§ 6-330. Depositions upon oral examination.

§ 6-330. Depositions upon oral examination.

   (a) When Depositions May Be Taken. After commencement of the action, any party may take the testimony of any person, including a party, by deposition upon oral examination. Leave of court, granted with or without notice, must be obtained only if the plaintiff seeks to take a deposition prior to the expiration of thirty days after service of summons, except that leave is not required:

   (1) If a defendant has served a notice of taking a deposition or otherwise sought discovery, or

   (2) If special notice is given as provided in subdivision (b)(2) of this rule.

   The attendance of witnesses may be compelled by subpoena. The deposition of a person confined in prison may be taken only by leave of court on such terms as the court prescribes.

   (b) Notice of Examination: General Requirements; Special Notice; Recording; Interpreters; Production of Documents and Things; Deposition of Organization; Officer's Duties.

   (1)(A) A party desiring to take the deposition of any person upon oral examination shall give reasonable notice in writing to every other party to the action. The notice shall state the time and place for taking the deposition and the name and address of each person to be examined, if known, and, if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify him or her or the particular class or group to which he or she belongs. The notice shall also state the name, address, telephone number, and email address (if any) of the party taking the deposition or if the party is represented, the party's attorney. If it is known that an interpreter will be used, the notice shall state that an interpreter will be used and shall state the language that will be interpreted or the type of interpretation (e.g., sign language). If it is unknown whether an interpreter may be necessary, the notice shall include the following advisory statement: "If you are a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or unable to communicate in the English language, you should contact as soon as possible the attorney or the party whose name is stated in this notice or subpoena and let that attorney or party know that you will need the help of an interpreter to understand and answer questions during the deposition."

   (B) If a subpoena is to be served on the person to be examined, the subpoena shall contain the same information required by subdivision (A) of this rule. The advisory statement required by subdivision (A) may be omitted from the notice if it is included in the subpoena.

   (C)(1) If a subpoena duces tecum is to be served on the person to be examined, the designation of the materials to be produced pursuant to the subpoena shall be attached to or included in the notice. If any of the materials are in a language other than English, the person on whom the subpoena duces tecum is served shall promptly notify the party serving the subpoena of the language(s). The party serving the subpoena shall then promptly notify every other party to the action of the language(s).

   (2) The notice to a party deponent may be accompanied by a request made in compliance with Rule 34 for the production of documents and tangible things at the taking of the deposition. The procedure of Rule 34 shall apply to the request.

   (D) When the party against whom the deposition is to be used is unknown or is one whose whereabouts cannot be ascertained, he or she may be notified of the taking of the deposition by publication or by any manner that is approved by the court and reasonably calculated under the circumstances to provide the party with actual notice. The publication must be made once in some newspaper printed in the county where the action is pending, if there be any printed in such county, and if not, in some newspaper printed in this state of general circulation in that county. The publication must contain all that is required in a written notice and must be made at least ten days prior to the deposition. Publication may be proved in the manner prescribed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-520. Before publication, a copy of the written notice shall be filed with the court in which the action is pending.

   (2) Leave of court is not required for the taking of a deposition by plaintiff if the notice:

   (A) States that the person to be examined is about to go out of the State of Nebraska and will be unavailable for examination in the State of Nebraska unless his or her deposition is taken before expiration of the thirty-day period, and

   (B) Sets forth facts to support the statement.

   The plaintiff's attorney shall sign the notice, and his or her signature constitutes a certification by him or her that to the best of his or her knowledge, information, and belief the statement and supporting facts are true.

   If a party shows that when he or she was served with notice under subdivision (b)(2) he or she was unable through the exercise of diligence to obtain counsel to represent him or her at the taking of the deposition the deposition may not be used against him or her.

   (3) The court may for good cause shown enlarge or shorten the time for taking the deposition.

   (4) The notice required by subdivision (1) shall state the means by which the testimony will be recorded and preserved. The court may make any order necessary to assure that the record of the testimony will be accurate and trustworthy

   (A) Unless the court orders otherwise, testimony may be recorded by audio, audiovisual, or stenographic means, or any combination of those means. The noticing party bears the cost of the recording means specified in the notice.

