FOR ALLEGEDLY ‘DOUBLE-TEAMING’ HIM
Lawyer David J. Lujan wants the federal court to sanction the two lawyers of Junior Larry Hillbroom for allegedly “double-teaming” him and Barry J. Israel during their depositions in Guam.
Lujan cited case law and the Federal Civil Judicial Procedure and Rules Advisory Committee Notes as saying that only one lawyer for each party may examine the witness or the person who is undergoing deposition.
Deposition refers to the taking of testimony of a witness outside of court. Double-teaming occurs when more than one attorney for the same party asks questions of a witness.
Lujan accused Hillbroom’s lawyers, Mark B. Hanson and Nelson J. Werner, of acting in bad faith and “in a manner that unreasonably annoyed and oppressed him” at his (Lujan’s) deposition on May 13 and 14, 2019, and at the deposition of Israel on May 6 to 8, 2019.
During Israel’s deposition, Lujan said that Werner presented Israel with an exhibit, yet both Werner and Hanson refused to provide a copy of the exhibit to him.
Lujan said he was present at Israel’s deposition in his capacity as a party in the case.
Lujan and Israel are co-defendants in Hillbroom’s lawsuit.
He said that Werner and Hanson’s conduct at Israel’s deposition prompted him to insist at his deposition on May 13 that he review the exhibit in its entirety.
The bottom line, he said, is that Hillbroom’s lawyer should have provided him with a copy of that exhibit, either as a party attending Israel’s deposition or as a witness.
The exhibit refers to a 70-plus page document from more than 20 years ago.
Lujan said the better practice, as the Advisory Committee observes, would have been to send to him in advance of his deposition all of the exhibits about which they intended to question him.
Lujan said that, at his deposition, Warner stated that Hanson, as his co-counsel, was entitled to ask questions.
Citing the recorded deposition, Lujan said it is clear that he and Hanson do not get along well, yet despite this distaste between him and Hanson, his deposition went well on May 13 until Werner “abruptly adjourned” without any statement as to whether or not the deposition would be continued.
Lujan said the deposition resumed the following morning.
Lujan said that after the brief session at the deposition on May 14, he sought to meet and confer with Werner either in person or by phone.
Lujan said he sent a letter to Werner, stating that he was willing to continue the deposition but that it should be conducted in accordance with standard deposition procedures, including that there be no double-teaming.
Lujan said he also stated he was willing to meet and confer on May 14 or 15 in order to avoid the necessity of having to refer this to a judge.
Lujan said he left the May 14 deposition that lasted only a few minutes because Hanson refused to allow him to put on the record his explanation why double-teaming was impermissible.
Hillbroom has already filed a motion with the court to compel Lujan to resume his deposition on Saipan as Lujan allegedly displayed obstructive conduct and improperly left during the deposition. Hillbroom had also asked the court to sanction Lujan.
Hillbroom is suing Lujan and Israel for allegedly conspiring with former trustee Keith Waibel to inflate their contingency fee when the fortune of the late DHL co-founder Larry Hillblom was still undergoing probate proceedings in the Superior Court.
Lujan and Israel denied the allegations.
Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillblom. His name is spelled differently from that of Hillblom.
Hillblom died in a seaplane crash off Anatahan waters on May 21, 1995. His body was never recovered.