District of Minnesota Does Not Require Deposed Entity to Identify Topics on Which Each 30(b)(6) Witness Will Testify


On June 23, 2020, Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer denied plaintiffs' motion to compel defendant to identify the topics on which each Rule 30(b)(6) witness would testify because the language used in Rule 30(b)(6) "reflects a deliberate choice to make any such advance disclosure voluntary." Grupo Petrotemex, SA DE CV et al v. Polymetrix AG, No. 0-16-cv-02401, at 4 (D.Minn. June 23, 2020).

Plaintiff Grupo Petrotemex SA DE CV ("GPT/DAK") sought to compel defendant Polymetrix AG ("Polymetrix") to identify the topics on which each Rule 30(b)(6) witness intended to testify at least one week before the depositions.

Magistrate Judge Bowbeer denied the motion to compel, finding that requiring the Court to mandate advance disclosure would overstep the Court's boundaries. In support of her conclusion, Magistrate Judge Bowbeer emphasized that the conclusion was proper given the potential sanctions for failure to present a properly prepared witness and the likelihood that preparation may not be completed until shortly before depositions begin. Id. at 4.

Magistrate Judge Bowbeer also noted that parties are required to "identify clearly and unequivocally all of the topics about which he or she has been designated to testify" at the beginning of the deposition. Id. (emphasis in original). Moreover, the party noticing the 30(b)(6) deposition has the right to set the order in which it will conduct the deposition on those topics, "even if that means that witnesses may have to make multiple appearances as their respective topics come up." Id. at 4-5.

Authors: Joseph Herriges, Veena Tripathi, Brianna Chamberlin