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Can too many “rightings” make a wrong? Some lawyers insist their deponents always read and sign deposition transcripts — explaining and making changes on errata sheets if anything’s amiss. But when 82-year-old Ann R. Galeski made 27 corrections to an 84-page deposition, Hartford, Conn., defense lawyer Dennis O’Connor claimed the sheer mass of corrections was simply intolerable. He moved to suppress the deposition, urging New Britain Superior Court Judge Robert B. Shapiro to order a new deposition, at Galeski’s expense, on the grounds that the changes had “destroyed the useful purpose” of her original deposition. In the end, the judge disagreed. Galeski’s lawyer, John L. Bonee III, countered the motion to suppress, contending Connecticut Practice Book Rule 13-30(d) allows unlimited corrections and “every imaginable type of change,” in the interest of getting things right. O’Connor, in response, said his motion to suppress was a necessary safeguard, under Practice Book Rule13-31(c)(4), to protect the integrity of the deposition process. “Otherwise, a deponent could change her entire deposition testimony, for any reason and without consequence, all to the deponent’s benefit and the opposition’s detriment,” he said. In an interview, Bonee said, “This situation comes up over and over again in deposition practice and is a constant source of aggravation, especially when you get a motion to suppress.” Whether the deponent misunderstood a question or misspoke, it should be corrected, he said, with an explanation, as the rule requires. “You can’t lie,” said Bonee. “My view is, tell me what the truth is, send it in and we’ll correct it.” Galeski is suing Joanne Sansabrino for injuries Galeski sustained in Wethersfield on Jan. 20, 2004, when Sansabrino’s car allegedly collided with hers. In O’Connor’s brief to Shapiro, he listed 18 instances where Galeski completely contradicted herself, six corrections that added detail and three that gave answers where she previously had none. “New answers generate new questions,” Elena R. Paleremo, O’Connor’s colleague at Hartford’s Noble, Spector, Young & O’Connor, argued in a brief. “The perfect example” of this was Galeski’s answer that she’d had no prior accidents. That was changed to reflect that she’d been treated for injuries from two prior accidents. This is important and may affect the plaintiff’s claims, the defense lawyers argued. Shapiro noted Galeski had provided explanations for her changes, complying with the Practice Book. On the basis of the defendant’s “limited” arguments, Shapiro wrote that he couldn’t rule that the corrections prejudiced Sansabrino’s case or require suppression. Shapiro declined to order a new deposition, let alone one paid for by Galeski, and left it for the trial judge to allow or disallow discussion of the changes for impeachment purposes. Reached last week, O’Connor declined comment.

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