Is your corporation involved in a lawsuit? If so, you should be aware that the Supreme Court recently approved an amendment to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6)

 

What is Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6)? 

Rule 30(b)(6) is the main rule governing the taking of depositions involving: 

 

  • Public corporations 
  • Private corporations 
  • Partnerships
  • Associations, and
  • Governmental agencies 

 

The rule has two primary requirements: 

  1. All notices and subpoenas must describe with “reasonable particularity” the matters that will be examined during the deposition.
  2. When an organization receives a notice or a subpoena, it has to designate “one or more officers, directors, or managing agents” to testify on its behalf about the matters identified by the party seeking to take the deposition. 

 

The rule was originally enacted in 1970. Over the years, however, it has been frequently abused by bad-faith actors attempting to gain access to impermissibly broad discovery.  

 

How Has the Rule Been Changed? 

In an effort to reduce instances of abuse, the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules recommended an update to the law that requires opposing parties to “confer in good faith about the matters for examination” during a deposition.  Both sides have to discuss the anticipated scope of the deposition.   

 

The amended rule was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court and came into effect on December 1st, 2020. 

 

It is generally expected that the new rule will encourage more meaningful negotiations between litigants. It may even help parties resolve disputes without the need for court intervention. 

 

Remaining Issues with the Rule 

Though lawmakers have made a considerable effort to improve Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6), it is still far from perfect. 

 

Notably, the law does not require the parties to discuss the number of items to be examined in a deposition. Nor does it force litigants to provide each other with a description of the matters they wish to examine.  However, existing rules limit a corporate deposition in federal court to a total of 7 hours, so an overly broad list of topics will work to the detriment of the party taking the deposition.   

 

Perhaps most glaringly, however, the amended law does not outline any specific procedure or timing for objecting to an improper subpoena or notice. This omission is certain to cause confusion among litigants if the presiding judge does not have a standing order on discovery matters, or the parties are not otherwise aware of a judge’s preferences on hearing discovery objections.   

 

Need More Info? Contact the Attorneys at The Frazer Firm 

Would you like to learn more about the impact that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) may have on your lawsuit, and the pros and cons of litigating in state or federal court? If so, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the experienced business litigation lawyers at The Frazer Firm in Jupiter, Florida. We would be more than happy to review your case and provide you with suggestions on how to protect your business.    

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