Deposition Notice in United States District Court–At A Glance

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and United States Code provisions related to noticing a deposition in the United States District Courts. For more detailed information, including local rules, on noticing a deposition in a specific United States District Court, please see the SmartRules Deposition Notice Guide for the court where your action is pending.

Timing:

A party may, by oral questions, depose any person, including a party, without leave of court except as provided in Rule 30(a)(2). FRCP 30(a)(1).

A nonparty deponent’s attendance may be compelled by subpoena under Rule 45. FRCP 30(a)(1).

A party must obtain leave of court, and the court must grant leave to the extent consistent with Rule 26(b)(2):

(A) if the parties have not stipulated to the deposition and:

(i) the deposition would result in more than 10 depositions being taken under this rule or Rule 31 by the plaintiffs, or by the defendants, or by the third-party defendants;

(ii) the deponent has already been deposed in the case; or

(iii) the party seeks to take the deposition before the time specified in Rule 26(d), unless the party certifies in the notice, with supporting facts, that the deponent is expected to leave the United States and be unavailable for examination in this country after that time; or

(B) if the deponent is confined in prison.

FRCP 30(a)(2).

The court must set a discovery cut-off date. FRCP 16(b)(3)(A)(eff 12/01/07).

Deposition Notice Rules:

A party who wants to depose a person by oral questions must give reasonable written notice to every other party. FRCP 30(b)(1).

The notice must state the time and place of the deposition and, if known, the deponent’s name and address. If the name is unknown, the notice must provide a general description sufficient to identify the person or the particular class or group to which the person belongs. FRCP 30(b)(1).

If a subpoena duces tecum is to be served on the deponent, the materials designated for production, as set out in the subpoena, must be listed in the notice or in an attachment. The notice to a party deponent may be accompanied by a request under Rule 34 to produce documents and tangible things at the deposition. FRCP 30(b)(2).

The party who notices the deposition must state in the notice the method for recording the testimony. Unless the court orders otherwise, testimony may be recorded by audio, audiovisual, or stenographic means. The noticing party bears the recording costs. Any party may arrange to transcribe a deposition that was taken nonstenographically. FRCP 30(b)(3).

With prior notice to the deponent and other parties, any party may designate another method for recording the testimony in addition to that specified in the original notice. That party bears the expense of the additional record or transcript unless the court orders otherwise. FRCP 30(b)(3).

The parties may stipulate – or the court may on motion order – that a deposition be taken by telephone or other remote means. For the purpose of this rule and Rules 28(a), 37(a)(2), and 37(b)(1), the deposition takes place where the deponent answers the questions. FRCP 30(b)(4).

In its notice or subpoena, a party may name as the deponent a public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, or a governmental agency, or other entity and must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination. The named organization must then designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the matters on which each person designated will testify. A subpoena must advise a nonparty organization of its duty to make this designation. The persons designated must testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization. This paragraph (6) does not preclude a deposition by any other procedure allowed by these rules. FRCP 30(b)(6).

Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a deposition is limited to 1 day of 7 hours. The court must allow additional time consistent with Rule 26(b)(2) if needed to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent, another person, or any other circumstance impedes or delays the examination. FRCP 30(d)(1).

The court may impose an appropriate sanction – including the reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by any party – on a person who impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of the deponent. FRCP 30(d)(2).

At any time during a deposition, the deponent or a party may move to terminate or limit it on the ground that it is being conducted in bad faith or in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses, or oppresses the deponent or party. The motion may be filed in the court where the action is pending or the deposition is being taken. If the objecting deponent or party so demands, the deposition must be suspended for the time necessary to obtain an order. FRCP 30(d)(3).

The court may order that the deposition be terminated or may limit its scope and manner as provided in Rule 26(c). If terminated, the deposition may be resumed only by order of the court where the action is pending. Rule 37(a)(5) applies to the award of expenses. FRCP 30(d)(3).

The party taking the deposition bears the cost of recording the deposition. Any party, at its own expense, may designate another method of recording the deposition in addition to the one chosen by the deposing party. FRCP 30(b)(3).

Every disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1) or (a)(3) and every discovery request, response, or objection must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s own name – or by the party personally, if unrepresented – and must state the signer’s address, e-mail address, and telephone number. FRCP 26(g)(1).

By signing, an attorney or party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief formed after a reasonable inquiry:

(A) with respect to a disclosure, it is complete and correct as of the time it is made; and

(B) with respect to a discovery request, response, or objection, it is:

(i) consistent with these rules and warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law, or for establishing new law;

(ii) not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation; and

(iii) neither unreasonable nor unduly burdensome or expensive, considering the needs of the case, prior discovery in the case, the amount in controversy, and the importance of the issues at stake in the action. FRCP 26(g)(1).

Other parties have no duty to act on an unsigned disclosure, request, response, or objection until it is signed, and the court must strike it unless a signature is promptly supplied after the omission is called to the attorney’s or party’s attention. FRCP 26(g)(2).

If a certification violates this rule without substantial justification, the court, on motion or on its own, must impose an appropriate sanction on the signer, the party on whose behalf the signer was acting, or both. The sanction may include an order to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, caused by the violation. FRCP 26(g)(3).

A deposition notice is not filed, unless necessary for a proceeding or on court order. FRCP 5(d).

A deposition notice must be served on all parties of an action. FRCP 30(b); FRCP 5(a).

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

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