Lost Documents: A Deposition Horror Story

by Sid Allen



Susan was an experienced litigator who represented global clients in big cases. As such, she often travelled for depositions. She was a meticulous lawyer who liked to cross every “t” and dot every “i.” She fully trusted her paralegals, who she had trained over the years to be as detailed as she was.  On occasion, during a paper intensive deposition, she’d lost documents, but usually just one or two minor ones. Often she would find the missing documents under the wrong tab in her notebook.  These mistakes bothered Susan, but they never actually affected the outcome of her depositions.

lost documents, courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauldineen/45492346/

United Lost Luggage Room

“You’re so used to everything working perfectly. I travel all the time. When we have document intensive depositions, I usually take them with me. Honestly I’d prefer to Fedex them but I’m often still working on the documents right up to and right after boarding the flight,” She told me recently over coffee.

Susan was sharing with me a horror story about a recent deposition that she swore had cut a decade from her life. She was representing a US-based energy company being sued in a class action lawsuit for manipulating prices. Early on a Wednesday morning, she would be deposing the opposing party’s primary expert. He was an experienced expert witness who had a reputation for being combative. “I was already stressed as it was,” she said, “I didn’t need any surprises. Lost documents would definitely classify as a surprise”

Unfortunately Susan was the victim of lost luggage, and when she landed in Houston, her box of documents for her deposition was missing. She didn’t just have a couple lost documents, she had NO documents.  Susan spent the rest of her day as follows:

9:00 am – spend an hour with the airline looking for her critical boxes.

10:00 am – pleading with opposing counsel to reschedule the deposition (they refused).

11:45 am – emergency call to judge to ask for an order to reschedule the deposition

1:45 pm – finally receiving word from the Court that the deposition would be rescheduled at the witness’s convenience BUT that Susan’s side would have to pay for the expenses her opponents incurred for rescheduling

3:30 pm – explaining to her client why the deposition did not happen and her agreeing to cover the extra costs.

5:30 pm – continuing to look (in vain) for her lost documents

8:30 pm – flying home (without bags).

Lost Documents Will Eventually Ruin Your Day

We all know lost luggage is possible, but it happens at an alarming rate. In 2012, almost 2 million pieces of luggage were lost on domestic flights alone. Some airlines will lose up to 6 bags per 1,000 passengers. That means almost every flight has at least one bag that’s lost! Its a huge inconvenience when its your clean underwear or your toothbrush, but when its something as important as document exhibits in a high profile case, its a disaster!

Luckily, I was able to explain to Susan how conducting paperless depositions would ensure something like this never happened again.  It didn’t take much to persuade her to use AgileLaw from now on.

How else can paperless depositions benefit your practice? Download our free eBook to learn how!


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