(a) When a Deposition May Be Taken.
(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 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 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. 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.
(b) Delivery to the Officer; Officer's Duties. 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.
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.
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.
CROSS REFERENCE: 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 (Subpoena); N.D.R.Ev. 611 (Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation).