District Court Sanctions Party For Poor Preparation By Rule 30(b)(6) Witness

CITGO PETROLEUM CORPORATION v. SEACHEM, Dist. Court, SD Texas 2013 – Google Scholar.

Rule 30(b)(6) allows a litigant to depose an organization through a representative. The notice asks the other party to provide a witness who can testify on certain topics. Here, the District Court granted sanctions because the witness was poorly prepared and the other party, Citgo, had to incur expense to find the answers to the questions it asked. The court found that the parent company, YPF, was “intentionally shielding itself” from certain knowledge about the affairs of an affiliate.

The issue here – how much work you have to do to prepare the 30(b)(6) witness comes up frequently. The rule is designed to allow the company to propose one witness who can testify on many topics. The company can also use several deponents to answer the questions. The idea is to reduce the number of depositions and reduce litigation costs.

Here sanctions issued not because of poor preparation, but because the court concluded that the company prepared the witness poorly to avoid disclosing information.

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

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