Login

Login

To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library

Add

Search

Login
Register

Alexander v. F.B.I

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Alexander and other individuals brought suit against the FBI. Alexander and the other individuals moved to compel the FBI to elect a different deponent on the grounds that the selected deponent, Dankowski, was not knowledgeable or experience to speak on the matters.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    If a deponent, who was knowledgeable on the subject matter and adequately prepared on the subject matter at issue, was previously designated by a governmental agency for the deposition, a party may not compel the agency to designate a substitute, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6).

    Facts.

    Alexander and other individuals instigated an action against  the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Executive Office of the President (EOP) on the grounds that the FBI had violated their privacy rights when they wrongfully turning over FBI files of prior White House appointees and employees of both Reagan and Bush administrations to the EOP. Alexander and the other individuals demanded with reasonable particularity that the EOP elect a deponent to appear and give testimony on its behalf under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 30(b)(6) about the recordings, both the audio and video, as well as the surveillance systems in the White House. Subsequently, Director of White House Operations John Dankowski, was designated to testify. Dankowski had 12 years of experience and supervised all purchasing. Once Dankowski’s deposition was complete, Alexander and the other individuals motioned to compel the EOP to re-elect a FRCP 30(b)(6) witness and pay the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and costs. Further, Alexander and the other individuals contend that Dankowski lacked knowledge on surveillance systems, thus, was not qualified to testify; failed to effectively prepare for the deposition, besides referring political appointees; was not experienced the a secret surveillance department; and did not effectively respond to questions involving the existence of a White House voicemail recording system from 1992–1994.

    Issue.

    Whether a deponent, who was knowledgeable on the subject matter and adequately prepared on the subject matter at issue, was previously designated by a governmental agency for the deposition, a party may compel the agency to designate a substitute, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6).

    Held.

    No, a deponent, who was knowledgeable on the subject matter and adequately prepared on the subject matter at issue, was previously designated by a governmental agency for the deposition, a party may not compel the agency to designate a substitute, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6).

    Discussion.

    Pursuant to FRCP 30(b)(6), a party may give notice to testify by subpoena to a governmental agency so long as the testimony is on matters described with reasonable particularity. When the party seeking testimony meets the burden, governmental agencies must elect one or more individuals to testify about the matter. When electing the individual to testify the agency must make a selection based on the individual’s knowledge on the subject matter. Also, the agency must select additional individuals to testify if necessary to make sure that all inquiries into the subject matter can be inquired.  Further, the agency must verify that the deponent is prepared to testify on all matters based on the information the agency knows, not personal information, and the agency must have a substitute just in case the first selection is inadequate. In this case, Alexander and the other individuals contend that Dankowski is an inadequate witness. The court does not find this argument to be persuasive because Dankowski, the director of operation in control of purchasing, would know about any goods or services purchased to manage the White House surveillance. Further, Dankowski, a man with 12 years of experience, examined relevant records, and discussed with others to prepare for the deposition. It is irrelevant to inquire into the political affiliations of the individuals he consulted. Moreover, Alexander and the other individuals have not introduced any evidence of a secret surveillance department. Nevertheless, Dankowski’s testimony involving the voicemail system in the White House between 1992–1994 was ineffective and not sufficient to require the designation of another witness for a new deposition. The court denies Alexander’s motion to compel, but allows Alexander and the other individuals to inquire further in the form of interrogatories.


    Create New Group

      Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following