With November representing the 18th month of socially distanced litigation, we thought we’d take a look at what courts have said about remote (usually Zoom) depositions.  Like it or not, we think they’re here to stay.

Yes/No

The first question is whether or not to have them.  Can one side impose them unilaterally?

The answer is “yes” – at least during the pandemic.  We start with Rouviere v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., 471 F. Supp.3d 571 (S.D.N.Y. 2020) – a medical device product liability case we discussed here.  Notwithstanding the plaintiff’s objection to a Zoom deposition of the defendant’s employees, Rouviere found plenty of prejudice to justify a protective order:

The hardship that would be caused to [defendant’s] witness(es) and its counsel by an in-person deposition is obvious.  There is a significant health risk to [everyone] if the deposition were to proceed in person. . . .  “[S]ocial distancing does not guarantee a safe deposition environment.  Thus, holding a deposition in a room with a witness, counsel and a stenographer present would place everyone in the room at risk.

Id. at 574-75 (citations and quotation marks omitted).

There is an exception.  A party cannot seek a Zoom deposition of a witness in another country where that procedure is contrary to that country’s law.  In Inventus Power v. Shenzhen Ace Battery, ___ F.R.D. ___, 2021 WL 4477940, at *7 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 30, 2021), the court held:

[W]ith respect to depositions, it is undisputed that the law of China prohibits depositions – voluntary or compelled – for use in foreign courts within the borders of People’s Republic of China without permission from Chinese authorities through the Hague Convention procedures.  Courts have recently confirmed that this prohibition extends even to remote testimony.

Id. at *7 (citations and quotation marks omitted).  See Document Operations, L.L.C. v. AOS Legal Technologies, Inc., 2021 WL 3729333, at *4 (5th Cir. Aug. 23, 2021) (“discovery order cannot stand” when entered in “contravention” of discovery treaty with Japan) (unreported).  For an example of a properly conducted international remote deposition, see Calhoun v. Google LLC, 2021 WL 4123979, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2021).

Concerning documents, Rouviere advocated pre-shipped documents, “or using modern videoconference technology to share documents and images quickly and conveniently.”  Id. at 575 (quoting United States ex rel. Chen v. K.O.O. Construction, Inc., 445 F. Supp.3d 1055, 1057 (S.D. Cal. 2020)).  We’re not 100% sold on this aspect of remote depositions, since giving documents to deponents in advance also gives them the means to know what’s coming.  If our side is defending depositions (as in Rouviere), that’s great; but if we’re taking them, not so good.  We often catch plaintiffs in lies with social media, surveillance video, worker’s compensation documents, and just plain medical records, and we’d like to keep doing it.  We describe the courts’ fix for this issue below.

Nor was it a serious concern in Rouviere that counsel were not comfortable with remote technology.  “[T]here are training and informational videos available online and vendors who host videoconferenced depositions are available.”  Rouviere, 471 F. Supp.3d at 575.  Assuming there would be some delays, the court granted an extra hour of deposition time.  Id.  Accord Y.M. v. Beaumont Unified School Dist., 2020 WL 8611032, at *3 (Mag. C.D. Cal. Dec. 11, 2020) (granting two additional deposition hours due to Zoom depositions proceeding more slowly).  Cf. ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1, comment 8 (2012) (lawyer’s ethical duty of competence includes “relevant technology”).

An objection based on inability to judge the witness’ “demeanor” remotely also failed.  First, if that objection were sufficient, no remote depositions would take place, making the rule providing for them (Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(4)) “meaningless.”  Rouviere, 471 F. Supp.3d at 575.  Second, since any in person deposition would require masking, remote depositions were actually superior in terms of demeanor observation:

If an in-person deposition were to be held in New Jersey, as Plaintiffs propose, then those in attendance at the deposition would need to wear masks. . . .  The witness’s wearing of a mask eliminates many of the advantages of observing the witness at an in-person deposition; however, if the witness were to be deposed remotely . . ., the witness would not need to wear a mask, giving Plaintiffs’ counsel the opportunity to observe the full face of the witness.

Id. at 576.  Accord, Joffe v. King & Spalding LLP, 2020 WL 3453452, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. June 24, 2020) (“there can be no question that mask-wearing and distancing significantly diminish the value of in-person testimony”).  Any extra expenses caused by a remote deposition would be split 50/50.  Rouviere, 471 F. Supp.3d at 576 (this is unusual).

