Legal Memorandum: Deposing a Corporate Designee in MO

Issue: Under Missouri law, when may a party seek to depose a corporate designee?

Area of Law: Corporate & Securities, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Corporate designee; Deposition
Jurisdiction: Federal, Missouri
Cited Cases: 219 S.W.3d 763; 95 F. Supp. 2d 1155
Cited Statutes: Mo. R. Civ. P. 57.03(b)(4), Rule 57(b)(4); Mo. R. Civ. P. 56.01(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6)
Date: 12/01/2013

Rule 57(b)(4) provides that a party serving a deposition notice on a corporation must “describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested.”  Mo. R. Civ. P. 57.03(b)(4).  The corporation, in turn, “shall designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or other persons . . . to testify on its behalf . . . .”  Id.  Then corporate designees “shall testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the organization.”  Id. (emphasis added).  “The corporation . . . must not only produce such number of persons as will satisfy the request, but more importantly, prepare them so that they may give complete, knowledgeable and binding answers on behalf of the corporation.”  Starlight Int’l Inc. v. Herlihy, 186 F.R.D. 626, 638 (D. Kan. 1999).  The corporate designee’s testimony on the topics identified in the notice are admissible against, and will be binding on, the corporate party.  See State ex rel. Reif v. Jamison, 271 S.W.3d 549, 551 (Mo. banc 2008). 

In determining whether a topic listed in a Rule 57.03(b)(4) notice is too broad and not stated with “reasonable particularity,” the rule does not require exact precision as to how a topic is described.

The rule . . . requires that the matters to be covered be identified with “reasonable particularity.”  By their very nature, the topics identified will be stated more broadly than an interrogatory, a request for an admission or any other specific form of discovery. In determining if a topic is overly broad, the only questions are whether the topic […]

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