New Tennessee Legislation of Interest to Tort Lawyers – Post 16

Post 16 of this series addresses a change in the law applicable to taking of depositions.  The bill summary set forth below describes the original bill as amended.  The new law


prohibit[s] the taking of a deposition before a person who is:

(1) A party to the action or an attorney for one of the parties;
(2) A relative, including a spouse, of one of the parties or of an attorney for one of the parties;
(3) An employee of one of the parties or of an attorney for one of the parties;
(4) Someone who has, or has had during the past two years, a sexual relationship with one of the parties or with an attorney for one of the parties; or
(5) Someone with a financial interest in the action or its outcome.

This amendment authorizes a deposition to be taken before a person described in (1) through (5) if all of the parties enter into a written stipulation pursuant to Rule 29 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. 

This amendment requires any person before whom a deposition is to be taken to disclose to the parties in a timely fashion the existence of any facts known to such person which are relevant to the factors set forth in (1) through (5). It will be a Class C misdemeanor for any person to take a deposition and knowingly fail or refuse to disclose any facts required by (1) through (5).

This amendment specifies that any lawyer or lawyer’s agent may operate video equipment in the case of a videotaped deposition.

A deposition taken by a person described in (1) through (5) will be voidable at the election of any party unless the parties have stipulated otherwise, an appropriate court order prohibits such election, or the party attempting to void the deposition violated the provisions of this amendment directly or through a related person described (1) through (5). An election to void a deposition pursuant to this amendment must be made within 30 days of discovery of the violation.

This amendment prohibits any person who is forbidden to take a deposition in an action pursuant to the provisions of this amendment from recording or transcribing for submission to any court or administrative tribunal any hearing before any court or administrative agency concerning such action.

Here is the complete text of Public Acts, 2009 Public Chapter 427.   See the Legislation 2009 Category for more changes to Tennessee statutory law of interest to tort lawyers.