Rouviere was followed in Mosiman v. C & E Excavating, Inc., 2021 WL 1100597 (Mag. N.D. Ind. March 23, 2021), where the plaintiff was demanding that his deposition be conducted remotely, with the defendant resisting.  The magistrate judge agreed with the plaintiff and entered a protective order.  COVID-19 health concerns constituted “good cause” under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c).  Id. at *2.  “Courts all around the country have found that the health concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic are a legitimate reason to take a deposition by remote means.”  Id. (citing United States ex rel. Adams v. Remain at Home Senior Care, LLC, 2021 WL 856876, at *2 (D.S.C. March 8, 2021); Valdivia v. Menard, Inc., 2020 WL 4336060, at *1 (Mag. N.D. Ill. July 28, 2020); Sonrai Systems, LLC v. Romano, 2020 WL 3960441, at *3 (Mag. N.D. Ill. July 13, 2020)).

A remote deposition also “adequately” permitted credibility assessment.  “[M]any courts have determined that remote video depositions provide a sufficient opportunity to evaluate a deponent’s nonverbal responses, demeanor, and overall credibility.”  Id. at *3 (citing or quoting Rouviere, Learning Resources, Inc. v. Playgo Toys Enterprises Ltd., 335 F.R.D. 536, 539-40 (N.D. Ill. 2020); Pursley v. City of Rockford, 2020 WL 6149578, at *2 (Mag. N.D. Ill. Oct. 20, 2020)).

[I]n the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, depositions conducted by video conference may allow counsel to better assess a deponent’s demeanor than they could in person.  During a remote deposition, the deponent need not wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among in-person participants.

Macias v. Monterrey Concrete LLC, 2020 WL 6386861, at *6 (E.D. Va. Oct. 30, 2020).  See also Sonrai, 2020 WL 3960441, at *4 (“ability to assess witness credibility would arguably be enhanced if the depositions are conducted via video because masks would not be necessary”); Reynard v. Washburn University of Topeka, 2020 WL 3791876, at *6 (Mag. D. Kan. July 7, 2020) (“the chance that [counsel] will be able to observe [the witness] is much higher if the deposition is conducted remotely rather than in person” due to masking).

Similarly to Rouviere, lack of technical competence failed as an excuse to oppose remote depositions in Faford v. Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co., 335 F.R.D. 503 (E.D. Mich. 2020):

The defendant says its witnesses are not technologically literate and cannot get to a place where videoconference equipment is available, either for preparation with counsel or for the depositions.  But Zoom conferences can be conducted from a smart phone, and defense counsel has not alleged that its witnesses do not enjoy even that basic feature of modern technology.

Id. at 505.  Accord List v. Fiedler, 2020 WL 5988514, at *9 (Mag. D. Minn. Oct. 9, 2020); Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, 2020 WL 3469166, at *3 (Mag. N.D. Ill. June 25, 2020).

