Any litigator knows that a client can torpedo his/her own case at a deposition. And, sometimes it's not what the client says substantively, it's how they behave that gets them in trouble.
In my experience, the richer or more "powerful" the deponent, the more likely they are to treat the proceeding as an opportunity for them to show how smart/witty/tough they are. That rarely goes over well. For example, I once represented a rich and powerful businessman who, in the process of inappropriately storming out of a deposition, called the female attorney who was asking the questions a "f...ing b....". Luckily the court reporter did not record that epithet. Still, it was no fun to have to explain my client's behavior to the judge, and it certainly did not help our case.
A newsworthy example of this is Lady Gaga's recent deposition in a wage and hour case. Lady Gaga's former personal assistant is suing Lady Gaga and her touring company for some $400,000 in unpaid overtime. The assistant claims that she worked nearly round the clock because she was constantly at Lady Gaga's beck and call. The case appears to raise a number of interesting legal issues, and is worth following.
But the real news this week is Lady Gaga's behavior at her deposition in that case. As reported by the NY Post, she used the "f word" numerous times, including calling the plaintiff a "f...ing hood rat". She referred to herself as "the queen of the universe", and was combative with the plaintiff's lawyer. Lady Gaga directed the following to the Plaintiff - “I’m quite wonderful to everybody that works for me, and I am completely aghast to what a disgusting human being that you have become to sue me like this.” She went on to recount some of the perks of the assistant job - caviar, partying, and high-quality bedclothing chief among them.
It goes without saying that such behavior can only hurt, not help, a case. I am sure her lawyers prepped her well for the deposition, but sometimes clients have a mind of their own. As a general rule, it is never a good idea at a deposition to use profanity or to disparage the lawyer asking the questions. Those who take a "just the facts" approach usually do better than those who do not. Lady Gaga unwittingly has given the plaintiff fodder for numerous briefs, and has almost certainly damaged her case. If you ever have to sit for a deposition, don't let the same thing happen to you. Pay attention to your lawyer when he/she prepares you.