Wait. You mean a dining room isn’t an appropriate place for depos?
Lawyers often have a difficult time maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In fact, even we strongly embrance the idea of working from home or obtaining a flexible legal job, as noted in this post. But this might be taking the idea a bit too far.
Counsel for the defense in this case pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania filed a motion for a protective order to force plaintiffs’ counsel William T. Coleman to finally stop holding depositions in his dining room. The memorandum filed by the Court further elaborates:
Two depositions noticed by plaintiffs have already been taken in plaintiffs’ counsel’s dining room. According to defense counsel, the attendant conditions were totally unsatisfactory. The dining room was open to the kitchen and living room. During the two completed depositions it was possible to hear family members in the house when they were speaking on the telephone or to each other. When the sounds became particularly loud, plaintiffs’ counsel, at the request of defense counsel or the court reporter, had to intervene to restore quiet. The ringing of the telephone with incoming calls and announcements occurred. Family members passed through the dining room and at times interrupted plaintiffs’ counsel about evening plans or to ask the court reporter and defense counsel to move their cars. The movement of people in the adjoining kitchen was visible, and noises and smells emanated from the cooking that was taking place. A dog wandered throughout the house and came and went through a dog door behind the chair where the witnesses sat. Not surprisingly, the examination of witnesses came to a halt on a number of occasions as a result of all this extraneous activity.
Counsel claimed he needed to take depositions at his house in order to access his case files. He also said people like his dog. But the Court was not convinced by these excuses:
Depositions, absent compelling reasons such as the illness or incapacity of a witness, should be taken in a professional setting devoid of domestic or other distractions. While plaintiffs’ counsel’s dining room is undoubtedly and rightly a place of commensal conviviality and canine companionship, it is not an acceptable forum for lawyers to examine and defend witnesses under oath. There will be no more dining-room depositions.
You can read the full order below.