RULE 27. DEPOSITIONS BEFORE ACTION OR PENDING APPEAL
(a) Before action.
A person who desires to perpetuate testimony regarding any matter or to investigate a potential claim or suit may file a verified petition in the district court of the county of the residence of any expected adverse party. The petition must be entitled in the name of the petitioner and show: (i) that the petitioner expects to be a party to an action but is presently unable to bring it or cause it to be brought, (ii) the subject matter of the expected action and the petitioner's interest therein, (iii) the facts the petitioner desires to establish by the proposed testimony and the reasons for desiring to perpetuate it, (iv) the names or a description of the persons the petitioner expects will be adverse parties and their addresses so far as known, and (v) the names and addresses of the persons to be examined and the substance of the testimony which the petitioner expects to elicit from each, and shall ask for an order authorizing the petitioner to take the depositions of the persons to be examined named in the petition, for the purpose of perpetuating their testimony.
(2) Notice and service.
At least 20 days before the hearing date, the petitioner must serve each expected adverse party with a copy of the petition and a notice stating the time and place of the hearing. The notice may be served either inside or outside the state in the manner provided in N.D.R.Civ.P. 4. If that service cannot be made with due diligence on an expected adverse party, the court may order service by publication or otherwise. The court must appoint an attorney to represent persons not served in the manner provided in N.D.R.Civ.P. 4 and to cross-examine the deponent if an unserved person is not otherwise represented. N.D.R.Civ.P. 17(b) applies if any expected adverse party is a minor or is incompetent.
(3) Order and examination.
If the court is satisfied that the perpetuation of the testimony may prevent a failure or delay of justice, it shall make an order designating or describing the persons whose depositions may be taken and specifying the subject matter of the examination and whether the depositions shall be taken upon oral examination or written interrogatories. The depositions may then be taken in accordance with these rules; and the court may make orders of the character provided for by Rules 34 and 35. For the purpose of applying these rules to depositions for perpetuating testimony, each reference therein to the court in which the action is pending shall be deemed to refer to the court in which the petition for such deposition was filed.
(4) Use of deposition.
If a deposition to perpetuate testimony is taken under these rules or if, although not so taken, it would be admissible in evidence in the courts of the United States or of the state in which it is taken, it may be used in any action involving the same subject matter subsequently brought in a district court of this state, in accordance with the provisions of Rule 32(a).
(b) Pending appeal.
If an appeal has been taken from a judgment of a district court or before the taking of an appeal if the time therefor has not expired, the district court in which the judgment was rendered may allow the taking of the depositions of witnesses to perpetuate their testimony for use in the event of further proceedings in the district court. In that case, the party who desires to perpetuate testimony may make a motion in the district court for leave to take the depositions, upon the same notice and service thereof as if the action was pending in the district court. The motion must show (i) the names and addresses of persons to be examined and the substance of the testimony which the party expects to elicit from each, and (ii) the reasons for perpetuating their testimony. If the court finds that the perpetuation of the testimony is proper to avoid a failure or delay of justice, it may make an order allowing the depositions to be taken and may make orders of the character provided for by Rules 34 and 35. Thereupon, the depositions may be taken and used in the same manner and under the same conditions as are prescribed in these rules for depositions taken in actions pending in the district court.
(c) Perpetuation by action.
This rule does not limit the power of a court to entertain an action to perpetuate testimony.
Rule 27 was amended, effective March 1, 1990; March 1, 2007;_____________.
This rule is an adaptation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 27, with only minor changes to conform to the court system of North Dakota.
Paragraph (a)(1) was amended, effective _____________, to allow persons to use Rule 27 discovery methods to investigate a potential claim or suit.
Paragraph (a)(2) was amended, effective March 1, 2007. The language and organization of the paragraph were changed to make it more easily understood.
Rule 27 was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendments are technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of _______________; January 26, 2006, page 12; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; September 20-21, 1979, page 19; Fed.R.Civ.P. 27.
Superseded: N.D.R.C. 1943 §§ 31-0201, 31-0206, 31-0701, 31-0702, 31-0703, 31-0704, 31-0705, 31-0709, 31-0712, 31-0713, 31-0715.
Cross Reference: Rules 4 (Persons Subject to Jurisdiction - Process - Service), 17 (Parties Plaintiff and Defendant - Capacity), 30 (Depositions Upon Oral Examination), 32 (Use of Depositions in Court Proceedings), 34 (Production of Documents and Things and Entry Upon Land for Inspection and Other Purposes), and 35 (Physical and Mental Examination of Persons), N.D.R.Civ.P.