Tom Williamson on Expert Discovery in Virginia

Posted on November 27, 2017 | Filed under: Lawyer News

Tom Williamson was on the faculty of the Civil Discovery in Virginia seminar  presented in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 7, 2017.   Tom  presented on the topic  of the discovery of experts.   Tom authored the “Discovery of Experts” chapter of the popular Virginia Lawyers Practice Handbook, Civil Discovery in Virginia (2017 ed.).  A copy of Tom’s latest update  Discovery of Experts in Virginia is available to be viewed and downloaded .

Tom Williamson Named in 2018 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on August 15, 2017 | Filed under: Lawyer News

Best Lawyers® has announced that Tom Williamson has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Tom is designated as one of the Best Lawyers in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs. Tom has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® for the last 28 years.

Tom Williamson has updated Deadman’s Statute: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Posted on April 26, 2017 | Filed under: Lawyer News

Tom has again updated his research and analysis of the Virginia Deadman’s Statute!  The admission of evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit is subject to Virginia’s “Deadman’s Statute.” Understanding this statute is critical to determining how and what evidence will be presented at a trial where one of the parties to the incident giving rise to the litigation is deceased. In 2004, Tom Williamson authored a widely acclaimed article about this important statute.  Click to view and download the third edition of The Deadman’s Statute: Opportunities and Pitfalls.

Tom Williamson Named in 2017 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on August 19, 2016 | Filed under: Blog

Best Lawyers® has announced that Tom Williamson has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  Tom is designated as one of the Best Lawyers  in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs. Tom has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® for the last 27 years.

Preserving Deposition Objections

Posted on November 1, 2015 | Filed under: Discovery

In a recent case now concluded, I revisited the law governing deposition objections.   My review reminded me about the risk of waiver created by undue passivity in a deposition.

In every deposition taken lurks the possibility that it will be offered into evidence at trial.  Depositions of parties, treating physicians and other persons identified in Va. Sup. Ct. R. 4:7 may be introduced into evidence at trial. Witnesses can move and die between deposition and trial.   For this reason, vigilance is demanded during a deposition to ensure that appropriate objections are made and preserved.  Otherwise, a waiver may defeat a party’s trial objection to admission of deposition testimony.

Examination and cross-examination of deposition witnesses may proceed as permitted at trial. Va. Sup. Ct. R. 4:5 (c).  “Objections to the competency, relevancy or materiality of testimony are not waived by failure to make them before or during the taking of the deposition, unless the ground of the objection is one which might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time.”  Va. Sup. Ct. R. 4:7 (3) (C).  If the objection is to the form of a question and might have been cured (eg., leading question, lack of foundation), a contemporaneous objection must be stated with reasonable certainty in accordance with Virginia Rule of Evidence 2:103 (a) (1).

Errors occurring during the deposition in the form of questions or answers and errors of any kind which might be obviated, removed if promptly presented, are waived unless seasonable objection thereto is made at the deposition.  Va. Sup. Ct. R. 4:7 (3) (B).   According to the Supreme Court, “during a deposition, when an error in the form of a question by counsel or of an answer given by a witness can be cured by a timely objection, the objection must be stated timely or will be deemed waived.”  Graham v. Cook, 278 Va. 233, 246, 682 S.E.2d 535, 542 (2009).

In addition to being timely, objections must be specific.  One of the reasons for requiring a specific contemporaneous objection is to afford the opposing party to meet the objection.   Graham, 278 Va. at 248, 682 S.E.2d at 543; Wright v. Norfolk & W. Ry. Co., 245 Va. 160, 168, 427 S.E.2d 724 (1993).  Simply saying “Objection, foundation” or “Objection, form” is insufficient.  See Arnold v. Wallace, 283 Va. 709, 714, 725 S.E.2d 539, 542 (2012); Jones v. Ford Motor Co., 263 Va. 237, 259, 559 S.E.2d 592, 603-04 (2002).  Accordingly, in instances in which  counsel merely states “Objection, form” or “Objection, no foundation” to a question during the deposition, the objection lacks the required specificity to support a subsequent motion to exclude from trial evidence the deposition testimony at issue.

The complaints voiced about “improper hypothetical” and “speculative”  without  any specifics about the alleged foundational flaws will not preserve an objection for the consideration of the trial court.  “General objections to questions of this character are of little aid to the trial court. If matters are stated which ought to be excluded, or if matters are excluded which ought to be stated, the objection should be so framed as to show just what the trouble is.”  Flannagan v. Nw. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 152 Va. 38, 70, 146 S.E. 353, 362 (1929).

If there be any material fact or testimony omitted in a hypothetical question posed to the deponent, it is the duty of opposing counsel to clearly indicate such defects, to enable such omissions in the question to be remedied, so as to enable the deponent  to answer the question after being fully and definitely informed of all such material facts.  See Bowen’s Ex’r v. Bowen, 122 Va. 1, 5, 94 S.E. 166, 167 (1917).

Courts have campaigned with good reason against the vice of “speaking objections” which improperly coach witnesses and thwart the orderly and efficient course of a deposition. Any objection must therefore be stated concisely in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner.  Va. Sup. R. 4:5 (c).  Between no objection and speaking objections space exists for lawyers to make an objection pointing out with specificity the flawed nature of a question.  Failing to so state specific objections curable at the time of the deposition waives any right to object at trial when the deposition is offered into evidence.

2015 Update of Tom’s Expert Discovery in Virginia

Posted on November 1, 2015 | Filed under: Blog

Tom served as a panelist on  State and Federal Civil Practice – “Expert Witnesses: Considerations in Federal & State Court” at the October 22, 2015 annual Richmond Bench Bar Conference.  Tom updated his book chapter on Expert Discovery in Virginia copyright © 2013, Virginia Law Foundation, all rights reserved, for the Conference.  You may view and download this latest edition of Tom’s Expert Discovery in Virginia.

Tom Williamson Named in 2016 Best Lawyers in America

Posted on August 21, 2015 | Filed under: About our Lawyers

Best Lawyers® has announced that Tom Williamson has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for his work in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs. Tom has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® for the last 26 years.

Super Lawyers 2015 Selects Tom Williamson

Posted on May 15, 2015 | Filed under: Lawyer News

Super Lawyers Magazine listed Tom Williamson in its 2015 Annual List Top Attorneys In Virginia & West Virginia Personal Injury Medical Malpractice Plaintiff.

Tom Williamson Presents At “Trial Start To Finish”

Posted on September 16, 2014 | Filed under: About our Lawyers

Tom Williamson will be conducting a demonstration on how to cross examine physicians who have performed defense medical examinations on September 23, 2014 at the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Seminar Trial Start To Finish.   The Seminar will feature some of Virginia’s most skilled and effective advocates doing what they do best, from voir dire to closing argument.   In addition to the demonstration, Tom and his fellow presenters will share with the audience the insights into their strategies and field questions.   The Seminar will be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Richmond.

Tom Williamson Named in 2015 Best Lawyers In America

Posted on August 23, 2014 | Filed under: Lawyer News

Best Lawyers® has announced that Tom Williamson has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 21st Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for his work in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs. Tom has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® for the last 25 years.