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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100564
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Do you have to disclose your social security number at a deposition

Customer Question

do you have to disclose your social security number at a deposition in a civil lawsuit in ca
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:(A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. This is repeated in numerous disclaimers throughout the site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; (B) You may or may not see a timer on the question. The site is doing some testing, but do not worry, this timer should not get in our way. The question may be answered sooner than the timer ends, or a little after. The timer may reset or it may not. Point is - I will try and make it work for our conversation; and(C) For the sake of clarity I may break my replies into several parts, so there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies. Ergo, until you see me saying "I am ready to be rated," that means I am still working with you and we have not finished yet.This depends - what is the suit about and is the other party the plaintiff or the defendant?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Party is an attorney plaintiff in collection of past due fee with defendant filing a malpractice action on a cross complaint. He asked this during the opening of the deposition. Please provide authority for your answer including a case or a statute, thanks peter
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
There is no particular rule on an SSN. In CA like most states, deposition questions have to be reasonably related to the lawsuit and tailored to solicit or track down information useful as evidence in the case.
As such, if the Plaintiff has a reason to ask for the SSN (such as to search for assets of the Defendant), then they can ask it. Otherwise, they cannot.
The Defendant can object to the question. If there is an objection and Defendant refuses to answer, then the Plaintiff cannot force the issue then and there, but can file a compel motion later, and the Court decides on whether or not an answer should be given.
IES Corp. v. Superior Court (1955) 44 Cal.2d 559, 562-3. ("the witness in a deposition ... must answer all questions seeking nonprivileged information that is material to the subject matter of the pending action. ....At the same time, the taking of a deposition must not be abused, ... and the witness need not answer questions that serve no proper purpose or are irrelevant.")
Beverly Hills Nat'l Bank v. Superior Court (1961) 195 Cal.App.2d 861, 865 (The scope of examination should not be limited unless the information sought is clearly privileged or irrelevant...)
Spectra-Physics Inc. v. Superior Court (1988), 198 Cal.App.3d 1487, 1494, 1496 (the information sought is relevant and nonprivileged [and] the information is crucial to the preparation of the case.)
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