Depositions in Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation: 30(b)(6) and Fact Witnesses
Taking and Representing Fact Witness and Corporate Representative Depositions, Navigating Ethical Issues in Witness Preparation
Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A
Conducted on Thursday, February 9, 2017
Recorded event now available
This CLE webinar will provide litigators for policyholders and insurers with best practices and practical approaches for questioning or preparing fact witnesses and corporate witnesses in coverage and bad faith litigation. The panel will outline their experiences and perspectives on how to leverage the testimony of corporate representatives on both sides of the docket, using Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) as a framework. The panel will also discuss various ethical issues that arise when taking or responding to a deposition in coverage and bad faith litigation under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Taking and responding to depositions in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation involves nuances unique to the niche practice of insurance law. Planning deposition strategy often requires an in-depth knowledge of the insurance policy, as well an underlying or ancillary matter. The testimony of fact witnesses, including the insurance adjuster as well as corporate representatives for both sides, can often determine the outcome of the case.
In cases involving liability coverage, where there is often an underlying matter, questions arise as to the use of fact witnesses and experts from the underlying litigation, and how to prepare for those depositions in cases where the doctrine of res judicata potentially applies.
Rule 30(b)(6) allows the policyholder to directly question the insurer’s corporate representatives about specific topics related to pending litigation. The insurer can designate the representative of their choice—and that person may or may not be the actual claims handler.
If the 30(b)(6) witness is not the claims handler, can the policyholder subpoena the claims handler to testify at trial? The policyholder must strategically decide how to best utilize the 30(b)(6) testimony in conjunction with questioning the claims handler.
As with any case, the conduct of counsel raises important ethical issues in planning deposition strategy, and specifically obtaining the circumstantial evidence needed to prove or disprove an insurance bad faith case.
Listen as our panel of experienced insurance litigators explains how policyholders and insurers can effectively handle deponents in coverage litigation.
- Scope of Rule 30(b)(6) depositions
- Drafting effective 30(b)(6) deposition notices
- Selecting and preparing the 30(b)(6) witness
- Scope of questions and testimony for 30(b)(6) witnesses
- Use of 30(b)(6) testimony at trial
- Ethical issues in planning deposition strategy
The panel will review these and other key issues:
- What are the policyholder’s options if the insurer designates someone other than the claims handler for a 30(b)(6) deposition?
- To what extent must or should counsel educate a witness in advance of a 30(b)(6) deposition?
- What are counsel’s obligations in preparing a witness under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct?
Sherilyn Pastor, Partner
McCarter & English,
Ms. Pastor is Practice Group Leader of her firm's Insurance Coverage Group. She is an experienced trial attorney, who has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance for corporate policyholders. She litigates complex coverage matters throughout the country and abroad, and provides insurance coverage advice to clients assessing their potential risks, analyzing new insurance products, and considering the adequacy of their programs. She publishes and lectures frequently on insurance, trial skills and ethics matters.
Alan P. Jacobus, Principal
Mr. Jacobus' practice over the past decade has largely centered on high risk, high value insurance coverage litigation, but he comes from a broad civil and commercial litigation and trial background. He has tried jury trials to verdict in CA, IL and LA. Several of his cases have resulted in written opinions in trial courts and courts of appeal, and he has argued appeals in both state and federal courts.
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