Force the Opposing Party to Pay for Deposition Travel!

What client doesn’t want to dump the expense of deposition travel on the opposing party?  What lawyer doesn’t want a subsidized, or perhaps free, vacation?

In Mirek Wierzbowski v. Dec the defendant sought an order that the plaintiff would be required to pay for defense counsel’s deposition travel expenses.[1]  “There is a presumption that litigants bear their own expenses in attending depositions.”  However, this presumption is rebuttable.  “[C]ourts have ordered payment of expenses when the parties have disputed the location of a deposition and the court’s ultimate choice of a far-away location imposes a significantly higher burden on the party seeking expenses than the alternative location.”

That sort of relief was not merited here.  The plaintiff had subpoenaed the four witnesses who were to be deposed.  Plaintiff did not pick the deposition locations, Rule 45 did.  There was no indication that the plaintiff had attempted to avoid the presumptively reasonable deposition location, nor did the defendant even argue the locations were improper.  Instead, [i]t appears Defendant simply wishes not to bear the cost of attending.”  The motion was denied.

As a practical matter, I may have expected this motion if in 1949 when transcontinental travel was still predominantly via railroad, telephones were expensive and unreliable, and “telegraph operator” was still a career choice.  However, it is 2017.  I routinely have telephonic depositions, videoconference depositions, I’ve even had them conducted via Skype or Facetime.  I still prefer to handle certain depositions face to face, and I understand there are restrictions to some technologies, but if the budget won’t allow it then technology can greatly assist.

[1] No. 2:13-cv-0076, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100016 (D. Nev. June 28, 2017).