(a) When a Deposition May Be Taken.
(1) Without Leave. After commencement of the action, a party may, by oral questions, depose any person, including a party, except as provided in Rule 30 (a)(2). A non-party deponent's attendance may be compelled by subpoena under Rule 45.
(2) With Leave.(A) By Plaintiff. The plaintiff must obtain leave of court, granted with or without notice, to take a deposition less than 30 days after service of the summons and complaint on a defendant or service made under Rule 4(e). Leave is not required if:(3) Court's Discretion. The court for cause shown may enlarge or shorten the time for taking the deposition. The court may regulate at its discretion the time and order of taking depositions as will best serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interests of justice.(i) a defendant has served a deposition notice or otherwise sought discovery; or(B) Of Prisoner. A party must obtain leave of court to take the deposition of a person confined in prison. The court may specify terms for the deposition.
(ii) special notice is given under Rule 30 (b)(7).
(b) Notice of the Deposition; Other Formal Requirements.
(1) Notice in General. A party who wants to depose a person by oral questions must give reasonable written notice to every other party. The notice must state the time and place of the deposition and, if known, the deponent's name and address. If the name 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.
(2) Producing Documents. If a subpoena duces tecum is to be served a non-party deponent, the materials designated for production, as set out in the subpoena, must be listed in the notice or in an attachment. The notice to a party deponent may be accompanied by a request complying with Rule 34 to produce documents and tangible things at the deposition.
(3) Method of Recording.(A) Method Stated in the Notice. The party who notices the deposition must state in the notice the method for recording the testimony. Unless the court orders otherwise, testimony may be recorded by audio, audiovisual, or stenographic means. The noticing party bears the recording costs. Any party may arrange to transcribe a deposition.(B) Additional Method. With prior notice to the deponent and other parties, any party may designate another method for recording the testimony in addition to that specified in the original notice. That party bears the expense of the additional record or transcript unless the court orders otherwise.(4) By Remote Means. The parties may stipulate—or the court may on motion order—that a deposition be taken by telephone or other remote means.
(5) Officer's Duties.(A) Before the Deposition. Unless the parties stipulate otherwise, a deposition must be conducted before an officer appointed or designated under Rule 28. The officer may be present where the parties stipulate or the court orders. The officer must begin the deposition with an on-the-record statement that includes:(i) the officer's name and business address;(B) Conducting the Deposition; Avoiding Distortion. If the deposition is recorded nonstenographically, the officer must repeat the items in Rule 30(b)(5)(A)(i)-(iii) at the beginning of each unit of the recording medium. The deponent's and attorneys' appearance or demeanor must not be distorted through recording techniques.
(ii) the date, time, and place of the deposition;
(iii) the deponent's name;
(iv) the officer's administration of the oath or affirmation to the deponent; and
(v) the identity of all persons present.(C) After the Deposition. At the end of a deposition, the officer must state on the record that the deposition is complete and must set out any stipulations made by the attorneys about custody of the transcript or recording and of the exhibits, or about any other pertinent matters.(6) Notice or Subpoena Directed to an Organization. In its notice or subpoena, a party may name as the deponent a public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental agency, or other entity and must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination. The named organization must then designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the matters on which each person designated will testify. Before or promptly after the notice or subpoena is served, the serving party and the organization must confer in good faith about the matters for examination. A subpoena must advise a nonparty organization of its duty to confer with the serving party and to designate each person who will testify. The persons designated must testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization. This paragraph (6) does not preclude a deposition by any other procedure allowed by these rules.
(7) Special Notice. A plaintiff seeking to depose a person is not required to obtain leave of court under Rule 30(a)(2)(A) if the deposition notice:(A) states that deponent is about to leave the state and will be unavailable for a deposition unless it is taken before expiration of the 30-day period, and(B) sets forth facts to support the statement; and(C) is signed by the plaintiff's attorney.If a party shows that, when the party was served with a special notice the party was unable through the exercise of diligence to obtain counsel to represent the party at the deposition, the depositions may not be used against the party.
(c) Examination and Cross-Examination; Record of the Examination; Objections; Written Questions.
(1) Examination and Cross-Examination. The examination and cross-examination of a deponent proceed as they would at trial under the North Dakota Rules of Evidence. After putting the deponent under oath or affirmation, the officer must record the testimony by the method designated under Rule 30(b)(3)(A).
(2) Objections. An objection at the time of the examination—whether to evidence, to a party's conduct, to the officer's qualifications, to the manner of taking the deposition, or to any other aspect of the deposition—must be noted on the record, but the examination still proceeds; the testimony is taken subject to any objection. An objection must be stated concisely in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner. A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation ordered by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(2).
(3) Participating Through Written Questions. Instead of participating in the oral examination, a party may serve written questions in a sealed envelope on the party noticing the deposition, who must deliver them to the officer. The officer must ask the deponent those questions and record the answers verbatim.
(d) Sanction; Motion to Terminate or Limit.
(1) Sanction. The court may impose an appropriate sanction - including the reasonable expenses and attorney's fees incurred by any party - on a person who impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of the deponent.