   (B) With prior notice to the deponent and other parties, any party or the deponent may designate another means of recording the testimony in addition to the means specified in the original notice. The additional recording shall be made by the officer personally or by someone acting in the presence of and under the direction of the officer. The party or deponent who designates another means bears the cost of the additional record or transcript unless the court orders otherwise. Absent a stipulation of the parties, no other recordings of the testimony may be made.

   (5) If the deponent is a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or unable to communicate the English language as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2402, an interpreter must be used to interpret the questions and answers. Unless the parties stipulate or the court upon good cause shown orders otherwise, the noticing party shall arrange and pay for the interpreter. Unless the parties stipulate or the court upon good cause shown orders otherwise, the interpreter must be a certified or provisionally certified interpreter; however, if the noticing party has made reasonably diligent efforts to obtain a certified or provisionary certified interpreter and none are available, the interpreter may be a registered interpreter. A certified interpreter, a provisionally certified interpreter, and a registered interpreter is one who, pursuant to Neb. Ct. R. § 6-702(A)-(C), is listed as such in the statewide register of interpreters published and maintained by the State Court Administrator.

   (6) A party may in his or her notice and in a subpoena name as the deponent a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency and describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested. In that event, the organization so named shall designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf, and may set forth, for each person designated, the matters on which he or she will testify. A subpoena shall advise a nonparty organization of its duty to make such a designation. The persons so designated shall testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the organization. This subdivision (b)(6) does not preclude taking a deposition by any other procedure authorized in these rules.

   (7) The parties may stipulate in writing, or the court may upon motion order, that a deposition be taken by telephone or by other remote means. For the purposes of these rules, a deposition taken by telephone or by other remote means is taken at the place where the deponent is to appear to answer questions. Absent a court order or stipulation of the parties, the officer must be in the same location as the deponent.

   (8) Officer's Duties.

   (A) Before the Deposition. Unless the parties stipulate otherwise, a deposition must be conducted before an officer identified by Rule 28 as a person before whom a deposition may be taken. The officer must begin the deposition with an on-the-record statement that includes: (i) the officer's name and business address; (ii) the date, time, and place of the deposition; (iii) the deponent's name; (iv) the officer's administration of the oath or affirmation to the deponent; and (v) the identity of all persons present.

   (B) Conducting the Deposition; Avoiding Distortion. If the deposition is recorded nonstenographically, the officer must repeat the items in Rule 30(b)(8)(A)(i)-(iii) at the beginning of each unit of the recording medium. The deponent's and attorneys' appearance or demeanor must not be distorted through recording techniques.

   (C) After the Deposition. At the end of a deposition, the officer must state on the record that the deposition is complete and must set out any stipulations made by the attorneys about custody of the transcript or recording and of the exhibits, or about any other pertinent matters.

   (c) Examination and Cross-Examination; Record of Examination; Oath; Objections.

   (1) Examination and cross-examination of witnesses may proceed as permitted at the trial under the provisions of the Nebraska Evidence Rules. The officer before whom the deposition is to be taken shall put the witness under oath and, if an interpreter is used, also put the interpreter under oath. The officer shall also personally, or by someone acting under his or her direction and in his or her presence, record the testimony of the witness. The testimony shall be recorded in accordance with subdivision (b)(4) of this rule. If requested by one of the parties, the testimony shall be transcribed. All objections made at time of the examination to the qualifications of the officer taking the deposition, the qualification of the interpreter, or to the manner of taking the deposition, or to the evidence presented, or to the conduct of any party, and any other objection to the proceedings, shall be noted by the officer upon the deposition. Evidence objected to shall be taken subject to the objections.

   (2) An objection must be stated concisely in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner. A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation ordered by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d).

   (3) In lieu of participating in the oral examination, parties may serve written questions in a sealed envelope on the party taking the deposition and he or she shall transmit them to the officer, who shall propound them to the witness and record the answers verbatim.

