Posts Tagged ‘Litigation Strategy’

Remedies for the evasive deposition witness

Few areas of litigation practice are more frustrating than deposing an evasive, hostile or obnoxious witness. In the courtroom setting, a witness who acts these ways will be admonished by a judge to stop. If the witness continues that behavior, criminal contempt–sending the witness briefly to jail until he or she behaves–is an available sanction. […]

Checklist of questions whose answers can derail a custody or visitation case

I tried a custody case last month in which I learned a few weeks prior to trial that my client was using marijuana approximately once a month. What had previously seemed a strong case for custody no longer was. While many of the issues that can derail a South Carolina custody case seem pretty obvious, […]

Why file for separate maintenance when one doesn’t have grounds for divorce?

Separate maintenance is the action one files with the family court when one is no longer living with one’s spouse but one doesn’t yet have grounds for divorce. This occurs when one doesn’t have fault grounds for divorce (physical cruelty; habitual intoxication; adultery) but hasn’t been separated for the one-year period that allows for a […]

Should one explain one’s request to admit responses?

I had a lively debate a few weeks ago with colleagues I respect over whether one should explain request to admit responses that look bad on the surface but have reasonable explanations [this is a good time to acknowledge I have a very unusual conception of what constitutes a “good time”].  All of us frequently […]

The two types of motions to compel discovery

Although the rules of civil procedure don’t differentiate them, there are really two distinct types of motions to compel discovery: one addressing the untimeliness of the response and one addressing the inadequacy of the response.  Each type requires a very different strategy to prosecute. The easier type is when the other party has simply failed […]

Better to be an adulterer than an adulterer and a liar

A mentee recently asked me if one should admit an allegation of adultery in a responsive pleading when the adultery is obvious.  While I think the question has a clear cut answer, my view isn’t shared by all of my colleagues.  I continue to see adultery denials in responsive pleadings even when the adultery is […]

Reserving alimony when there’s military retirement

One of the quirks of family law is that a veteran’s military retirement is subject to equitable distribution but that veteran’s military disability is not.  South Carolina law treats military retirement as marital property. Tiffault v. Tiffault, 303 S.C. 391, 401 S.E.2d 157 (1991).  However a United States Supreme Court opinion forbids state courts from […]

Script for the beginning of each deposition

There’s a routine set of questions I ask at the beginning of every deposition.  I suspect that script would be useful for new attorneys and pro se litigants.  The reasoning for each line of questioning is indented below the question(s). • Could you please state your full name for the record? You want to establish […]