Other courts finding COVID-19 health concerns constitute “good cause” for remote depositions in contested cases include:  Rivera v. Parker, 2021 WL 3076412, at *3 (N.D. Ga. May 18, 2021) (“the Court remains hesitant to require non-vaccinated deponents in the high risk or ‘at risk’ categories to appear in person for a deposition”); Matter of Tara Crosby LLC, 2021 WL 1699883, at *4 (Mag. E.D. La. April 28, 2021) (“no other courts have yet begun to require deponents attend deposition in-person despite the release of vaccinations”); In re RFC & ResCap Liquidating Trust Action, 444 F. Supp.3d 967, 971 (D. Minn. 2020) (“[u]nder the circumstances, COVID-19’s unexpected nature, rapid spread, and potential risk establish good cause for remote testimony”); Swenson v. GEICO Casualty Co., 336 F.R.D. 206, 211 (Mag. D. Nev. 2020) (citing “widespread use of video depositions during the pandemic”), objections overruled, 2020 WL 8871311 (D. Nev. Aug. 26, 2020); Faford, 335 F.R.D. at 505 (rejecting continuance; attorneys must “adjust”); Grano v. Sodexo Management, Inc., 335 F.R.D. 411, 414 (Mag. S.D. Cal. 2020) (“As it is unknown how long the COVID-19 crisis will impact depositions and other in person meetings, it is likely that future noticed depositions for other parties’ witnesses also will be conducted by remote technology.”); Antares Maritime Pte Ltd. v. Board of Commissioners of Port of New Orleans, 2020 WL 7022752, at *2 (Mag. E.D. La. Nov. 30, 2020) (“the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring attorneys and litigants all to adapt to a new way of practicing law”) (citation and quotation marks omitted); Patterson Dental Supply, Inc. v. Pace, 2020 WL 10223626, at *4 (Mag. D. Minn. Nov. 5, 2020) (“no question” that COVID-19 is a valid reason for remote depositions); Macias, 2020 WL 6386861, at *3 (“health risks related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are good cause to conduct depositions remotely”); List, 2020 WL 5988514, at *8 (deponent “at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 based on his age and his underlying medical conditions”); H & T Fair Hills, Ltd. v. Alliance Pipeline L.P., 2020 WL 5512517, at *2 (Mag. D. Minn. Sept. 14, 2020) (“Remote depositions are the best safeguard against COVID-19”); Grupo Petrotemex, S.A. de C.V. v. Polymetrix AG, 2020 WL 4218804, at *2 (D. Minn. July 23, 2020) (“acknowledg[ing] the indisputable health risks connected with travel and in-person gatherings during this pandemic”); Reynard, 2020 WL 3791876, at *3 (court “not persuaded by [the] argument that the risks surrounding COVID-19 are improving”); Broiler Chicken, 2020 WL 3469166, at *7 (COVID-19 risk “transcends the particular circumstances of each” witness); Joffe, 2020 WL 3453452, at *6 (“in-person depositions pose a significantly greater risk of COVID-19 transmission than a remote deposition”); Thom v. Garrigan, 2020 WL 3405714, at *3 (W.D. Wis. May 21, 2020) (“there are health and safety risks with in-person depositions, even with the safety measures proposed by defendants”), reconsideration denied, 2020 WL 3403123 (W.D. Wis. June 19, 2020); Learning Resources, 2020 WL 3250723, at *3  (“health concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic create ‘good cause’ for the entry of an order requiring that [a witness’] deposition take place by remote videoconference”); Doyel v. ATOS IT Solutions & Services, Inc., 2020 WL 6528421, at *2 (Mag. C.D. Cal. June 15, 2020) (rejecting delay as alternative to remote depositions); Townhouse Restaurant, Inc. v. NUCO2, LLC, 2020 WL 3316021, at *1 (Mag. S.D. Fla. May 5, 2020) (“in light of the CDC’s recommendations that people stay at home as much as possible”); Chase-Morris v. Tubby, 130 N.Y.S.3d 599, 603 (N.Y. Sup. 2020) (“a majority of recent cases addressing COVID-19 issues have denied a party’s attempt to have in-person depositions”).  But see Howland v. Smith, 2020 WL 4890080, at *6 (Mag. E.D. Mo. Aug. 20, 2020) (witness with history of evading deposition could not use COVID-19 as another excuse).

Thus, it is evident that, for the duration of the COVID-19 epidemic at least, remote depositions are the “new normal” in discovery.  Rouviere, 471 F. Supp.3d at 574 (quoting In re Broiler Chicken, 2020 WL 3469166, at *5).  See also Swenson v, 336 F.R.D. at 209 n.4; List, 2020 WL 5988514, at *9; Carmon v. Saks Fifth Ave. LLC, 2020 WL 5701892, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 24, 2020); H & T Fair Hills, 2020 WL 5512517, at *3; Wilkens v. ValueHealth, LLC, 2020 WL 2496001, at *1 (Mag. D. Kan. May 14, 2020); Patterson Dental, 2020 WL 10223626, at *4; Grupo Petrotemex, 2020 WL 4218804, at *2; Chase-Morris, 130 N.Y.S.3d at 604.

Occasionally, case-specific circumstances, even during the pandemic, have supported in-person depositions.  In a suit over forged checks, where a bank’s corporate designee would be required to handle and review the original, and not merely a copy, of the instrument at issue, an in person, rather than remote, deposition was ordered, although the location was changed so that the witness would not have to travel.  See Provident Savings Bank, F.S.B. v. Focus Bank, 2020 WL 6196132, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 22, 2020) (also setting conditions and imposing costs).