(2) Motion to Terminate or Limit.(A) Grounds. At any time during a deposition, the deponent or a party may move to terminate it on the ground that it is being conducted in bad faith or in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses, or oppresses the deponent or party. The motion may be filed in the court where the action is pending or the deposition is being taken. If the objecting deponent or party so demands, the deposition must be suspended for the time necessary to obtain an order.(B) Order. The court may order that the deposition be terminated or may limit its scope and manner as provided in Rule 26(c). If terminated, the deposition may be resumed only by order of the court where the action is pending.(C) Award of Expenses. Rule 37 applies to the award of expenses.
(e) Review by Deponent; Changes.
(1) Review; Statement of Changes. On request by the deponent or a party made before the deposition is completed, the deponent must be allowed 30 days after being notified by the officer that the transcript or recording is available in which:(A) to review the transcript or recording; and(B) if there are changes in form or substance, to sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for making them.(2) Changes Indicated in the Officer's Certificate. The officer must note in the certificate prescribed by Rule 30(f)(1) whether a review was requested and, if so, must attach any changes the deponent makes during the 30-day period. If the deposition is not signed by the deponent within 30 days after its submission to the deponent, the officer shall sign it and state on the record the fact of the waiver or of the illness or absence of the deponent or the fact of the refusal to sign together with the reason, if any, given therefor; and the deposition may then be used as fully as though signed unless on a motion to suppress under Rule 32(d)(4) the court holds the reasons given for the refusal to sign require rejection of the deposition in whole or in part.
(f) Certification and Delivery; Exhibits; Copies of the Transcript or Recording; Filing.
(1) Certification and Delivery. The officer must certify in writing that the deponent was duly sworn and that the deposition accurately records the deponent's testimony. The certificate must accompany the record of the deposition. Unless the court orders otherwise, the officer must seal the deposition in an envelope or package bearing the title of the action and marked "Deposition of [deponent's name]" and must promptly send it by registered or certified mail or a traceable third-party commercial delivery service to the party or attorney who arranged for the transcript or recording. The party or attorney must store it under conditions that will protect it against loss, destruction, tampering, or deterioration.
(2) Documents and Tangible Things.(A) Originals and Copies. Documents and tangible things produced for inspection during a deposition must, on a party's request, be marked for identification and attached to the deposition. Any party may inspect and copy them. If the person who produced them wants to keep the originals, the person may:(3) Copies of the Transcript or Recording. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, the officer must retain the stenographic notes of a deposition taken stenographically or a copy of the recording of a deposition taken by another method. When paid reasonable charges, the officer must furnish a copy of the transcript or recording to any party or the deponent.(i) offer copies to be marked, attached to the deposition, and then used as originals—after giving all parties a fair opportunity to verify the copies by comparing them with the originals; or(ii) give all parties a fair opportunity to inspect and copy the originals—in which event the originals may be used as if attached to the deposition.(B) Order Regarding the Originals. Any party may move for an order that the originals be attached to the deposition pending final disposition of the case.
(g) Failure to Attend a Deposition or Serve a Subpoena; Expenses. A party who, expecting a deposition to be taken, attends in person or by an attorney may recover reasonable expenses for attending, including attorney's fees, if the noticing party failed to:
(1) attend and proceed with the deposition; or
(2) serve a subpoena on a nonparty deponent, who consequently did not attend.
Rule 30 was amended, effective March 1, 1999, to allow an original deposition transcript to be shipped via a commercial delivery service offering a traceable means of shipping similar to registered or certified mail.
Rule 30 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.
Rule 30 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to incorporate the procedures from former Rule 30.1 for taking audio-visual depositions.
Paragraph (b)(6) was amended, effective March 1, 2022, to require a party serving a deposition notice or subpoena on an organization to promptly contact the subject organization to confer about who will be designated to testify.
Subdivision (d) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to provide for sanctions against a party who impedes, delays or frustrates a deposition.
Subdivision (e) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to eliminate the requirement that the deponent review and sign the deposition. Instead, a deponent or party may review the deposition and submit a statement of changes on request.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 28, 2021, pages 22-23; January 29-30, 2009, pages 20-26; September 24-25, 1998, page 16; January 29-30, 1998, page 19; April 27-28, 1995, pages 5-7; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; November 30, 1984, pages 27-29; October 18, 1984, page 11; December 11-12, 1980, pages 1, 5-6; October 30-31, 1980, pages 11-16; November 29-30, 1979, pages 5-6; April 26-27, 1979, pages 9-14; Fed.R.Civ.P. 30.
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 4 (Persons Subject to Jurisdiction Process Service), N.D.R.Civ.P. 26 (General Provisions Governing Discovery), N.D.R.Civ.P. 27 (Depositions Before Action or Pending Appeal), N.D.R.Civ.P. 28 (Persons Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken), 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure), N.D.R.Civ.P. 31 (Depositions of Witnesses Upon Written Questions), N.D.R.Civ.P. 32 (Use of Depositions in Court Proceedings), N.D.R.Civ.P. 34 (Production of Documents and Things and Entry Upon Land for Inspection and Other Purposes), N.D.R.Civ.P. 37 (Failure to Make Discovery Sanctions), and N.D.R.Civ.P. 45 (Subpoena); N.D.R.Ev. 611 (Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation).