RULE 31. DEPOSITIONS
OF WITNESSES UPON BY WRITTEN
Serving questions-Notice When a
Deposition May Be Taken. After commencement of an action, any party may take the
testimony of any person,
including a party, by deposition upon written questions. The attendance of witnesses may
be compelled by the use of subpoena as provided in Rule 45. The deposition of a person
confined in prison may be taken only by leave of court on such terms as the court
(1) Without Leave. After an action commences, a party may, by written questions, depose any person, including a party, without leave of court except as provided in Rule 31(a)(2). A non-party deponent's attendance may be compelled by subpoena under Rule 45.
(2) With Leave. A party must obtain leave of court for a deposition by written questions if the deponent is confined in prison.
(3) Service Required; Notice.
A party desiring to take a deposition upon
written questions shall serve them upon every
other party with a notice stating (1) the name and address of the person who is to answer
them, if known, and if the name
is not known, a general description sufficient to identify the person or the particular class or
group to which the person belongs, and (2) the name or descriptive title and address of the officer
before whom the deposition is
to be taken.
A party who wants to depose a person by written questions must serve them on every party, with a notice stating, if known, the deponent's name and address. If the name and address is unknown, the notice must provide a general description sufficient to identify the person or the particular class or group to which the person belongs. The notice must also state the name or descriptive title and the address of the officer before who the deposition will be taken.
(4) Questions Directed to an Organization.
A deposition upon written questions may be taken of a
public or private corporation or a
partnership or association or governmental agency in accordance with the provisions of Rule
A public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental agency, or any other organization may be deposed by written questions in accordance with Rule 30(b)(6).
(5) Questions From Other Parties.
Within 14 days after the notice and written
questions are served, a party may serve cross-questions upon all other parties. Within 7 days after
being served with cross-questions, a
party may serve redirect questions upon all other parties. Within 7 days after being served
with redirect questions, a party may serve recross questions upon all other parties. The court
for cause shown may enlarge or shorten the time.
Any questions to the deponent from other parties must be served on all parties as follows: cross-questions, within 14 days after being served with the notice and direct questions; redirect questions, within 7 days after being served with cross-questions; and recross-questions, within 7 days after being served with redirect questions. The court may, for good cause, extend and shorten these times.
Officer to take responses and prepare
record Delivery to the Officer; Officer's Duties. A copy of the notice and copies of all questions served
must be delivered by the party
noticing the deposition to the officer designated in the notice, who shall proceed promptly,
in the manner provided by Rule 30(c), (e), and (f), to take the testimony of the witness in
response to the questions and to prepare and certify the deposition and deliver it or send it
by registered or certified mail or a traceable third-party commercial delivery service to the
party noticing the deposition.
The party who noticed the deposition must deliver to the officer a copy of all the questions served and of the notice. The officer must promptly proceed in the manner provided in Rule 30 (c), (e) and (f) to:
(1) take the deponent's testimony in response to the questions;
(2) prepare and certify the deposition; and
(3) send it to the party, attaching a copy of the questions and of the notice.
(c) Notice of filing. [Deleted.] EXPLANATORY
Rule 31 was amended, effective March 1, 1986; March 1, 1990; March 1, 1997; March 1, 1999; March 1, 2011.
Rule 31 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
Subdivision (b) was amended, effective March 1, 1999, to
allow a deposition to be sent via
a commercial delivery service offering a traceable means of shipping similar to registered or
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 29-30,
2009, pages 26-27; January
29-30, 1998, page 19; September 28-29, 1995, page 12; April 20, 1989, page 2; December
3, 1987, page 11; November 29, 1984, page 8; November 29-30, 1979, page 6;
Fed.R.Civ.P. 31, FRCivP. Statutes Affected: Superseded: N.D.R.C. 1943 §§ 31-0506,
N.D.R.Civ.P. 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure),
N.D.R.Civ.P. 30 (Depositions Upon Oral Examination), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 45
N.D.R.Civ.P.; Rule N.D.R.Ev. 611 (Mode and
Order of Interrogation and Presentation) ,