Can Your Florida Probate Lawyer Depose a Minor if it is Necessary for Your Case?
Trust and estates lawyers frequently find themselves deposing witnesses. What is a deposition? Who can be deposed in Florida? A deposition is where someone is placed in front of a video tape and/or a court reporter, and asked questions by opposing counsel. The person being deposed is required to answer the questions truthfully and under oath. What If a minor child is the key witness in your matter? Can your litigation lawyer depose the minor child or are you out of luck? Are there special rules that guardianship attorneys and Florida estate lawyers must follow when deposing a minor? Will the law permit a minor to get protection from being deposed? A case, involving a motor vehicle accident, in the Second DCA dealt with this subject.
In Akhnoukh v. Benvenuto, Benvenuto’s eight year old son had been a passenger in an automobile accident. Akhnoukh sought to depose the boy and Benvenuto filed a motion for protective order. Benevento argued that since the child was not injured, he was not part of the lawsuit and couldn’t provide quality information. In addition, they argued that having the boy deposed would ” result in unnecessary annoyance, embarrassment, burden, and expense.” The trial court granted the protective order. The Second DCA disagreed with the trial court and quashed the order. The Second DCA said that although the minor COULD be deposed, the ” trial court in its discretion may take protective measures if necessary for the minor’s well-being, such as requiring that the deposition take place before the court or a magistrate. To read the entire case, click here.