By Jim Kytle
Originally published in the July 2017 issue of Trial News, the monthly newspaper of the Washington State Association for Justice.
In the last few years, trial lawyers have received some real gifts of knowledge from experienced practitioners who have been willing to share their wisdom in some great books and videos. The book reviewed here and video are wonderful additions to the knowledge we all need as trial lawyers.
“A great case needs great evidence. But you can’t get great evidence if your opponent has it locked up. A well–crafted 30(b)(6) deposition unlocks the door.” 30(b)(6) Deposing Corporations, Organizations & the Government ch 7.
Mr. Kosieradzki has thoroughly researched and learned to utilize the 30(b)(6) deposition. He shows us how to make what might seem an otherwise extraordinarily complicated case with numerous depositions into one that is manageable and that results in a corporation, organization or government being bound by their witnesses’ testimony. In other words, he shows you that when carefully planned, taking a 30(b)(6) deposition can be an art form that will transform your case into a tightly bound evidentiary winner.
Rule 30(b)(6) requires the organization to prepare and designate a witness or witnesses to speak on behalf of the entity. Unlike taking the deposition of an officer or director whose knowledge may be limited, a 30(b)(6) deposition is the knowledge of the entity itself, as to the issues you have designated in your notice. The designee must not only testify about facts within the corporation’s knowledge, but also its subjective beliefs and opinions... its interpretation of documents and events.
Mr. Kosieradzki takes you step by step through preparing your notice, dealing with objections, and filing motions if the entity fails to properly comply. He also provides copious case citations for support on just about any issue your opponent might raise.
The author also weaves into his use of the 30(b)(6) other books such as Advanced Depositions Strategy and Practice by Philip H. Miller and Paul J. Scoptur (Portland Trial Guides 2013) and Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability, 2nd ed. (Portland Trial Guides, 2010) to assist in planning for the proof you will need to establish your case and to find the villain or villains of your story.
The author shows you how a 30(b)(6) can be taken regarding affirmative defenses. This can be very helpful, for example, in a case where your opponent asserts numerous defenses and provides thousands and thousands of documents for you to try and figure out which documents relate to which defense. He teaches you how to force your opposition to not only reveal the facts but also the documents that they are relying on for their defenses.
Mr. Kosieradzki also shows us how to take a 30(b)(6), 30(b)(2) and 34 deposition to untangle the “dump-truck” document production. “The document deposition ensures that all parties have the same documents, with the same Bates numbers, and the same exhibit numbers.” 30(b)(6) at 175.
All in all, this is an indispensable book for all no matter what your level of experience is as a trial lawyer.
The video is a lively seminar. It complements the book very well. It is clear that Mr. Kosieradzki is passionate about this subject. He has riddled the video with case citations and wisdom from his vast experience in taking these kinds of depositions. He has examples of how he has used the 30(b)(6) in a variety of cases – nursing homes, trucking, real estate, premises liability, etc. He also has clips from video depositions that he has taken to show us how he has used the 30(b)(6) to bind the opponent entity.
I highly recommend both the book and video.
To purchase both together with a 10% discount:
To purchase individually:
James Kytle, EAGLE member, is a partner at Mann & Kytle, PLLC in Seattle where he handles major injury and employment cases with his wife, Mary Ruth Mann.