United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER ON DISCOVERY DISPUTE
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE.
case involves an insurance coverage dispute alleging damages
in excess of $66 million. Now before the Court is a discovery
dispute between the parties concerning a corporate
representative's deposition under Federal Rule of Civil
reviewing the parties' memoranda regarding the discovery
dispute (Docs. 97, 98, 99), the Court rules as follows.
to this dispute are two deposition notices. On October 18,
2017, Defendant filed a notice to depose Plaintiff's
corporate representative under R. 30(b)(6) at 9:30 a.m. on
October 26, 2017 (Doc. 80). Then on October 27, 2017,
Defendant filed a notice to depose Ms. Randall, at 9:30 a.m.
on October 30, 2017 (Doc. 90).
witness deposition taken for this case, Plaintiff's
counsel and defense counsel discussed that Ms. Randall was
the corporate representative designated for some of the
30(b)(6) topics proposed for the corporate representative
deposition. Due to a scheduling problem, the parties
agreed to reschedule the corporate representative deposition
for October 30, 2017.
October 30, 2017, shortly after the deposition of Ms. Randall
began, Plaintiff's counsel informed defense counsel that
Ms. Randall was Plaintiff's 30(b)(6) witness for topics
1-5, 8, and 10. Defense counsel objected to the timing of
this designation, but proceeded to depose Ms. Randall as a
fact witness only.
conclusion of defense counsel's questions of Ms. Randall
as a fact witness, Plaintiff's counsel indicated Ms.
Randall was prepared to stay for another hour to address the
topics in the 30(b)(6) deposition. Defense counsel again
objected to conducting the 30(b)(6) deposition because
Plaintiff identified Ms. Randall and her designated topics
only earlier that morning. Plaintiff's counsel stated,
absent a court order, Plaintiff would not designate another
corporate representative to testify on topics 1-5, 8, and 10.
Defendant filed a motion for an order compelling Plaintiff to
produce a witness for topics 1-5, 8, and 10 in its 30(b)(6)
deposition notice (Doc. 97).
district court has wide discretion in handling pretrial
discovery matters. Chavis Van & Storage of Myrtle
Beach, Inc. v. United Van Lines, LLC, 784 F.3d 1183,
1198 (8th Cir. 2015). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6), once a
party names an entity and describes the matter for
examination in its notice for deposition, the entity
“must” designate a person to testify on its
behalf and “may” identify the matters the person
designated will testify. The same person may be deposed as a
fact witness and a corporate representative in separate
depositions. Miller v. Waseca Med. Ctr., 205 F.R.D.
537, 540 (D. Minn. 2002); see also Sabre v. First
Dominion Capital, No. 01CIV2145BSJHBP, 2001 WL
1590544, *1 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). When an entity expects its
designee to testify only on certain topics, it should advise
the opposing party of the designee's limitations before
the deposition begins. See Calzaturficio S.C.A.R.P.A.
s.p.a. v. Fabiano Shoe Co., 201 F.R.D. 33, 39 (D. Mass.
2001); QBE Ins. Corp. v. Jorda Enterprises, Inc.,
277 F.R.D. 676, 691 (S.D. Fla. 2012). Generally, the length
of a deposition is limited to one day of seven hours.
argues it was not prepared to take a 30(b)(6) deposition of
Ms. Randall because Plaintiff did not designate her as the
representative until after her fact witness deposition
started, did not state in advance what topics she would be
testifying, and only allotted one hour to cover the topics in
its 30(b)(6) notice. Defense counsel stated he travelled from
New York to Kansas City, Missouri for the fact witness
deposition and did not bring with him the paperwork for the
30(b)(6) deposition. Defendant argues Plaintiff's actions
have prejudiced it because it was forced to conduct the
deposition in an “unprepared, inorderly, and hurried
manner.” (Doc. 97 at 5).
argues it is not required to designate a corporate
representative in advance, but as a courtesy, it did inform
defense counsel that Ms. Randall would be the corporate
representative on some topics.
dispute boils down to a lack of communication between the
parties. Defendant scheduled two depositions on the same day
and the same time. At no time did Defendant attempt to
reschedule the 30(b)(6) deposition, clarify with Plaintiff
how the parties were going to handle the scheduling overlap,
or propose extending the length of the deposition to include
both the fact witness questions and the 30(b)(6) topics. It
appears Defendant just forgot that it had a 30(b)(6)
deposition scheduled. The Court is not sympathetic to
Defendant's complaint it suffered ...