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Recent Amendments to Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure 30(c) and (d)

Updated: 40 minutes ago

Effective March 14, 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court has amended Rules 30(c) and (d) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, bringing those sections generally in line with Federal Rule 30.



The amendment makes three changes.


1. Rule 30(c) provides that a deponent may refuse to answer a question posed in a deposition only:

  • to preserve a privilege or a protection against disclosure such as work product;

  • to enforce a previously established court-imposed limitation on the scope of examination; or

  • to allow a party to suspension a deposition in order to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(2).

The comments make clear that courts will rarely permit directions to a deponent not to answer a question.

 

2. Rule 30(c) now also prohibits "speaking" objections.

 

The comments note that lengthy objections and colloquy suggesting how a witness should answer the opposing party’s questions can unduly prolong and frustrate depositions. The amended rule provides that objections should be limited to those that would be waived under Rule 32 if not made – for example, objections raising grounds that might be immediately obviated, removed, or cured, such as objections to the form of a question or the responsiveness of an answer. Objections to the competency of a witness or to the competency, relevancy, or materiality of testimony need not be made at deposition to avoid waiver

 

3. Rule 30(d) now explicitly gives the trial court authority to order appropriate remedial awards and sanctions for deposition misconduct.

 

The remedies available to the court include attorney fees and costs, which may be imposed on attorneys, parties, and witnesses when they engage in deposition misconduct that unnecessarily prolongs a deposition. The comments provide that such remedial awards and sanctions may be imposed on a nonparty witness or that witness's counsel, as well as on a party or that party's counsel.


This amendment is consistent with Ex parte Hankook Tire America Corp., [Ms. SC-2023-0210, Dec. 22, 2023] So. 3d (Ala. 2023) (main opinion and special concurrence of Cook, J.).

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