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Chapter One : When Is A Deposition Not a Deposition?
Yesterday, everyone’s favorite hermit ventured across multiple counties and merged onto numerous interstates (God, I hate merging) in order to obtain this summer’s must-read, The Deposition of Phaedra Parks from the case of Parks v. Stanton. And it was so worth it. I spent some time perusing the six or eight in thick file with all of the original motions that have been filed, I purchased copies of the most recent one, and then got caught in a horrific storm. I pulled into a Zaxby’s and began to read. There is so much to discuss that I will be posting in installments.
But first, (said in my best Julie Chen voice) let’s remind ourselves of where we left off. My last update was on June 24th. On June 19th, the judge had ruled that Phaedra must sit for deposition with 45 days. So I’ve been patiently waiting to hear that occurred. The 45 days came and went without any indication that Phaedra had been deposed. Then, last Thursday, there was a new Motion to Compel filed by Stanton’s attorney, James Radford. I dashed over to the courthouse to get my hot little hands on it, and Lo! and Behold! there was a deposition! So what is this Motion to Compel all about? Thankfully, Radford writes motions in plain English unlike those New Jersey goons who write motions for the Laurita bankruptcy case. So I’m going to transcribe much of it for you here, in the first chapter. Then we will move on to a variety of topics covered in the deposition itself.
The actual scheduling of the deposition was yet another puzzling event in an already very curious case. We have discussed before that a plaintiff refusing to sit for a deposition is unheard of. She even tried to use an affidavit as a proxy for her deposition responsibility. As one TamaraTattles.com commenter who is an attorney put it, “ the most interesting thing is that she filed an affidavit on 3/31/14 presumably to defeat Stanton’s motion for summary judgment. Anyone can file an affidavit. She filed it to serve as a proxy for her deposition but this is not allowed. A party cannot file self-serving affidavits and the “facts” set forth therein must be admissible in evidence; they cannot be based on information and belief.” Or, in plain English, Phaedra is shuckin’ and jivin’ every way she can to avoid being deposed. The Scheduling of the Deposition:
From the Brief in Support:
Plaintiff Phaedra Parks is attempting to make a mockery of this Court and of the civil discovery process. On June 4, 2014, seemingly out of nowhere, long after discovery had expired, and after persistently refusing to sit for deposition, thus requiring a motion to compel, counsel for Parks emailed (Radford) and volunteered to sit for deposition.
Phaedra provided Radford with a choice of a few dates and the date of June 19, 2014 was chosen. This all occurred while both sides were waiting for the judge to issue an order compelling Phaedra to comply. In the days leading up to the deposition, Phaedra began to place numerous conditions on the deposition. She required that if the deposition was to be videotaped, her attorney would be in sole possession of the video. She also demanded that Radford not place the transcript of the deposition on his website. Which is why all the constant visits to Radford’s website proved fruitless. She also demanded that he not share the contents of the deposition with the news media. Radford took what he could get and took the “deposition” with those conditions.
However, Radford stated:
Parks’ position that counsel is somehow prohibited from publically sharing information and opinion about this case is contradicted by the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and well-established Supreme Court jurisprudence.
Radford cites the following case-law (abbreviated for brevity, Bolded as written):
…an attorney may take reasonable steps to defend a client’s reputation and reduce the adverse consequences of indictment, especially in the face of prosecution deemed unjust or commenced with improper motives. A defense attorney may pursue lawful strategies to obtain dismissal of an indictment or reduction of charges , including an attempt to demonstrate in the court of public opinion that the client does not deserve to be tried. (Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada)
Strangely, that very day, June 19,2014 this Court entered an order compelling Parks to be deposed. Counsel received a copy of this order on June 20,2014 the day after the deposition had been taken.
Defendant Stanton hereby moves for an order requiring Plaintiff Phaedra Parks (“Parks”) to fully participate in the discover process by re-submitting to deposition, and by fully answering questions that are reasonably calculated to lead to discoverable evidence regarding (a) her relationship with Apollo Nida and the extent of her knowledge, benefit from, and/or participation in his criminal activities and (b) the timing and content of her agreement with former co-defendant Augustus Publishing, which resulted in Augustus ceasing the marketing and sale of Stanton’s book.
The motion goes on to request that Phaedra bear the cost of the second deposition as well as all of the attorney fees associated with the eleventy billion or so Motions to Compel that the defense continues to have to file. She also moves for an order to reopen discovery for a period of 90 days.
Let’s talk about that motion for a minute. Especially the part where Phaedra’s relationship with Apollo her relationship with Apollo Nida and the extent of her knowledge, benefit from, and/or participation in his criminal activities. Phaedra is suing Angela for defamation and asking for damages. In his Brief in Support, Radford states that the ultimate question in this case is “whether a reasonable person could believe that Parks herself was involved in the sort of criminal activities described in Stanton’s book.” Radford continues , ” This line of questioning is closely related to Parks’ claim for damages, since her very public marriage to, and business partnership with , a man with multiple convictions for felony financial crimes obviously has an impact on her reputation separate and apart from any damage thereto caused by Stanton’s book.”
It would seem that Apollo’s previous convictions will be used in trial (if it comes to that) to support the statements that Stanton included in her book. The veracity of Stanton’s story was once questioned by many, myself included, until Apollo’s indictment showing that his criminal activity was ongoing throughout his marriage to Phaedra. This would make Apollo’s criminal activities and Phaedra’s knowledge, or lack of knowledge, a crucial element for the defense. During the deposition refused to answer all but a couple of questions about Apollo.
But that is another chapter. ..