What happens when a litigant wants to determine the facts about an organization’s policies and procedures concerning electronically stored information, e-discovery and information technology? US Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) provides a convenient tool to obtain testimony about these and other organizational practices and the vehicle by which an organization takes a position on relevant, sometimes controversial issues.
Rule 30 (b)(6) allows a party to "name as the deponent a public or private" organization "and must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination." The organization is required to designate one of its employees or "other persons who consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the matters on which each person designated will testify." The persons who are designated "must testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization."
E-discovery fortifies role of "30(b)(6) witnesses"
E-discovery has given a whole new life to this investigative and discovery tool for the power that it gives to examine the policies and procedures of an organization concerning the electronically stored information, or ESI, that its units and employees originate, store, delete, move and produce. It is not uncommon for entire seminars and conference panels to be devoted exclusively to selecting, preparing, interrogating and cross-examining what are now commonly known as "30(b)(6) witnesses."