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United States District Court for the District of Colorado
December 29, 2020, Decided; December 29, 2020, Filed
Civil Action No.: 1:20-cv-00845-RM-SKC
FIRST WRITTEN DISCOVERY ORDER
This Discovery Order addresses the Parties' dispute over three topics from Plaintiff's Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition Notice. Counsel for the Parties contacted chambers (consistent with the Court's civil case practice standards) to alert the Court to their discovery dispute. They subsequently filed simultaneous briefs on the issues, as the Court requested. [#40 and #41.] The Court now issues this order to resolve the discovery dispute, as indicated below.
"A deposition under Rule 30(b)(6) differs in significant respects from the normal deposition. To begin with, the notice of deposition must 'describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination.'" 8A C. Wright, A. Miller, & R. Marcus, Federal Practice & Procedure § 2103 (3d ed. 2010). This requirement seeks "to enable the responding organization to identify the person who is best situated to answer [*2] questions about the matter, or to make sure that the person selected to testify is able to respond regarding that matter." Id. Accordingly, Rule 30(b)(6) creates obligations on both sides: the side being deposed has an obligation to prepare one or more witnesses to testify, and the side taking the deposition has an obligation to "designate with painstaking specificity, the particular subject areas that are intended to be questioned, and that are relevant to the issues in dispute." E.E.O.C. v. Thorman & Wright Corp., 243 F.R.D. 421, 426 (D. Kan. 2007).
"An overbroad Rule 30(b)(6) notice subjects the noticed party to an impossible task. To avoid liability, the noticed party must designate persons knowledgeable in the areas of inquiry listed in the notice." Reed v. Bennett, 193 F.R.D. 689, 692 (D. Kan. 2000). Where the deponent "cannot identify the outer limits of the areas of inquiry noticed, compliant designation is not feasible." Id. For example, when identified topics-of-inquiry for a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition use the term "all," courts have noted that Rule 30(b)(6) depositions are not intended to be "memory tests" in which a deponent is asked to recall every single detail related to a topic. Gebremedhin v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., No. 113-cv-02813, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91948, 2015 WL 4272716, at *10 n.6 (D. Colo. July 15, 2015); see also Reed, 193 F.R.D. at 692 ("Although plaintiff has specifically listed the areas of inquiry for which a 30(b)(6) designation [*3] is sought...Plaintiff broadens the scope of the designated topics by indicating that the areas of inquiry will 'includ[e], but not [be] limited to' the areas specifically enumerated.").
For these reasons, a measure of specificity tailored to the facts of the case is required when crafting the topics for a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition. See Thorman & Wright Corp, 243 F.R.D. at 426 (Rule 30(b)(6) topics must "designate with painstaking specificity, the particular subject areas that are intended to be questioned, and that are relevant to the issues in dispute."); Lapenna v. Upjohn Co., 110 F.R.D. 15, 21 (E.D. Pa. 1986) (disallowing questions where it was apparent there had been no attempt to tailor them to the facts involved in the case).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 243506 *; 2020 WL 7711325
TYLER PREITAUER, Plaintiff, v. AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, S.I., Defendant.
Subsequent History: Motion granted by Preitauer v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5988 (D. Colo., Jan. 11, 2021)
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