Learning Module: Deposition of Witness

Student Assignment

  1. Students portraying experts during the mock trial are to research the background and expertise of their particular character, and become familiar with the standard skills associated with that character's profession. This will require students to prepare geologic cross-sections, develop explanations of models for the fate and transport contaminants through the subsurface or other exercises needed to support their characters position. If the mock trial is to include medical experts, and issues related to cause and effect of contaminants and cancers as well as environmental conditions that make the cause-and-effect relationships susceptible to cancer development need to be created for the testimony.
  2. When a student portraying an expert has developed an opinion, the basis of their opinion is presented formally to the court as an affidavit. So as part of the pre-deposition effort, experts need to prepare a written affidavit presenting the statement of basis (which is based on the stipulated facts in evidence) on which their opinion rests.
  3. Several weeks prior to the trial student attorneys should request copies of the experts affidavit, and if necessary, schedule a deposition to query the expert on their opinion in the basis of their source of facts. Those being deposed need to be familiar with the basis of their opinion so that they do not contradict themselves during the deposition, because it is the attorney's goal to elicit contradictory statements during deposition that can discredit the expert in the court.

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