United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
JONATHAN E. HAWLEY, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court due to a dispute between the
parties concerning the amount of time appropriate for the
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of
the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). The DCMA designed
Jerry Conry for the deposition, which took place on January
12, 2017. That deposition lasted 6 hours and 20 minutes.
Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. (“KBR”)
sought from the government additional time to continue the
deposition of Conry, and the government offered it four
additional hours of deposition time. Believing only four
additional hours to still be insufficient, the parties raised
this dispute with the Court at a status hearing held on
January 23, 2017. At that hearing, the Court directed the
parties to file briefs laying out their respective positions,
and, the parties having done as directed, the matter is now
ripe for a ruling. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
grants KBR's request for additional time to depose Mr.
Conry to the extent that it may do so for one additional
7-hour day and denies the government's request that the
Court grant no additional time for the deposition.
Rule of Civil Procedure 30(d)(1), imposes a limit on all
depositions of one day for up to seven hours. However, the
Rule also provides that that “[t]he court must allow
additional time consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2) if
needed to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent,
another person, or any other circumstance impedes or delays
the examination.” F.R.C.P. 30(d)(1). Rule 26, in turn,
provides for discovery of “any non-privileged matter
that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case.” KBR argues that
additional time is warranted here because the DCMA, in its
opinion, is the single most important government agency in
the case, the agency shifted its position on a critical issue
in the case, and the case in general is complex involving a
government allegation of fraud in the range of $150, 000,
000. The government, on the other hand, argues that KBR
previously deposed Conry in his individual capacity in a
separate but related administrative proceeding for 2.5 days.
They argue that there is considerable overlap between the
topics covered in those previous depositions and the topics
for the 30(b)(6) deposition. Moreover, according to the
government, KBR elected to use much of its time for the
30(b)(6) deposition in re-deposing Conry on topics previously
covered in the other depositions and should not now be
rewarded for its choice to do so.
parties' arguments have some merit. On the one hand,
somewhat unique in this case, KBR had the opportunity to
depose Conry previously-albeit in an individual capacity-and
chose to cover some old ground at the 30(b)(6) deposition. On
the other hand, there is no question that this case is a very
complex, high stakes case with the DCMA and Conry critical to
an important issue in the case, i.e. whether cost
data was required to resolve the First Kuwaiti Trading
Company “Requests for Equitable Adjustment.”
Indeed, this very issue was the subject of a previous,
protracted discovery dispute among the parties. (D. 88-89,
94, Minute Entry of 9/22/2015).
the importance of the issues about which Conry's
deposition must cover, their complexity, and the volume of
documentary evidence related to them, the Court finds that
more than the default 7-hour limit on the deposition is
necessary to “fairly examine” Conry. F.R.C.P.
30(d)(1). However, given KBR's previous opportunities to
depose Conry and its choice of how to use the time it has
already spent on the deposition, an open-ended timeline to
complete Conry's deposition is unreasonable and would
give KBR no incentive to “be selective and carefully
decide how to apportion [its] time.” Sulfuric Acid
Antitrust Lit., 230 F.R.D. 527, 532 (N.D. Ill. 2005). As
an alternative, KBR requests at least 2 additional deposition
days, but here too the Court finds the request is
unreasonable; tripling the default limit for a deposition
where KBR has already spent a total of 3.5 days deposing
Conry is excessively burdensome on the witness.
the Court finds that one additional, 7-hour day to complete
Conry's deposition strikes the appropriate balance
between KBR's need to “fairly examine” him
and Rule 30(d)(1)'s goal of preventing “overlong
depositions” and the costs and delays caused therefrom.
See F.R.C.P. 30, 2000 Amendment advisory committee
notes. Such a limitation will give KBR the additional time it
needs to address the issues on which Conry will have
information, while also encouraging it to use its time wisely
and select its questions carefully. Of course, the government
should also ensure that Conry is adequately prepared to
address the topics for the 30(b)(6) deposition so that time
is not wasted.
final matter, KBR requests leave to seek additional time if
“further unwarranted delays [during the deposition]
occur.” KBR, however, does not need leave of the Court
to file an appropriate motion under Rule 30 should it believe
there is a factual and legal basis for doing so. Moreover,
given the extent to which opposing counsel in this case have
heretofore striven to resolve issues independently without
Court intervention and the good faith which all counsel have
exhibited thus far while engaging in discovery, the Court
believes the possibility that any such motion would be
necessary is slight.
 The parties are, of course, very
familiar with the factual and procedural background in this
case, which has been pending since November of 2012.
Accordingly, the Court will only discuss those facts ...