Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, November 11, 2005

Depositions scheduled

First deposition dates arranged

The first set of depositions in Lisa’s claim against Samaritan Hospital and others are set to take place in early November.

Under the rules, the defendants have the right to depose the plaintiff first. After that, the defendants and people who are a party to the case – i.e., employees of a defendant – are questioned by lawyers for the plaintiff.

The stated purpose of these “examinations before trial” is to get all the facts out in the open, so that there are no surprises if and when the case goes to court. It is after a revealing deposition that one side or the other will sometimes realize that a case should be settled or dropped.

But too often, the deposition of a plaintiff is used by defense lawyers not so much as to get information as to embarrass and humiliate someone who has dared to make a defendant accountable for actions that have cased harm. Questioning can go on for hours, often about things that seem to have little or no relevance to the alleged action that prompted the lawsuit. Plaintiff deponents sometimes break down or are reduced to tears by the tactics of an aggressive defense lawyer.

As promised when this blog first started almost a year ago, an account of each of the depositions will be posted here soon after they take place.

Nurse identified

The attorneys representing Samaritan Hospital – one of three law firms involved in the defense of this case – have informally provided the name of the defendant identified in the lawsuit as “Mary Doe,’ as well as the names of two other nurses who were responsible for Lisa’s care on the night she was found near death.

The “Doe’ designation was necessary for the nurse on the overnight shift because, although her signature appears several times in the medical records, it is, in each case, illegible, partly because she used a middle name and wrote both it and her last name without any space in between, and because she did not use an upper-case first letter on her last name.

We are awaiting a formal response to a demand for these names. Once received, the lawsuit will be amended to show the real name of defendant “Doe” – her first name is in fact Mary – and it will be posted here.