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Critical Changes Are Coming for Corporate Depositions

The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States recommended changing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) to require parties to confer in advance about the matters for examination. The amendment is expected to take effect on December 1, 2020.

In acting on the proposed change, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure accepted the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.[1] The Advisory Committee on Civil Rules devoted more than three years of exhaustive study and considered feedback and experiences of practitioners in making the recommendation.[2]
 
Previously, we covered the scope of Rule 30(b)(6) in the examination [3] of corporate deponents for an article published in Los Angeles Lawyer, noting that federal courts “have steadily interpreted a Rule 30(b)(6) notice as establishing the minimum amount of information a corporate deponent must provide at a deposition.”[4]
 
This article was among the sources cited by the Advisory Committee in its reports. The Advisory Committee cited the article in its Report of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules in May 2017. That report was based in part on the Agenda Book of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, which also cited the article.
 
American Jurisprudence also cited the article in its section entitled Preventing, Limiting, or Terminating Taking of Depositions on Basis of Bad Faith or Undue Hardship.[5]
 
The article was based in part on the widely-cited decision in F.C.C. v. Mizuho Medy Co. Ltd.[6] There, the Court granted a motion to compel and for sanctions with respect to a deposition of a corporate deponent.[7]

More details on the Rule can be found in the above video.

[1] See Supreme Court Package at 1.

[2] See Supreme Court Package at 3.

[3] Michael S. Cryan, The Scope of Rule 30(b)(6) in the Examination of Corp. Deponents, L.A. Law., Apr. 2010, at 15-16, 18, reprinted at https://www.lacba.org/docs/default-source/lal-back-issues/2010-issues/april-2010.pdf (last visited Feb. 12, 2020), 33-APR L.A. Law. 15 (2010) (“Cryan Article”).

[4] Id.at 18.

[5] See Colleen K. Sanson, Preventing, Limiting, or Terminating Taking of Depositions on Basis of Bad Faith or Undue Hardship, 139 Am. Jur. Trials 389 (2015 & Nov. 2019 Update) (citing Cryan Article among Law Reviews and Other Periodicals); see also Veronica J. Finkelstein, Managing the Risk: Rule 30(b)(6) Depositions in Cases Where the Gov’t Is a Party, 13 Appalachian J.L. 1, 18 n.80 (Winter, 2013) (citing Cryan Article).

[6] F.C.C. v. Mizuho Medy Co. Ltd., 257 F.R.D. 679 (S.D. Cal. 2009).

[7] Id. at 682.

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