Trials can be extremely expensive. One of the most expensive parts of a trial can be the costs associated with taking depositions. Therefore, it is in a party’s best interest to recuperate those costs in the aftermath of a successful outcome. In fact, it is the general rule that included in the damages of a successful party are the costs associated with depositions. However, a trial court may sometimes erroneously or negligently include such costs in a party’s damages.
On October 24, 2014, Pratima Shah, while making a left turn from Causeway Boulevard to Jefferson Highway in Metairie, crashed into a vehicle driven by Dr. James Mayo. Shah filed a lawsuit against Mayo and the Government Employees Insurance Company (“GEICO”), Mayo’s insurance provider. Two days before the trial, Shah’s lawyer filed a Motion to Exclude Live Trial Testimony and for Costs, which was made to bar Mayo from testifying at the trial and to recuperate the costs associated with the perpetuation deposition Shah’s lawyer had to take of Mayo.
Apparently, Mayo was initially going to be unavailable for the trial. Therefore, Shah’s lawyer had to travel to New York, where Mayo resided, to take a perpetuation deposition of Mayo. A perpetuation deposition is a deposition that is made because a witness cannot make it to the actual trial. The statements made in a perpetuation deposition can be used in lieu of the witness’s live testimony. However, Mayo was able to make it to trial, so Shah’s taking of Mayo’s perpetuation deposition would have been a waste of time and money if Mayo was able to testify in person at the trial. The Trial Court did, however, allow Mayo to testify at the trial. Despite allowing Mayo to testify, the Trial Court ruled in favor of Shah. The Trial Court ruled that Shah was entitled to $2,885.00. This amount did not, however, include the costs associated with the perpetuation deposition Shah’s lawyer made. Shah appealed, asking for money damages to recuperate the costs associated with the perpetual deposition.