Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Maybe You Should Prepare Your 30(b)(6) Witness?


 Always a vexing issue, Magistrate Judge Goodman directly confronts a corporate witness who was unprepared and had no knowledge of many of the items identified on a Rule 30(b)(6) depo notice:
First, in response to a 30(b)(6) corporate deposition notice listing 47 topics, QBE produced one witness, a claims examiner, and announced for the first time at the deposition that its designee did not have knowledge on many issues but agreed to produce another corporate representative who would have the requisite knowledge. QBE intended to secure one or more representatives from the insured condominium association, but that plan was thwarted. Nevertheless, the one representative it did produce was unable to adequately answer questions on many topics and he reviewed only a small portion of the documents which QBE had or had access to before the deposition.

For this first scenario, sanctions are appropriate. Because the discovery deadline has expired, because QBE did not fulfill its obligation to properly prepare its own designee, because QBE waited until the corporate representative deposition began to give notice of its designee’s partial inadequacy and because its designee could have (but did not) review substantially more material in order to be a more-responsive witness, Defendant’s requested sanction will be imposed. Specifically, QBE will be precluded from offering any testimony at trial on the subjects which its designee was unable or unwilling to testify about at the 30(b)(6) deposition.
He also gives a fantastic 39-point(!) primer on the law regarding 30(b)(6) depositions and the obligations on the corporation and counsel to adequately prepare a witness for deposition.

And he awards attorneys fees!

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