, Derry, New Hampshire


June 5, 2014

About the Law: A lawyer's a good bet in court

I had my deposition taken in my case and the opposing lawyer asked me over and over for names of all of my witnesses. I would not identify all of the witnesses and he said if I don’t, they will not be allowed to testify. Is that right? I do not want to give that information now.

Your question does not indicate which court you are in and court rules do vary from court to court. However, nearly universally, in civil lawsuits, disclosure of witness names and addresses is required in the “discovery” phase of the lawsuit.

Assuming by the question that you’re not represented, going to a deposition without your own lawyer subjected you to several perils. For example, most people think all questions have to be “relevant.” However, the actual standard is much broader.

Usually witness names and addresses are requested and given in interrogatories. These are formal questions and answers exchanged by the parties under court rules. Then, at some point, witness names and addresses must be given in a pretrial memorandum. Failure to disclose such information at that time can lead to exclusion of witnesses or evidence at trial.

After my grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my cousins got him to sign a deed to the summer cabin on the lake to them. It had always been used by the entire extended family, all of the cousins and others.

I know he intended to leave it that way, but he never got around to doing the family trust he wanted. I know he was on all kinds of medication. Sometimes he was lucid and other times his mind was gone. Is there anything I can do?

“Undoing” a deed is heavy lifting in the law, which generally places a high burden on challengers to a deed. The legal remedy is called rescission. To accomplish rescission of a deed one must prove either that the signer lacked legal capacity at the time the deed was signed, or that undue influence was used to coerce the person to sign.

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