John Guttmann Testifies on Proposed Amendments to Witness Rule

Principal John S. Guttmann (Washington, DC) is scheduled to testify on February 8 before the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules on proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6). He has already submitted written comments on the proposed amendments. The Rule allows a corporation or other entity to designate a witness to testify on the organization’s behalf and requires that the designated witness be able to testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization.

"Rule 30(b)(6) depositions streamline discovery," John stated in written testimony submitted to the Committee. "They can help focus cases on the critical questions by enabling the parties to deal with issues that are not in dispute during early discovery."

With respect to the proposed amendment to add a meet-and-confer process about the identity of 30(b)(6) witnesses, John notes, "The rule as it exists today, and as it is proposed to be amended, leaves the decision as to the identity of the 30(b)(6) witness to the party that will be bound by his or her testimony. That is as it should be. A mandatory meet and confer process about the identity of the witnesses would, however, be used in many cases to undercut the producing party's choice."

John is a National Director of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) - The Voice of the Defense Bar. He previously chaired DRI's Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee. He concentrates his practice on high-stakes toxic tort, product liability, and environmental litigation. Over the course of his 38-year career as a litigator, John has litigated in over two dozen federal and state courts around the United States. His practice includes cases in multi-district litigation in which Rule 30(b)(6) depositions are used extensively.

Click here for a complete text of the written comments, including suggestions for how Rule 30(b)(6) could be improved.