Eventually, however, the pandemic will end, as will the need for masking at in person depositions.  It remains to be seen whether courts will remain willing to require remote depositions over a party’s objection when no longer supported by health concerns.  See Pruco Life Insurance Co. v. California Energy Development, Inc., 2021 WL 5043289, at *3 (Mag. S.D. Cal. Oct. 29, 2021) (notwithstanding COVID-19, denying demand for remote deposition of “controversial” witness where the parties believe the other is “dishonest”).  On the other hand, another judge has stated:

There is every reason to hope, however, that some of the lessons learned during the pandemic will invoke changes of practice which, in addition to being healthy habits, also make economic and practical sense in the post-pandemic or even post-COVID-19-vaccine world. One of those current practices that may need re-evaluation is the practice of flying attorneys, clients, and deponents around the country or the world just to take a deposition.

Brooks v. Pikes Peak Hospice, 497 F. Supp. 3d 985, 987 (Mag. D. Colo. 2020).

How

Another group of questions concerns how to conduct remote depositions via Zoom and similar platforms.  Although a party can be required to take depositions remotely, it cannot be forced to surrender the procedural safeguards that Fed. R. Civ. P. 30 provides.  See Raiser v. San Diego County, 2021 WL 118901, at *6 (Mag. S.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2021) (defendant cannot be forced to proceed waive its right to a qualified deposition officer), adopted, 2021 WL 2886048, at *8 (S.D. Cal. July 9, 2021) (“Defendants should not be the ones devoting their energy and incurring litigation costs when it is Plaintiff who is violating procedure.”).

Courts vary on whether remote depositions preclude counsel from conducting in-person deposition preparation with witnesses they represent, should they so desire.  Broiler Chicken allowed counsel for the witness to be present:

Courts do not speak to how a lawyer must prepare a witness when they allow a witness to be deposed by remote means. They say the deposition can proceed remotely under Rule 30(b)(4) and leave it up to the lawyer and the party or the witness to decide how the witness will be prepared for the deposition.

Broiler Chicken, 2020 WL 3469166, at *4.

Likewise, an order to conduct a deposition remotely addresses the location of the deposing counsel – it does not necessarily preclude counsel representing the witness from being present with that client.  “[The parties] and their counsel, however, can choose . . . whether or not they want to be with the witness in person when the witness gives a deposition by remote means.”  Id.  Similarly in Antares, if the remote witnesses “elect to have their in-house counsel physical present during the taking of the deposition, this Court will not prevent their attendance.”  2020 WL 7022752, at *5.  However, any counsel physically present must “participate by separate video means to ensure that they are within the screen and visible to opposing counsel.”  Id.  Another example is Moses Enterprises, LLC v. Lexington Insurance Co., 2021 WL 329210 (S.D.W. Va. Feb. 1, 2021), in which “it was not an unreasonable request” to delay remote depositions “slight[ly]” so that “counsel [could] prepare the witnesses and attend the depositions in person.”  Id. at *5.

On the other hand H & T Fair Hills prohibited counsel for the witness from being present.

[Depositions] must be conducted remotely by video conferencing technology and none of the participants may be in the same room (in person with another participant), without further Order from this Court.

2020 WL 5512517, at *4 (footnote omitted).  So at least one case holds that “remote” as to one means “remote” as to all, in terms of counsel’s attendance.

Documents are also a recurring issue.  Citing Rouviere, Mosiman found concerns about the handling of documents unpersuasive as a reason to preclude remote depositions altogether.

While many documents may complicate the deposition process, . . . document-intensive depositions can be effectively conducted using remote means.  In fact, Zoom has a function for screen sharing documents, which allows for greater efficiency during depositions.  Furthermore, there are other methods that can be utilized to increase the efficiency of the process. For example, sending Bates-stamped exhibits to deponents prior to the depositions.

