December 11, 2012 Articles

A Meaningful Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition Is Not Always Possible

Courts may restrict the ability to take such a deposition when the entity being deposed does not have, and has never had, personal knowledge of the information requested.

By George Denegre and Carey L. Menasco

The corporate deposition under Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) has become a key component in modern litigation. It presents an unequaled opportunity for the party taking the deposition to gain admissions and information that might otherwise be unavailable. In most cases, there is little to be gained by the party defending the deposition, and it faces risks of inadvertent admissions, disclosures, and concessions. In general, federal courts have been vigilant in compelling parties to appear for their corporate depositions and requiring that they diligently prepare, even when deposition topics include old, stale issues about which few, if any, corporate employees have knowledge. But there are some cases where no corporate representative could provide the requested information—such as when an entity is placed into receivership by federal or state banking or insurance regulators. In such cases, some courts have been willing to enter protective orders preventing or severely restricting the 30(b)(6) deposition. In light of the recent bank failures and resulting suits against officers and directors, it is a good time to review this jurisprudence.

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