally. Don’t email something you don’t want to see again.