Id. (citations and quotation marks omitted).  Accord, Chen v. K.O.O, 445 F. Supp.3d at 1057 (recognizing “challenges to the legal community during this pandemic” but finding that “voluminous and highly detailed exhibits” do not preclude remote depositions); Antares, 2020 WL 7022752, at *4 (similar); Reynard, 2020 WL 3791876, at *5 (similar); Grupo Petrotemex, 2020 WL 4218804, at *3 (similar); Sonrai, 2020 WL 3960441, at *4 (similar).  In Adams v. Remain at Home, the court ordered, with respect to documents:

Before displaying the document to the deponent, counsel must first (1) identify it for the record, (2) have it labeled as an exhibit, (3) provide a copy electronically to all other lead counsel, and (4) obtain confirmation that all other lead counsel received the document.

2021 WL 856876 at *2 (footnote omitted).

In Broiler Chicken, 2020 WL 3469166, the court addressed our concern – mentioned above – about the handling of documentary exhibits for remote depositions.  It recognized and resolved concerns about remote deponents obtaining an unfair advantage by prohibiting recipients of pre-prepared packets of deposition documents from taking a sneak peek ahead of time:

[I]f the questioning attorney wants to use electronic exhibits at the depositions, then that attorney should deliver those exhibits in hard copy (or in whatever form the deponent and her or his attorney wants) to the deponent and/or the deponent’s attorney before the deposition, and those exhibits should not be opened by the recipient(s) until the deposition starts.  The deponent can be asked under oath at the beginning of the deposition whether she or he looked at the exhibits before the deposition began, and the envelope or container in which the exhibits were delivered even can be opened for the first time on screen, if necessary.

2020 WL 3469166, at *11.  Similar steps were taken in Joffe v. King & Spalding LLP, 2020 WL 4361754 (S.D.N.Y. July 9, 2020):

The Designated Recipients [of remote deposition documents] shall keep the package and its contents sealed until the deposition begins and shall only unseal the package and any of the contents of the package on the record, on video, and during the deposition when directed to do so.

Id. at *3.  After the deposition, the deponent had two days to return all documents.  Id.

Nor did Broiler Chicken allow the requesting side to impose its preferred remote platform on other litigants.  “Plaintiffs should not be allowed unilaterally to determine the remote video deposition platform. The parties should agree on the remote video deposition platform to be used. If they cannot do so, then the Court will decide.”  Id. at *12.

In Townhouse Restaurant, 2020 WL 3316021, the court entered a procedural order hammered out with the parties that covered many aspects of Zoom depositions:

  • The federal and local rules of civil procedure apply at all times, prohibiting speaking objections and mid-deposition witness contact.
  • The court reporter may administer the oath to the deponent remotely.
  • Only the parties and their counsel may be in the same room as any participant, unless all parties agree.
  • The court reporter’s transcript is the sole official record of the witness’s testimony.
  • Remote depositions conducted using Zoom, WebEx or a similar videoconferencing platform, with the court reporter as host.
  • Any party who wants can hire an independent videographer, but is responsible for the cost and must provide copies to all other parties at its expense.
  • Unless a videographer attends, the court reporter records the witness using the platform’s recording technology.
  • The court reporter/videographer, announces when recording is on or off.
  • The platform’s video recording of the deposition is the same as a videographer’s recording and can be used at trial.
  • No participant can use private communication (“chat”) during the deposition to contact the witness. Chat is used only to share documents.
  • No participant can text, message, email, or otherwise communicate with a witness.
  • All cellphones must be placed in silent mode, with notifications disabled to avoid disruption of the deposition.
  • The witness and all counsel and must identify themselves and must leave their cameras on during the deposition, except for breaks.
  • All documents or other exhibits, except those intended as impeachment, shall be shared with all counsel at least two days prior to the deposition, and shall be premarked.
  • By at least the day before the deposition all documents must be provided to the court reporting service.
  • All impeachment materials must be shared using the platform’s technology at the point they are first introduced.
  • If the witness loses connection, or cannot access the platform, the witness may participate telephonically.

Id. at *1-2.  See Tara Crosby, 2021 WL 1699883, at *4 (E.D. La. April 28, 2021) (similar list of remote deposition protocols, with looser document timing).  See also Broiler Chicken, 2020 WL 3469166, at *12 (“there should be no unrecorded or at least unnoted conversations between the witness and his or her attorney during a remote deposition while the witness is on the record”).  Further, these types of orders abound in multi-district litigation, and may well be worthy of their own post.

