Archive for March, 2009

Video depositions-An Alternative to Recording Witness Testimony

Video depositions are the videotaped records of a witness giving testimony under oath that are recorded by a legal videographer. A court stenographer and the lawyers of the parties involved in the case are present, and depending on the circumstances of the case and the laws of the state, the parties to the litigation may also be present. Video depositions are now widely accepted and used throughout USA because of their convenience and utility to all parties involved.

Video depositions are often recorded in case witnesses are unable to attend and testify at a trial. A witness’s testimony may be recorded when his recollection of events and occurrences is fresh. Video depositions are doubly useful in cases where the witness is old aged or near death, as trials often take a long time to start and the witness may not be alive or in a condition to give live testimony when that time comes.
Video depositions also let the jury and judge observe the behavior, gestures and body language of the witness clearly and make inferences. Moreover, video depositions help the court stenographer document and transcribe the testimony accurately and easily because he can review the video as much as he wants.

For recording video depositions, a legal videographer and a court reporter need to be present at the location. The videographer takes the video of the witness testifying while the court stenographer makes the witness take an oath and then records the details of the witness’s testimony by transcribing spoken speech into a written form using a stenograph machine. It is best to get a professional legal videographer to record video depositions, as he will be able to present the witness and his testimony in the best possible way. Care must be taken to make video depositions in such a way that the jurors and judge can clearly see the witness, and also clearly hear the attorneys and the witness without any sound distortion or excessive background noise.

Investing in times of economic recession-A Warren Buffet story

When one talks about value investing, one of the first investors to come to mind is warren buffet, who has become a billionaire through his unique brand of investing that he has followed faithfully and consistently over many years. But his fortunes too have been adversely affected by the current economic downturn.

Buffett has recently invested $11.5 Billion worth in companies like GE, Goldman Sachs, Tiffany’s, Harley Davidson, and Swiss Re. Many of these investments have incurred him significant losses, at least for the short term. Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of 10% perpetual preferred stock of Goldman Sachs at $123, which then fell to below $60, was one of these. Another loss was his October 2008 purchase of GE preferred stock, priced in the mid 20′s. Since then GE has lost market capitalization and is currently trading below 10$. Warren buffet’s investments in Wells Fargo, American Express, Moody’s and U.S. Bancorp are all bringing him losses due to the underperformance of the financial sector. While his investments in derivatives, which he has previously criticized as being “weapons of financial mass destruction” have met with allegations of hypocrisy and $6.73 billion mark-to-market losses. Shares of Buffett’s insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway are currently trading at a price of under 85,000$ from a peak of $147,000, and it has also reported a 77% drop in earnings during Q3 2008. These losses and failures have brought criticism upon Buffett and his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, and has led some investors to question the effectiveness of his method of investing, which has many followers worldwide, in the current economic climate.

Do his principles, which have brought him (And others) much wealth still hold true? There is no definite answer. Buffett has, like many other investors suffered many losses and setbacks. However one has to keep in mind that Buffett has made major mistakes before, in investments such as Salomon Inc and US Air and still gone on to make untold profits. However, a distinction that analysts make between Buffett and others who follow his investment philosophies, is that Buffett has a ready flow of cash, huge amount of capital and gets special deals from companies due to his reputation. So while only time will tell if Buffett’s philosophies will work as in the past, the followers of his methods will have to be more careful than Buffett himself.

Mortgage rates are low. So are approval rates

Mortgage interest rates are already flirting with record lows and the Federal Reserve’s move to buy up government debt will send those rates even lower. But it doesn’t look like it will get any easier for borrowers – even those with good credit.

AIG sends bonus list to Cuomo

Under pressure, American International Group sent the New York attorney general’s office a list of employees who received bonuses, according to a statement released Thursday.

Fed could slow bank recovery

The Federal Reserve’s latest program to buy massive amounts of government debt could provide a helping hand to the economy – but not so much for bankers.img src=”” height=”1″ width=”1″/