Legal Memorandum: Deposition on Nonparties in MA

Issue: Under Rule 26 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, under what circumstances is a party entitled to take the deposition of nonparties?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Deposition on nonparties; Scope of discovery
Jurisdiction: Massachusetts
Cited Cases: 437 U.S. 340; 467 N.E.2d 143
Cited Statutes: Mass. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1)
Date: 02/01/2001

Rule 26 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure provides that parties may obtain discovery of any non-privileged matter that is relevant to the subject matter of the pending action, including the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter.  Mass. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1).  The scope of discovery is very broad.  It is not limited to issues raised by the pleadings, since discovery itself is intended to help define and clarify the issues.  E.g., Cronin v. Strayer, 392 Mass. 525, 467 N.E.2d 143, 149 (1984); accord Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978); Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 500-01 (1947). 


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