Premises Liability Defendant Deposition Checklist – Sample
Here is a sample — just a part — of the sort of questions in the complete Premises Liability Deposition Basic Checklist for deposing Defendant. (Remember, we have a form also for deposing the plaintiff.)
FORESEEABLE HAZARD AND EXISTENCE OF DUTY
Note: Regarding this section involving the Defendant Company/Deponent’s foresee ability of the condition or use of premises. Ask these questions in terms of “The Company” [using the short form of the company name that you want to use at trial]”. And then after securing admission that “The Company” knew, or could foresee or could expect something, ask the same question over, but substituting “You”, so that the record shows both personal admission of knowledge and also knowledge by the company. Or do it the other way round, asking first about “You” and then about “The company”.
Are people normally expected to be on premises?
– customers or clients; repair persons; handicapped persons; elderly; children.
– can it be expected that some persons may be distracted,
– or confident of their safely when on the premises?
Was there a Foreseeable Hazard from … [ask the questions in the form of “You can foresee that someone would get hurt if the light was not good enough for the person to see water on the floor?” Make the questions specific to the items involved.
– Distractions in building design- displays by owner –
– Distractions because of activities by defendant or others on the premises
– Maintenance of premises
– Wear and tear
– Condition of premises
– Premises design (e.g., there is a staircase but no railing to hold onto.)
Were there inspections of the premises that showed the hazard could exist? [e.g., lights would burn out in the hallway so the hallway light would be dim.]
If answer to above is “no”, then ask: Why did your company not want to make inspections that would show dangerous conditions?
If answer is “yes”, then follow up by repeating if necessary, the questions from the “Inspections” section of this checklist.
Did [you] [The company] know that the [actual hazard] existed? [e.g., lights in the hallway were burned out on the day of the injury?]
Did [you] [The company] know that the hazard could exist? [e.g., lights could burn our in the hallway]
If deponent does not admit actual knowledge of the foreseeable hazard, then ask if [The Company] [You] should have known of the hazard. [e.g., You know that lights in the hall way do burn our during time, don’t you?”
– Did Defendant Company/ Deponent ever do or see a hazard evaluation study
or a safety evaluation study regarding the premises or activity/condition involved?
– Do you agree that Defendant Company/ Deponent has duty to protect the plaintiff from injury?