CHICAGO – (February 12, 2019)—Warning that proposed changes to Rule 30(b)(6) would likely produce more conflict rather than less and infringe upon the long-recognized right of defense attorneys to select witnesses to represent companies in depositions, Toyja E. Kelley, President of DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, testified before a hearing of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure on February 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. With 20,000 members, DRI is the largest national association exclusively representing members of the civil defense bar.
Kelley (Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr; Baltimore) acknowledged “that 30(b)(6) depositions are the root of many issues and disagreements between counsel in civil litigation.” However, he stated that “the proposed changes would create more not fewer issues between the parties” in part because it gives “the noticing party the illusion that it has some say in the choice (of corporate witnesses).” The meet and confer requirement risks exposing confidential, privileged information, and attorney-work product during the meet and confer process.
Instead, Kelley suggested more comprehensive improvements to 30(b)(6). First, he suggested creating a mechanism to provide for objections and resolution of issues relating to the notice. Second, presumptive limits should be set on deposition topics. Third, a procedure should be created to certify that a witness does not have information outside of information contained in documents produced in the case.
“DRI recognizes that there are shortcomings to Rule 30(b)(6) and commends the Advisory Committee for dedicating themselves to thoughtfully solving them” said Kelley. “However, we feel that there are better solutions and hope that the Committee will consider and incorporate our suggestions and critique in any changes.”
About DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar
For more than fifty-five years, DRI has been the voice of the defense bar, advocating for 22,000 defense attorneys, commercial trial attorneys, and corporate counsel and defending the integrity of the civil judiciary. A thought leader, DRI provides world-class legal education, deep expertise for policy-makers, legal resources, and networking opportunities to facilitate career and law firm growth. For more information, log on to www.dri.org