Preparing for a Person Most Knowledgeable Deposition
Depositions of persons most knowledgeable (PMK) from an organization or corporation, also known as a 30(b)(6) deposition based on both the federal and Arizona rules of civil procedure, can offer parties an opportunity to probe a wide range of subjects. If you’re the attorney representing the person most knowledgeable, it’s important to understand that a PMK isn’t like a regular eyewitness deposition; in fact, your client may not have first-hand knowledge of the subjects about which they’re expected to testify until they begin preparing for the deposition itself.
If you’ve never defended a PMK, read on for some guidelines on how to prepare a corporate representative for a deposition of a person most knowledgeable. Contact professional Arizona court reporting services for additional help in arranging your person most knowledgeable deposition in Phoenix and surrounding areas.
Preparing a witness for a PMK
Narrow the scope of the deposition in advance
Notice of a deposition for a person most knowledgeable will often include requests for witnesses who can testify on behalf of the company on broad subjects, such as “employee policies” or “manufacturing.” This leaves your witness open to answering questions on a broad range of subjects, with their answers potentially being used as the official position of the corporation. Be sure to object to overbroad deposition notices, and propose the production of witnesses who can testify to alternate, more limited subject areas.
Failing to prepare could lead to sanctions
Most responsible attorneys will make sure that their witness prepares for a deposition by discussing the subject of their proposed testimony and the questions they can expect to answer, but a PMK requires greater preparation than the witness simply reviewing their own past experiences. A PMK must come prepared to speak on behalf of the corporation on the topics noticed in the deposition. If the witness appears ill-prepared during the deposition or must repeatedly explain that they do not know the answers to reasonable questions on the noticed subjects, your opponent is likely to seek sanctions and another opportunity to depose yet another of the corporation’s employees.
Sufficient preparation could entail research beyond materials that the corporation has on hand, including materials “reasonably available” to the organization. If no one who currently works at the company can testify adequately to the subject of the PMK, you may need to include conversations with past employees as part of your deposition preparation.
Be thoughtful when choosing materials with which to prepare the witness
During the deposition, the taking attorney will ask the witness how they prepared for the deposition and what materials they used. Deposition preparation may involve reviewing corporate documents that the witness may not have ever read or interviewing other employees who have more first-hand experience with some facet of the deposition subject. While preparation should be extensive, make sure that any facts or materials you use to prepare the witness are things you’d be comfortable with the witness describing during the deposition. Facts that the witness learned from an attorney who investigated issues in the case are not privileged, though the attorney’s strategy or opinions likely are.
If you need seasoned and professional court reporting services in Arizona, contact the Phoenix offices of Ottmar & Associates for all your deposition or hearing needs at 602-485-1488, or toll-free at 866-485-1444.