How long will my examination under oath take? This is a frequent question, but the answer is not easy. Really, it all depends. Typically, EUOs take a few hours and are longer depending upon the number of items claimed. Other factors, such as the personality of the witness, come into play as well. For example, if the witness is talkative, vague or unable (or unwilling) to be responsive, the statement will take longer. Sometimes, but not too often, the physical stamina or work schedule of a witness will make it difficult to complete a statement in one day. The use of an interpreter may also lengthen the statement. And, add an unruly attorney to the mix for an even longer statement.
Courts sometimes weigh in on the question of how long is too long. A Florida court excoriated an attorney for taking over seven hours to take an examination under oath in a claim involving the theft of $8,000 in truck tires. The court found that the attorney acted improperly with many of the questions asked. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of the Florida court’s opinion.
Recently, a California federal district court found that an insurance carrier was not barred from asking for a second session after the first session had taken almost four hours. The court focused on the fact that the policy, like most, allowed the carrier to request an examination under oath as “often” as it reasonably required. The court found that that language assumed more than one session might be required. Secondly, the court noted that the insured had claimed numerous items worth more than $50,000. Also, there was no evidence that the carrier had “wasted” the insured’s time or harassed her in the first session, as opposed to what happened in the Florida case. (See attached ruling.)
So, how long is too long? It all depends.