I am in New York City most of this week taking depositions* in a trademark infringement lawsuit. My hotel is in Times Square (7th Avenue and West 51st Street). The depositions are being held at the offices of a law firm at Park Avenue and East 40th Street. I took a cab there this morning since time considerations were key and I had a large suitcase full of exhibits (including numerous samples of the disputed goods) that I needed for the depositions. But, since I was able to leave my exhibits and their suitcase at the law firm overnight, and I was in no rush to get back to my hotel, I walked back.
This fifteen block walk (1.1 miles) was a manageable distance to walk unburdened by things to carry; a healthy walk with a little sightseeing thrown in, after a day spent working since early in the morning to make final preparations for, and then take, today's deposition. But, what I did not foresee was just how hot it is to walk the streets of New York City on a summer afternoon, with temperatures of a reasonably humid ninety-something degrees, in a full suit and tie. It had been so much cooler in the morning when I left that I hadn't expected it to be an issue.
By the time I finished my walk and arrived in my hotel room, my dress shirt was so drenched with sweat that I might as well have just pulled it out of a bathtub, or walked through a rainstorm.
* A deposition involves taking the testimony of a witness under oath in the presence of a court reporter, much like you might at a trial, usually in a law office or hotel conference room, outside the presence of a judge or jury, and with fewer permissible objections to questions asked that are allowed. Depositions are usually taken in non-criminal lawsuits in order to obtain information from opposing parties and third party witnesses in order to prepare for trial. This testimony is also not infrequently used in a pre-trial motion for summary judgment to establish that one or more key facts necessary for the court to make a ruling are undisputed, when this is the case. Less frequently, depositions are used to preserve the testimony of someone who may not be available to testify at trial for some reason, in which case the testimony is read aloud to the jury in lieu of live witness testimony, unless the deposition was videotaped, in which case the jury watches selected portions of the video. In modern civil litigation, in which the lion's share of lawsuits are resolved by settlement or motions practice prior to trial, and "no surprises" in the mantra in cases that do go to trial, a civil litigator typically spends far more days taking and defending depositions, than actually litigating cases in trials.