Rule 31 – Depositions by written questions
(through July 14, 2022)
(a) When a Deposition May Be Taken. (1) Without Leave. A party may, by written questions, depose any person, including a party, without leave of court except as provided in Rule 31(a)(2). The deponent’s attendance may be compelled by subpoena under Rule 45. (2) With Leave. A party must obtain leave of court, and the court must grant leave to the extent consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2): (A) if the parties have not stipulated to the deposition and: (i) the deposition would result in more than 10 depositions being taken under this rule or Rule 30 by the plaintiffs, or by the defendants, or by the third-party defendants; (ii) the deponent has already been deposed in the case; or (iii) the party seeks to take a deposition before the time specified in Rule 26(d); or (B) if the deponent is confined in prison. (3) Service; Required Notice. A party who wants to depose a person by written questions must serve them on every other party, with a notice stating, if known, the deponent’s name and address. If the name is unknown, the notice must provide a general description sufficient to identify the person or the particular class or group to which the person belongs. The notice must also state the name or descriptive title and the address of the officer before whom the deposition will be taken. (4) Questions Directed to an Organization. A public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, or a governmental agency may be deposed by written questions in accordance with Rule 30(b)(6). (5) Questions from Other Parties. Any questions to the deponent from other parties must be served on all parties as follows: cross-questions, within 14 days after being served with the notice and direct questions; redirect questions, within 7 days after being served with cross-questions; and recross-questions, within 7 days after being served with redirect questions. The court may, for good cause, extend or shorten these times.
(b) Delivery to the Officer; Officer’s Duties. The party who noticed the deposition must deliver to the officer a copy of all the questions served and of the notice. The officer must promptly proceed in the manner provided in Rule 30(c), (e), and (f) to: (1) take the deponent’s testimony in response to the questions; (2) prepare and certify the deposition; and (3) send it to the party, attaching a copy of the questions and of the notice.
(c) Notice of Completion or Filing. (1) Completion. The party who noticed the deposition must notify all other parties when it is completed. (2) Filing. A party who files the deposition must promptly notify all other parties of the filing.
Selected Committee Notes
The language of Rule 31 has been amended as part of the general restyling of the Civil Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.
The party who noticed a deposition on written questions must notify all other parties when the deposition is completed, so that they may make use of the deposition. A deposition is completed when it is recorded and the deponent has either waived or exercised the right of review under Rule 30(e)(1).