Yoder and Plunkett Explain How to Use Rule 30(6)(b) Depositions to Further Client Strategies

The receipt of a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice may feel daunting, but Shook Partner William Yoder and Associate Melissa Plunkett explain that diligent preparation is the key to effective response in “Avoiding Pitfalls and Using the Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition to Strengthen Your Client’s Themes,” in DRI’s In-House Defense Quarterly, Spring 2017. The authors emphasize that selecting the right witness – and making sure that witness is fully informed and prepared – provides an opportunity for counsel and client to lay the groundwork for the themes of the case the client wants to present at trial. The deponent is expected to have knowledge of organizational facts – what the authors call the “collective knowledge” of the entity – as well as the subjective beliefs and opinions of the organization; the article examines what depth of knowledge is expected and what sanctions unprepared parties may face, in addition to who may be selected to represent the client in the deposition. According to the authors, preparation for the deposition is a valuable opportunity to develop an understanding of what knowledge the client lacks about certain topics in order to avoid limitations of potential claims and defenses at trial. The authors conclude that “an organization who goes into a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition with full knowledge of what information is available, what information is unavailable, and the themes it wants to assert at trial, can prepare a witness to further the organization’s trial strategy from the beginning.”