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O’Brien & Levine Blog: On the Record

Remote Depositions: Swear-in Witness from a Distance, per SJC

In response to remote work procedures now established throughout the legal community, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued an order on March 20, 2020 permitting oaths at depositions to be administered over videoconference.

This waives the requirement for a court reporter to swear-in and record testimony in the presence of the deponent. The order also includes other means of remote audio-visual communication.

The SJC’s action allays public health concerns regarding COVID-19, and is hugely reassuring. Rather than postpone scheduled or planned depositions, legal teams can connect through videoconference from their respective locations to take testimony. Discovery, and your case, stay on track.

The order would not have happened without the concerted efforts of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association. Its board and membership anticipated the shift to come, and collectively reached out to agencies and departments statewide to obtain the waiver in days. O’Brien & Levine has supported MCRA for decades, with good reason.

We will continue to coordinate with your team to take care of all the logistics—including set-up, confirmation and testing—to keep your case moving. Did you know you can even distribute and view exhibits electronically? No need to print and ship stacks of paper copies. Our team will show you the process. Litigator Katherine Kayatta with Pierce Atwood in Portland, Maine, has these pointers for videoconference depositions in her Lawyers Weekly commentary.

Questions about next steps? Contact us for answers.

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