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Alexander v. F.B.I.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Alexander sought to designate another witness under FRCP 30(b)(6) when the original witness designated by the FBI was not deemed suitable by the plaintiff’s standards.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A party may not compel a government agency to designate a substitute deponent if the original deponent was adequate.

    Facts.

    Alexander sued the FBI for turning over FBI filed regarding White House appointees in the Bush administration to the Executive Office of the President (EOP). Alexander requested that the EOP designate a deponent to testify about video and surveillance recording in the White House under FRCP 30(b)(6). John Dakowski, the director of White House Operation, was designated to testify and Alexander tried to compel the FBI to designate another witness.

    Issue.

    Whether a party may compel a government agency to designate a substitute deponent in compliance with FRCP 30(b)(6) if the original deponent was adequate?

    Held.

    No. Alexander’s request for re-designation is denied. Dankowski was the director of operations in charge of purchasing and was aware of the goods used for surveillance in the White House. Dankowski’s inadequate testimony regarding regarding the voicemail system between 1992-1994 is not enough to designate a new witness for deposition.

    Discussion.

    FRCP 30(b)(6) permits a party to subpoena a governmental agency with adequate notice and reasonable particularity. The agency is required to: (1) ensure the deponent is knowledgeable about the subject; (2) designate additional deponent to address the remainder of the inquiry; (3) ensure the deponent is prepared to testify on all subject matter that is reasonably known by the agency; (4) provide a substitute deponent if the original deponent is inadequate.


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