   (d) Motion to Terminate or Limit Examination. At any time during a deposition, the deponent or a party may move to terminate or limit the deposition on the ground that (1) it is being conducted in bad faith or in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses, or oppresses the deponent or party or (2) the interpreter is not rendering a reasonably complete and accurate interpretation or is repeatedly altering, omitting, or adding things, including explanations, to what is stated. The motion may be filed in the court in which the action is pending. The court may order that the deposition be terminated or may limit its scope and manner as provided in Rule 26(c). If terminated the deposition may be resumed only by order of the court in which the action is pending. If the objecting deponent or party so demands, the deposition must be suspended for the time necessary to obtain an order. The provisions of Rule 37(a)(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.

   (e) Review; Waiver; Motion to Suppress.

   (1) On request by the deponent or a party before the deposition is completed, the deponent must be allowed thirty days after being notified by the officer that the transcript or recording is available in which (a) to review the transcript or recording and (b) if there are changes in form or substance, to sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for making them. The deponent may be allowed more or fewer than thirty days if the parties stipulate to or the court orders a different number of days. The officer must note in the certificate required by Rule 30(f)(1) whether a review was requested and, if so, must attach any changes the deponent makes during the period specified above for review.

   (2) All objections to the accuracy of the deposition, including objections to accuracy of the interpreter's interpretation of the questions or answers, are waived if a request for review is not made before the deposition is completed or, if a request for review is made, no changes are submitted to the officer in the time and manner required by subdivision (1) of this rule and no motion is made pursuant to subdivision (3) of this rule.

   (3) If a request for review is made, the deponent or any party may move to suppress the deposition pursuant to Rule 32(d)(4) on the ground that the deponent was not allowed to review the transcript or recording as provided in subdivision (1) or that the transcription or interpretation of the deposition is inherently inaccurate.

   (f) Certification and Delivery by Officer; Copies; Notice of Delivery.

   (1) The officer shall include in or attach to the deposition a certificate that the witness was duly sworn by him or her and that the deposition is an accurate record of the testimony of the witness. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the officer shall then deliver the deposition to the party taking the deposition, who must store it under conditions that will protect it against loss, destruction, tampering, or deterioration.

   Documents and things produced for inspection during the examination of the witness shall, upon the request of a party, be marked for identification and annexed to the deposition and may be inspected and copied by any party, except that if the person producing the materials desires to retain them, he or she may (A) offer copies to be marked for identification and annexed to the deposition and to serve thereafter as originals if he or she affords to all parties fair opportunity to verify the copies by comparison with the originals or (B) offer the originals to be marked for identification, after giving to each party an opportunity to inspect and copy them, in which event the materials may then be used in the same manner as if annexed to the deposition. Any party may move for an order that the originals be annexed to the deposition, pending final disposition of the case.

   (2) Unless otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the court, the officer must retain the stenographic notes of a deposition taken stengraphically or a copy of the recording of a deposition taken by another method. Upon payment of reasonable charges therefor, the officer shall furnish a copy of the transcript or recording to any party or to the deponent.

   (3) The party taking the deposition shall give prompt notice to all other parties that it has been delivered by the officer before whom taken.

   (g) Failure to Attend or to Serve Subpoena; Expenses.

   A party who, expecting a deposition to be taken, attends in person or by an attorney may recover reasonable expenses for attending, including attorney fees, if the noticing party failed to:

   (1) attend and proceed with the deposition; or 

   (2) serve a subpoena on a nonparty deponent, who consequently did not attend.

   (h) Protective Orders. The deponent or any party may move at any time for an order pursuant to Rule 26(c) to limit the dissemination of the deposition, either in whole or in part, or to limit the persons who may have access to the deposition.


   30(b)(1) Because of the increasing number of Nebraskans who may have difficulty communicating in the English language, there is an increased likelihood that the deponent will need the assistance of an interpreter. It is important for the parties to work together to ensure that an interpreter is used when necessary. Rule 30(b)(1)(A) provides that if an interpreter will be used, the notice should state that and should also state the language that will be interpreted. If notice is silent about an interpreter but another party believes that one is necessary, then the other party should contact the noticing party. That way, both parties may avoid appearing for a deposition that would otherwise have to be canceled for lack of an interpreter. To facilitate parties working together, the rule requires the inclusion of an advisory statement in the notice.

