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Paramount Communications v. Viacom, Inc.

Court of Appeals for the District of Delaware
637 A.2d 34 (Del. 1994)


Facts

During the course of the litigation between Paramount Communications (plaintiff) and Viacom, Inc. (defendant), it became necessary for Viacom to take the deposition of J. Hugh Leidtke, a Paramount director. The deposition was taken by a Delaware attorney for Viacom. Although the case was governed by Delaware law, neither of the attorneys representing Paramount and Leidtke were barred in Delaware, nor were they admitted pro hac vice. Leidtke’s attorney, Joseph Jamail, engaged in extensively abusive behavior during Leidtke’s deposition. His conduct included swearing at opposing counsel, directing the witness not to answer legitimate questions, leading the witness, and constantly complaining about the amount of time the deposition was taking. Viacom’s attorney did not appeal to the court to intervene in or sanction Jamail’s behavior. On appeal, the court of appeals noted Jamail’s incivility, but because Jamail was not barred in Delaware, it was unable to sanction him in any way. It therefore issued this addendum.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cahn, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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