Unlike  Rouviere, most courts have required any excess costs incurred by reason of a remote deposition to be borne by the party demanding this procedure.  See Chabot v. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., 2021 WL 949443, at *4 (Mag. M.D. Pa. March 12, 2021) (“the costs of copying and shipping exhibits will continue to lie with the noticing party”); Sonrai, 2020 WL 3960441, at *4 (party demanding remote deposition responsible for extra costs).

Enforcement of remote deposition orders can be problematic where the deponent is not in the same judicial district as the litigation.  In Russell v. Maman, 2021 WL 3212646, at *2 (Mag. N.D. Cal. July 29, 2021), a California court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to sanction a non-party resident of New York to failure to appear for a remote deposition.

Then What?

After a remote Zoom deposition is completed, how can it be used?  Given the speed at which litigation moves, there is a lot less law on what happens to remote discovery after it is completed than there is about whether and how do conduct Zoom depositions.

In Alcorn v. City of Chicago, 336 F.R.D. 440 (Mag. N.D. Ill. 2020), the plaintiff tried to use videoconferencing recording technology to record remote virtual deposition, without hiring a certified videographer to complement the court reporters (who were present).  The court reporters were not videographers, and thus not willing to certify that aspect of the transcripts.  Plaintiff was not allowed to cut corners in this way:

Plaintiff’s proposal in this case is untenable.  If permitted, Plaintiff would obtain a certified transcript of the recording but an uncertified video recording of the deposition.  Yet, Plaintiff seeks to use both the transcript and the recording as equals at her discretion.  As a result, the process outlined in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to ensure the integrity of the deposition would be bypassed. . . .  There would be no certification that the Zoom video recording accurately captures the testimony of the deponent.  Plaintiff’s proposal essentially seeks an end-run around the procedures outlined in Rule 30.

Id. at 442.  “Nothing in Rule 30 allows a party to engage in a secondary recording or transcription of a deposition, and treat that recording as the equivalent of a certified deposition.”  Id. at 443.  After determining that an uncertified Zoom transcript would have no evidentiary value, Alcorn did permit the plaintiff (and the defendant if it so chose) to make an informal copy for his own use – “us[ing] the “Spotlight” function on Zoom, which will focus the camera view solely on the witness for the entirety of the deposition,” id. at 444-45, as opposed to “gallery” or “speaker” view.  Id.

Belated attacks on the remote deposition process have not succeeded.  In Cannon v. Anderson Business Advisors, LLC, 2020 WL 10224631 (Mag. D. Nev. July 29, 2020), the court refused to entertain allegations of witness coaching during a remote deposition where the moving party waited until after the filing of a summary judgment motion to raise such unsupported allegations.

Plaintiff did not promptly act regarding any suspicions of unethical conduct: plaintiff did not seek relief until over a month after the deposition and until after the defendant filed its motion for summary judgment.  Plaintiff has not presented any evidence that defendant’s counsel acted unethically or coached the witness during the deposition.

Id. at *2.

In Broiler Chicken, the court agreed that a videotaped trial deposition “does not need to show both the witness and his or her lawyer,” 2020 WL 3469166, at *11, rejecting that objection to later use of the testimony.

Finally, in Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation v. Ethicon, Inc., 2020 WL 9887566 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 4, 2020), the necessity to take the plaintiff’s expert’s deposition via Zoom unfortunately opened the door for the plaintiffs to get away with an extensive “errata sheet” (see our general post here) that cleaned up the expert’s testimony.

[The expert] is a German native who speaks English as a second language.  In addition, [his] deposition was conducted via ZOOM. . . .  [E]xcerpts of the deposition transcript tend to show that language was at least a factor given [the expert’s] German accent. Plaintiffs also point out that the 444-page transcript contains numerous instances where the audio was muffled or inaudible, which Plaintiffs explain contributed to the need to supplement [the] deposition testimony.

Id. at *6.  The MDL court denied the defendant’s objections to all eighteen of the challenged errata “revisions.”  Id.

More decisions on the use of Zoom deposition evidence at trial will certainly happen as the mass of COVID-19-induced remote discovery works its way through ongoing litigation.  We’ll keep a lookout for them.