Depositions of Companies by Nathan Hughey
Nathan Hughey – Hughey Injury Lawyers
Corporate depositions are governed by a specific set of rules.
Opinions: Rule 30(b)(6) requires an organization “must not only testify about facts within [its] knowledge, but also its subjective beliefs and opinions.” United States v. Taylor, 166 F.R.D. 356, 361-63 (M.D.N.C. 1996).
Knowledge of organization: Rule 30(b)(6) was intended to prevent serial depositions of various witnesses without knowledge from an organization and eliminate ‘bandying,” which is when several people are deposed but each in turn disclaims knowledge of facts that are clearly known to persons in the organization and thereby to the organization itself. Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6), Advisory Committee Note:;, 1970 Amendment. [T]he purpose of a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition is to get answers on the subject matter described with reasonable particularity by the opposing party, not to simply get answers limited to what the deponent happens to know.” Alexander v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 186 F.R.D. 148, 152 (D.D.C. 1999).
Duty to prepare: An organization cannot avoid its Rule 30(b)(6) obligations by “sticking its head in the sand” and refusing to look for the answers and then saying it does not know the answer. In re Indep. Service Orgs. Antitrust Litig., 168 F.R.D. 651 . 653 (D. Kan. 1996).
Duty to prepare: If the representative(s) cannot testify as to the corporation’s collective information on the matters requested then the corporation and/or its attorneys must collect the information and prepare the representative(s) so that the representative(s) can give complete, knowledgeable, and binding testimony. Starlight Int’l Inc. v. Herlihy, 186 F.R.D. 626. 638 (D. Kan. 1999).
Duty to prepare: A thorough, ‘reasonable” investigation may require an organization to rely on business records, other documents, interviews with present and former employees. and the like. United States v. Taylor, 166 F.RD. 356, 361, affirmed, 166 F.RD. 367 (M.D.N.C. 1996).
Duty to prepare: Imposing a duty to prepare its representative(s) ensures that an organization will not ambush an opponent by conducting half-hearted Inquiry before the deposition but a thorough and vigorous one before trial.” Id. at 362.
No objection if difficult to prepare: An organization cannot simply object to a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, because the required investigation would be ‘difficult or ‘time consuming.” Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Federal Savings Bank, 162 F.RD. 338. 343 (N.D. III. 1995).
No objection if difficult to prepare: Even if corporate documents are voluminous and the review of those documents would be burdensome, a representative may still be required to review them in order to prepare for the deposition; such preparation is necessary because the individuals so deposed are required to testify to the knowledge of the corporation, not the individual. Calzaturficio S.C.A.R.P.A. s.p.a. v. Fabiano Shoe Co., 201 F.RD. 33 (D. Mass. 2001).
Former employees: That corporation no longer employs individuals who have memory of distant events or such individuals are deceased “still not relieve corporation from preparing designee for deposition of corporation to extent matters are reasonably available, whether from documents, past employees, or other sources; while corporation may plead lack of memory, if it wishes to assert positions based on testimony from third parties, or their documents, designee still must present opinions as to why corporation believes the facts should be so construed. United States v. Taylor, 166 F.R.D. 356, affirmed, 166 F.RD. 367 (M.D.N.C. 1996).
A party has a duty to designate more than one deponent if it would be necessary to do so in order to respond to the relevant areas of inquiry that are specified with reasonable particularity. Alexander v. Federal Bureau of lnvestigation, 186 F.RD. 148, 151 (D.D.C.1999).