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Superior Court Civil Rules Table of Contents

RULES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE APPLICABLE IN CIVIL ACTIONS

CIVIL RULES 1 TO 54

V.  DISCOVERY

Rule 26. Depositions

(a)  A party may take as many depositions as necessary to adequately prepare a case for trial so long as the combined total of deposition hours does not exceed 20 unless otherwise stipulated by counsel or ordered by the court for good cause shown.

(b)  No notice to the adverse party of the taking of depositions shall be deemed reasonable unless served at least 3 days, exclusive of the day of service and the day of caption, before the day on which they are to be taken. Provided, however, that 20 days’ notice shall be deemed reasonable in all cases, unless otherwise ordered by the court.  No deposition shall be taken within 30 days after service of the Complaint, except by agreement or by leave of court for good cause shown.

(c)  Every notice of a deposition to be taken within the State shall contain the name of the stenographer proposed to record the testimony.

(d)  When a statute requires notice of the taking of depositions to be given to the adverse party, it may be given to such party or the party’s representative of record.  In cases where the action is in the name of a nominal party and the Complaint or docket discloses the real party in interest, notice shall be given either to the party in interest or that party’s attorney of record.  Notices given pursuant to this rule may be given by mail or by service in hand.  If a subpoena duces tecum is to be served on the deponent, the notice to the adverse party must be served before service of the subpoena, and the materials designated for production, as set out in the subpoena, must be listed in the notice or in an attachment.

(e)  The interrogatories shall be put by the attorneys or non-attorney representatives and the interrogatories and answers shall be taken in shorthand or other form of verbatim reporting approved by the court and transcribed by a competent stenographer agreed upon by the parties or their attorneys present at the deposition.  In the absence of such agreements, the stenographer shall be designated by the court.  Failure to object in writing to a stenographer in advance of the taking of a deposition shall be deemed agreement to the stenographer recording the testimony.

(f)  No deposition, as transcribed, shall be changed or altered, but any alleged errors may be set forth in a separate document attached to the original and copies.

(g)  The stenographer shall cause to be noted any objection to any interrogatory or answer without deciding its competency.  If complaint is made of interference with any witness, the stenographer shall cause such complaint to be noted and shall certify the correctness or incorrectness thereof in the caption.

(h)  Upon motion, the court may order the filing of depositions, and, upon failure to comply with such order, the court may take such action as justice may require.

(i)  The signature of a person outside the State, acting as an officer legally empowered to take depositions or affidavits, with his or her seal affixed, where one is required, to the certificate of an oath administered by him or her in the taking of affidavits or depositions, will be prima facie evidence of his or her authority so to act.

(j)  The deponent, on deposition or on written interrogatory, shall ordinarily be required to answer all questions not subject to privilege or excused by the statute relating to depositions, and it is not grounds for refusal to answer a particular question that the testimony would be inadmissible at the trial if the testimony sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and does not violate any privilege.

(k)  If any deponent refuses to answer any question propounded on deposition, or any party fails or refuses to answer any written interrogatory authorized by these rules, or fails to comply within 30 days after written request to comply, the party propounding the question may, upon notice to all persons affected thereby, apply by motion to the court for an order compelling an answer. If the motion is granted, and if the court finds that the refusal was without substantial justification or was frivolous or unreasonable, the court may, and ordinarily will, require the deponent or the party, attorney, or non-attorney representative advising the refusal, or both of them, to pay the examining or requesting party the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including reasonable counsel fees.

        If the motion is denied and if the court finds that the motion was made without substantial justification or was frivolous or unreasonable, the court may, and ordinarily will, require the examining party or the attorney advising the motion, or both of them, to pay to the witness the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion, including reasonable counsel fees.

(l) Videotape Depositions.

   
         (1)  A party may, at such party's expense, record a videotape deposition, provided the party indicates the intent to record the videotape deposition in the notice of deposition. At the commencement of the videotape deposition, counsel representing the deponent should state whose deposition it is, what case it is being taken for, where it is being taken, who the lawyers are that will be asking the questions, and the date and the time of the deposition.  Care should be taken to have the witnesses speak slowly and distinctly and that papers be readily available for reference without undue delay and unnecessary noise.  Counsel and witnesses shall comport themselves at all times as if they were actually in the courtroom.

            (2)  If any problem arises as to the admissibility or inadmissibility of evidence, this should be handled in the same manner as written depositions.

            (3)  A party objecting to a question asked of, or an answer given by, a witness whose testimony is being taken by videotape shall provide the court at the Trial Management Conference with a transcript of the videotape proceedings that is sufficient to enable the court to act upon the objection before the trial of the case, or the objection shall be deemed waived.


Comment

Rule 26(a) is a major change from current New Hampshire deposition practice.  This new limitation is warranted by the adoption of the Automatic Disclosure requirements of Rule 22, which itself tracks in part the provision of Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1).  While the typical case ordinarily does not consume 20 hours of depositions, the rule recognizes that there are others for which 20 hours may not be adequate.

 


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