Friday, March 22, 2013

Unprepared 30(b)(6) Witness Warrants Sanctions Against Defendant and Counsel

The court sanctioned both defendant and defense counsel for presenting an unprepared 30(b)(6) witness. "[Defendant's 30(b)(6) witness] came to the deposition with typewritten answers to the topics — a script apparently prepared by [defendant's] Chinese counsel. [The witness] repeatedly expressed his misunderstanding that he would not have to answer any questions (or provide any answers) 'off script.'. . . [Defendant's] decision to send [him] to the deposition armed with little knowledge beyond the notes provided by [its Chinese counsel] is indefensible. To make matters worse, [defendant] seemed oblivious to the impropriety of scripting answers for a corporate deponent. . . . Any lawyer acting with a reasonable amount of skill and diligence would have recognized that [the witness] was not the right deponent and the fault for failing to adequately prepare [him] lies with [defendant] and its counsel. Given [the witness's] complete lack of familiarity with [defendant] this Court can only surmise that the decision to put [him] forward was strategic. . . . [C]ounsel’s conduct in the deposition was objectively reckless and so egregious that it amounted to bad faith."

Aviva Sports, Inc. v. Fingerhut Direct Marketing, Inc., et. al., 0-09-cv-01091 (MND March 20, 2013, Order) (Mayeron, M.J.).

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