   It is less likely that the noticing party will know if nonparties require an interpreter, and it is also less likely that nonparties will know to contact the noticing party if they do. Therefore, it is especially important that a subpoena served on a nonparty include the advisory statement. If a subpoena will be served on a nonparty witness, a party may give the other parties written notice of the deposition by serving them with a copy of the subpoena, provided that the subpoena contains the information required by the rule. Alternatively, a party may give the other parties written notice by serving them with a separate document that contains the information required by the rule. If the party does so, the party may omit the advisory statement from the document because it will be contained in the subpoena served on the witness.

   Parties sometimes attempt to circumvent the thirty-day period for responding to Rule 34 requests by serving a subpoena on the party. Rule 30(b)(1)(C) makes it clear that document subpoenas should only be served on nonparty deponents.

   A deposition can only be used against a party who had notice of the deposition. See Rule 32(a). Sometimes it is not possible to serve a party with a deposition notice because the party's identity or whereabouts are unknown. That may occur in a quiet title action. Historically, publication has been the only method for giving notice. Rule 30(b)(1)(D) now allows the use of any other method reasonably calculated to give actual notice if the use of that method has been approved by the court. This is the standard for substitute service under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-517.02(3).

   30(b)(4) The rule previously provided that the notice had to state the means by which the testimony would be recorded but did not specify what those means were. The assumption was that the testimony would be recorded by stenographic means. Former Rule 30(b)(8) added a second option: videotape depositions. The rule as amended provides for three means: (1) stenographic, (2) audio, and (3) audiovisual. The term "audiovisual" is used because "videotape" refers to an outdated form of recording technology (magnetic tape).

   The rules previously did not discuss whether the opposing party could designate an additional means of recording the deposition. Rule 30(b)(4)(B) now makes it clear that the opposing party may do so. In order to prevent different persons from preparing different records of the deposition, the rule provides that the additional recording must be prepared by the deposition officer (who is selected by the noticing party).

   Although the rule allows the testimony to be recorded by nonstenographic means, parties need to bear in mind that, as a practical matter, they will need to have a transcript prepared if they plan to use the deposition to support or oppose a motion, including for example a motion for summary judgment. Parties also need to bear in mind that they should have an audio or audiovisual recording made if an interpreter is used because, as a practical matter, without a record of the questions and answers in the interpreted language, they will be unable to assert later that the interpreter's interpretation was not accurate.

   30(b)(5) Ideally, the parties should use a certified or provisionally certified interpreter for a deposition. That is not always possible in Nebraska, however, because there are a limited number of certified and provisionally certified interpreters in some languages. The rule therefore tracks Neb. Ct. R. § 6-703 and allows the use of registered interpreters if the noticing party has made reasonably diligent efforts to obtain a certified or provisionally certified interpreter and none are available. It is possible that no registered interpreters are reasonably available either. In that case, the parties need to agree on an interpreter or the noticing party needs to file a motion for a court order.

   Among the factors that a court may consider in deciding whether to grant a motion to vary from the rule's interpreter hierarchy are: availability, cost, and logistical difficulties of obtaining a certified, provisionally certified, or registered interpreter, the amount in controversy in the case, the significance of the testimony and the purpose for which it is sought (for example, steppingstone discovery as opposed to key evidence), and the competence and experience of the proposed interpreter.

   30(b)(7) The rule has been amended to allow depositions to be taken by remote means other than telephone - for example, by video conferencing technology - but only pursuant to a stipulation or court order. The rule has also been amended to eliminate the uncertainty about whether the officer must be in the same physical location as the deponent. The rule as amended provides that they must be in the same location absent a court order or stipulation otherwise. One reason for having the officer and the deponent in the same location is to minimize the risk of improper behavior such as coaching of the witness or the surreptitious use of documents. There are other ways of minimizing the risk. For example, the parties may stipulate that a notary be present in the same location as the deponent and administer the oath to the deponent but the officer who is stenographically recording the deposition may be present in the same location as the person or attorney taking the deposition.

