In an opinion yesterday, Judge Cote ruled inadmissible certain deposition designations that a group of defendants wanted to use at a forthcoming antitrust trial because the witnesses were corporate representatives who lacked personal knowledge of the matters to which they testified.

As Judge Cote explained, even though Rule 30(b)(6) authorizes deposition testimony via corporate representatives that are supposed to gather knowledge from others, it does not follow that the testimony meets the standards for admissibility at trial:

It appears, based on the parties’ motion papers, that the Defendants subpoenaed the witnesses as corporate representatives and made little or no attempt to identify which if any portions of the testimony they elicited during the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition were based on the witness’ personal knowledge. The Defendants, as proponents of the evidence bear the burden of showing its admissibility. It is their burden to establish that their designated third-party testimony is admissible as based on the witness’ personal knowledge.

Unless the Defendants can point to evidence that the deponent was testifying based on personal knowledge and not simply as the corporate designee for the deposition, the testimony must be stricken. And, the testimony must be stricken if it is unclear whether the witness had personal knowledge of the events the witness recited or the processes the witness described.