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Verrill Dana’s Silvestri Submits Letter on Rule 30(b)(6) on Behalf of American College of Trial Lawyers

May 8, 2017 Press Releases

(May 8, 2017) – On behalf of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Verrill Dana trial attorney, Frank J. Silvestri, Jr., Chair of the College's Federal Civil Procedure Committee, submitted a letter to Judge John Bates, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the United States Judicial Conference, on the proposed Study of Rule 30(b)(6) Revisions, stating amendments to the Rule are not warranted at this time.

The Advisory Committee had received suggestions for possible amendments to the Rule, including:

  • whether responses at a 30(b)(6) deposition are judicial admissions
  • whether to prohibit contention questions at 30(b)(6) depositions
  • whether to provide a procedure for objecting to a 30(b)(6) notice
  • whether to require a corporation to produce someone with first-hand knowledge of the noticed topics
  • how to count the number of designees and the length of multi-topic depositions for purposes of the limitations imposed by the rules
  • whether the rule should allow or prohibit questioning a witness on topics outside the scope of the notice,
  • elaboration of the term "reasonable particularity"
  • whether there should be a limit on the number of topics in a 30(b)(6) notice
  • how to proceed when the organization cannot identify anyone with knowledge of the matter
  • whether to require court permission for multiple 30(b)(6) depositions
  • protection of discovery into preparation of the witness(es), and
  • whether there should be additional protections for non-parties.

The College's Federal Civil Procedure Committee appointed a subcommittee to delve into the issues raised regarding the Rule during the Advisory Committee's meeting in Washington, D.C., attended by Silvestri. That subcommittee came to the conclusion that the suggested amendments are not warranted after considering letters from both individual American Bar Association members addressing suggested amendments, as well as from the National Employment Lawyers Association opposing those suggested amendments. Its view was adopted by the full Civil Procedure Committee and approved by the College's Executive Committee.

The letter can be found on the Federal Rules of Practice & Procedure section of the U.S. Courts website. The suggestion was also forwarded to the Chair of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, as well as to the Reporters of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

On April 25, Frank attended the meeting of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee in Austin, Texas for updates on a variety of significant matters, including Rule 30(b)(6). After a lengthy discussion, the Advisory Committee decided that its own Rule 30(b)(6) Subcommittee should continue its work and focus on a couple of changes that might help lawyers defuse disputes when dealing with the rule. High on the list would be a clarification that 30(b)(6) testimony does not constitute a judicial admission, and possibly a directive that contention questions to a 30(b)(6) witness are inappropriate.

Silvestri's practice is focused on representing clients in business disputes. He has litigated partnership and corporate controversies including breach of fiduciary duty, corporate governance and securities claims; unfair trade practice, business tort and antitrust claims; healthcare matters; and real property claims.

About The American College of Trial Lawyers: The American College of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only fellowship of exceptional trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds from the United States and Canada. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on important legal issues relating to its mission. The College strongly supports the independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings. To learn more visit www.actl.com.

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