   30(b)(8) The former rule governed videotape depositions and had special provisions that governed the review of such depositions. The provisions of Rule 30(e) now apply to the review of all depositions, regardless of how they were recorded. Rule 30(b)(8) as amended is substantially the same as the current version of Rule 30(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule as amended sets out the deposition officer's duties at the beginning and end of the deposition. It also sets out the officer's duties during a deposition in which the testimony is recorded by audio or audiovisual means.

   30(c) The rule has been divided into three subdivisions. The first addresses the order of examination and the officer's obligation to record all objections. It is substantially similar to former Rule 30(c). The major differences are the addition of a requirement that the interpreter be sworn and the inclusion of an objection to the interpreter's qualifications in the list of objections that must be recorded. The second subdivision is modeled on Rule 30(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and is designed to eliminate speaking objections that are made for the purpose of disrupting the questioning or suggesting how the deponent should answer a question. The third subdivision is taken from the last sentence of the former rule.

   30(d) The rule has been amended to add a provision allowing a party to terminate a deposition if the interpreter's performance is so problematic that it undermines the usefulness of the deposition. It should be emphasized that a problem with how the interpreter handled a particular question or answer is insufficient to justify terminating a deposition. "'[I]nterpretation is a demanding and inexact art, and . . . the languages involved may not have precise equivalents for particular words or concepts.' Minor or isolated inaccuracies, omissions, interruptions, or other defects in translation are inevitable . . . ." Tapia-Reyes v. Excel Corp., 281 Neb. 15, 27, 793 N.W.2d 319, 328 (2011). Repeated problems, however, may signal that the interpretation is so fundamentally flawed that it would be pointless for the party to continue the deposition.

   30(e) The rule has been amended to streamline the procedures for review and use of the deposition. Under the former rule, the deponent had a right to review unless the right was waived by deponent and the parties. There was no time limit on review except for videotape depositions, which had to be reviewed immediately. The rule as amended requires the deponent or party to invoke the right of review before the end of the deposition and gives the deponent or party thirty days to review after being notified that the transcript or recording is available. The parties may agree to or the court may order a different time. For example, a shorter time may be necessary when the deposition is taken a few days before trial. A signature is only required if the right to review was invoked and the deponent made changes to the testimony.

   If the right to review is not invoked, or if invoked no changes are submitted to the officer in the time and manner required in subdivision (1) and no motion to suppress is filed pursuant to subdivision (3), then the transcript or recording of the deposition is deemed to be accurate. Subdivision (2) of the rule is designed to make it clear to the deponent and to the parties that failing to invoke the right to review has serious consequences. If the right to review is invoked, then the deponent has a duty to review the transcript or recording and make changes to correct any errors. If the deponent fails to do so, then the deponent cannot later seek to suppress the deposition on the ground that the transcription or interpretation was inaccurate. If the deponent invokes the right to review and determines that the transcription or interpretation is inherently inaccurate, however, the deponent may move to suppress the deposition instead of making changes. Even if the deponent makes changes, any other party who believes that the deposition is inherently inaccurate may move to suppress the deposition. The burden of proof is on the moving party.

   30(f)(2) of the rule has been amended to require the officer to retain the stenographic notes of a deposition taken stenographically or a copy of the recoding of a deposition taken by another method.  This requirement mirrors Rule 30(f)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Retaining the notes or a copy is necessary because the officer must furnish a copy of the transcript or recording if a party or the deponent later requests and pays for one.

   30(g) The former language of the rule has been replaced by the current language of Rule 30(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The new language is easier to read and makes no substantive changes.

   30(h) This subdivision is new. As a result of the growth of electronic media, it is much easier today for parties to disseminate sensitive portions of depositions in an attempt to harass or oppress their adversaries. This subdivision serves as a reminder that courts may enter appropriate orders pursuant to Rule 26(c) to prevent parties from using the recording or transcription of a deposition for improper purposes.

Rule 30(f)(1) amended December 12, 2001; comments to Rule 30(f) amended December 12, 2001. Renumbered and codified as § 6-330, effective July 18, 2008. § 6-330 and Comments to Rule 30 amended October 21, 2015, effective January 1, 2016; § 6-330(b)(1)(A) amended June 9, 2021, effective January 1, 2022.