Have a look at an older post we did about designating individuals to sit for depositions as the representative(s) of a business entity (whether a corporation, partnership, or other kind of business entity). It’s kind of important.
As tempting as it might be to designate witnesses like these three chimps, pictured above, who heard nothing, saw nothing, and say nothing, the temptation should be avoided.
The requirements for deposition representatives of business entities (whether Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6), Minn. R. Civ P. 30.02(f), or your state’s equivalent) are neither complicated nor optional. Lawyers must prepare 30(b)(6) witnesses to testify on designated topics.
If you are a civil litigator, and in the deposition of your client’s corporate representative, the deponent answers: “I have never seen the deposition notice or this list of topics” (see here at p. 8) or, in response to the question, “What did you do to prepare for this deposition?” answers, “Nothing, really,” (see here at p. 16) you have not done your job.
Enter (re-enter) Prairie River Home Care v. Procura, our most recent poster-child in how NOT to defend a lawsuit (see the linked brief seeking sanctions here).
Whenever we see such catastrophic litigation maneuvers, we ask ourselves how one might distribute responsibility as between the client or the lawyers. It is impossible to know for sure. We note, here, that Procura seems to have parted ways with its lawyers and moved on to other lawyers but this information is not conclusive of the blame question by any means. We will never know.
Regardless, one thing we know with certainty: there is no benefit or reasonable strategy to producing an uninformed or uncooperative chimp in U.S. civil litigation. It simply cannot end well.