What is a 30(b)(6) Deposition?
I just received a notice stating that my company will be deposed in accordance with Rule 30(b)(6). What does that mean and what am I supposed to do about it?
A deposition is a process that permits a party or its attorney to ask questions of the opposing party or a witness relating to the underlying dispute. If the opposing party or witness is an individual, that person must appear and answer questions based on his or her personal knowledge. If the opposing party is a business or other organization, however, the relevant knowledge held collectively by the organization may reside with a number of different individuals, some of whom may not even work for that organization anymore. To avoid the burden of conducting numerous individual depositions, a process has been created (the 30(b)(6) deposition) where the organization must designate one or more officers, directors, managing agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf to be the person who provides testimony on behalf of the organization on certain designated topics. That individual will be obligated to provide testimony known or reasonably available to the organization as a whole even if that individual does not have personal knowledge of the topic on which he or she has been designated to testify. This means that the individual has an obligation to educate him or herself on those topics in advance of the deposition, which may include actions such as speaking with other individuals at the organization and reviewing certain documents. The obligation to educate oneself may even extend to speaking with former employees or reviewing others’ testimony under certain circumstances.
Preparing for a 30(b)(6) deposition can be a burdensome process that, if not done properly, could result in unfavorable testimony that is binding on that organization. You are well advised to consult with an attorney right away if you do receive a 30(b)(6) deposition notice to understand your organization’s obligations and, if needed, take prompt action to object to the deposition itself.
– By Joe Calandrelli