Mary Pat Thynge: Prepare Your 30(b)(6) Witness or Face Sanctions

A recent sanctions order issued by Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge reaffirms a basic discovery principle: the 30(b)(6) witness must be prepared, regardless of the size and resources of the entity for whom the witness speaks.

In yesterday’s order, the Court awarded $15,000 in fees and costs to the deposing party, in part to compensate for the second deposition necessitated by the ill-prepared witness. By doing so, the Court noted, but ultimately ignored, the proffering entity’s small size:

“[W]hat is also abundantly clear[ ] is that plaintiffs are two small corporations with essentially three people at the helm, whose division of responsibility at times is blurred and not clearly defined . . . . To some extent, plaintiffs are slightly a cut above a ‘mom and pop’ operation. . . . However, that does not excuse representing an individual . . . as being proficient and knowledgeable to testify on numerous topics, when her acquaintance with certain areas was very limited or non-existent.”

Innovative Patents L.L.C. v. Brain-Pad Inc., C.A. No. 07-680-MPT (D. Del. Nov. 4, 2009) (Thynge, M.J.).

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