Good idea to release Sugarland depositions?

April 17, 2012
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A northern Indiana attorney says he has released portions of the deposition with a member of the band Sugarland to counter what he believes to be inaccurate press releases from the band. But is it a good idea for an attorney to be releasing this information to the press before the matter has gone to trial?

Sugarland band members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are being deposed about what they know regarding decisions on whether to postpone their concert at the Indiana State Fair Aug. 13, 2011, due to incoming bad weather. Attorney Ken Allen of Merrillville, who is representing victims in the stage collapse, handed over some of the recorded deposition of Nettles to the press.

According to news outlets in Indianapolis, he says he’s done so to combat inaccurate information coming from Sugarland representatives. He’s also spoken to the press about the depositions, claiming testimony was “cold and calculated.”

Of course, Sugarland’s spokesman Allan Mayer is bothered that Allen has released the depositions, telling CNN, “When you think about it, you can’t really blame these lawyers for attempting to try their case in the press, because if they tried to make those arguments in court, they’d quickly be tossed in the trash, which is where they belong.”

Mayer also claims that the deposition has been selectively edited.

Tell me, attorneys, is releasing portions of a deposition good trial strategy? Is this tactic something that is common in these types of cases? Would it compromise your case in court to release it to the press before hand?


  • Publishing depostions
    I was appalled. I saw it as either a publicity grab by the lawyer or an attempt to "poison the well" and bias the possible jurors - -neither of which reflects well on our profession. Journalists will do what they do - -we need not answer every volley in return or sink to that level.
  • A Few Bad Apples
    It is no wonder the general public has a negative view of lawyers. Ken Allen should be disciplined for his actions. While I think a good tar and feathering is more appropriate, I woudl settle for a public reprimand.
  • Publishing Depositions
    The actions of all of the plaintiff's lawyers in this matter, particularly Allen and Brizzi, is shameful. They are trying the case in the court of public opinion and getting press for themselves.

    The press reporting on the matter is no better. Sugarland was attacked in the press for "blaming the fans" based on its answer to Complaints in which it simply raised comparative fault - which is the law and they have a right to assert all available defenses.
  • sad
    Lawyers should not be disciplined for doing press releases and playing mass media in an age when mass media predetermines the outcomes of all kinds of important contests.

    At the same time lawyers should save it for the courtroom, and avoid sensational press battles. Generally it seems like a waste of effort and time doing something less productive than a lot of other things that could be done.

    I think its the mark of a superior lawyer who keeps a sensational matter OUT OF THE PRESS. Whenever I see a lawyer avoid commenting to reporters, I think, "class act;" whenever I see a press conference, I think "showman."

    And I apply that same thought to prosecutors, who also should avoid the sensational press conferences and commentary wholly, ahead of the verdict.

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