How long is too long when it comes to depositions? The answer depends on where the case is being heard and which side you’re on.
While federal courts limit depositions to seven hours, most states have no limits on the books. Only a few have enacted restrictions, ranging from three hours in Illinois to 20 in New Hampshire.
A 2015 paper authored by two defense lawyers, “The Discovery Deposition Conundrum,” breaks down which states have limits and which don’t. “At every plaintiff deposition,” it notes, “there is a natural tension created by the right of defendants to understand thoroughly the nature and factual support for the claims against them as well as facts that support their defenses and concern about the health of an ill and often elderly plaintiff.”
In asbestos cases, depositions take on added importance due to the often-frail health of plaintiffs suffering from diseases such as mesothelioma.
Even in states with limits, there’s variation in how the rules are enforced.