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Business group seeks change in way lawsuits are handled
But he thinks allowing use of depositions to support a summary judgment runs the risk of unfairly tilting the system against defendants. He also thinks it will result in lawyers "litigating trials in a deposition, with no judge present."
"This is designed to really put a damper on personal injury suits, make it much harder for someone to sue for personal injury claim," Stuart added. "The insurance companies would love to have that because it would limit the awards they have to pay out."
Stuart said use of depositions for testimony eliminates the ability of a judge or jury to read a witness' body language.
"Judges and juries test the credibility of a witness when they see the person testify in a courtroom you lose all that in a deposition," Stuart said. "The judge can't see the person testify and read the body language and get what he gets out of that as well."
Stuart said he hasn't read legislation proposed to allow the use of depositions to support summary judgment --one bill has been filed already--and isn't set against the bill. He simply has concerns about its ramifications, he said.
"It's got to be done in such a way that it's fair, and you're not barring people from getting the redress from their claim," Stuart said. "You don't want to foreclose the judicial process to people, and this may do that depending on how it's trained."
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028