Despite a series of circuit court opinions frowning on the practice, the so-called “speaking objection” during a deposition has never been expressly barred under Virginia court rules. That situation will change Jan. 1 with a package of rule changes approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Rule 4:5, governing depositions in circuit court civil actions, will include this sentence: “Any objection must be stated concisely in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner.”
A Maryland lawyer who twice engaged in speaking objections was removed from a case in Fairfax County in 2011. Judge Jane Marum Roush revoked the pro hac vice status of David Whitworth after she found he had ignored her order expressly barring speaking objections.
Our hat tip goes to appellate lawyer Steve Emmert for noting the coming rule change. He observes that speaking objections often are crafted to “educate” a witness as to how to answer a deposition question.