You’re not going to believe this but it might sound like a bad joke. I recently went to a deposition that was the witness’s mother, the witness’s father, the witness’s priest, the witness’s mechanic. All of these people showed up for a deposition, and only one person was giving testimony. How can this be? Well, first of all, for those of you who don’t know, a deposition is a question and answer session. It’s usually done where you have to make to a promise to tell the truth or take an oath to do so. In California, anybody who wants to attend a deposition can attend a deposition because the rule is: it’s just the same as if the person was giving testimony in court. And, in California the court proceedings, with very few exceptions, are open to anybody who cares to watch. So, the same holds true for a deposition.
In addition, the witness can bring somebody who can provide moral support to them. They’re not obligated to do so, but if it makes them feel better to have their parent or their spouse or their priest, or in this case, their mechanic present at the deposition, they are allowed to do so. So, anybody, absent a court order, can attend a deposition in California.
Typically, the court order that is issued is to exclude other witnesses who may be testifying and the reason for that is that they want to get that witness’s own perspective of the events before that person’s perspective is tainted by hearing another witness’s perspective. So, they want to hear your side of the story apart and separate from what you may have heard from other sources at your deposition. In those situations, a court order is typically granted, and that person will not be allowed to attend the deposition.