Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32
Go To Rule 32 Essential Points
Rule 32. Using Depositions in Court Proceedings
(a) USING DEPOSITIONS.
(1) In General. At a hearing or trial, all or part of a deposition may be used against a party on these conditions:
(A) the party was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or had reasonable notice of it;
(B) it is used to the extent it would be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence if the deponent were present and testifying; and
(C) the use is allowed by Rule 32(a)(2) through (8).
(2) Impeachment and Other Uses. Any party may use a deposition to contradict or impeach the testimony given by the deponent as a witness, or for any other purpose allowed by the Federal Rules of Evidence.
(3) Deposition of Party, Agent, or Designee. An adverse party may use for any purpose the deposition of a party or anyone who, when deposed, was the party’s officer, director, managing agent, or designee under Rule 30(b)(6) or 31(a)(4).
(4) Unavailable Witness. A party may use for any purpose the deposition of a witness, whether or not a party, if the court finds:
(A) that the witness is dead;
(B) that the witness is more than 100 miles from the place of hearing or trial or is outside the United States, unless it appears that the witness’s absence was procured by the party offering the deposition;
(C) that the witness cannot attend or testify because of age, illness, infirmity, or imprisonment;
(D) that the party offering the deposition could not procure the witness’s attendance by subpoena; or
(E) on motion and notice, that exceptional circumstances make it desirable—in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of live testimony in open court—to permit the deposition to be used.
(5) Limitations on Use.
(A) Deposition Taken on Short Notice. A deposition must not be used against a party who, having received less than 14 days’ notice of the deposition, promptly moved for a protective order under Rule 26(c)(1)(B) requesting that it not be taken or be taken at a different time or place—and this motion was still pending when the deposition was taken.
(B) Unavailable Deponent; Party Could Not Obtain an Attorney. A deposition taken without leave of court under the unavailability provision of Rule 30(a)(2)(A)(iii) must not be used against a party who shows that, when served with the notice, it could not, despite diligent efforts, obtain an attorney to represent it at the deposition.
(6) Using Part of a Deposition. If a party offers in evidence only part of a deposition, an adverse party may require the offeror to introduce other parts that in fairness should be considered with the part introduced, and any party may itself introduce any other parts.
(7) Substituting a Party. Substituting a party under Rule 25 does not affect the right to use a deposition previously taken. (8) Deposition Taken in an Earlier Action. A deposition lawfully taken and, if required, filed in any federal or state-court action may be used in a later action involving the same subject matter between the same parties, or their representatives or successors in interest, to the same extent as if taken in the later action. A deposition previously taken may also be used as allowed by the Federal Rules of Evidence.
(b) OBJECTIONS TO ADMISSIBILITY. Subject to Rules 28(b) and 32(d)(3), an objection may be made at a hearing or trial to the ad- mission of any deposition testimony that would be inadmissible if the witness were present and testifying.
(c) FORM OF PRESENTATION. Unless the court orders otherwise, a party must provide a transcript of any deposition testimony the party offers, but may provide the court with the testimony in non-transcript form as well. On any party’s request, deposition testimony offered in a jury trial for any purpose other than impeachment must be presented in nontranscript form, if available, unless the court for good cause orders otherwise.
(d) WAIVER OF OBJECTIONS.
(1) To the Notice. An objection to an error or irregularity in
a deposition notice is waived unless promptly served in writing on the party giving the notice.
(2) To the Officer’s Qualification. An objection based on disqualification of the officer before whom a deposition is to be taken is waived if not made:
(A) before the deposition begins; or
(B) promptly after the basis for disqualification becomes known or, with reasonable diligence, could have been known.
(3) To the Taking of the Deposition.
(A) Objection to Competence, Relevance, or Materiality. An objection to a deponent’s competence—or to the competence, relevance, or materiality of testimony—is not waived by a failure to make the objection before or during the deposition, unless the ground for it might have been corrected at that time.
(B) Objection to an Error or Irregularity. An objection to an error or irregularity at an oral examination is waived if:
(i) it relates to the manner of taking the deposition, the form of a question or answer, the oath or affirmation, a party’s conduct, or other matters that might have been corrected at that time; and
(ii) it is not timely made during the deposition.
(C) Objection to a Written Question. An objection to the form of a written question under Rule 31 is waived if not served in writing on the party submitting the question within the time for serving responsive questions or, if the question is a recross-question, within 7 days after being served with it.
(4) To Completing and Returning the Deposition. An objection to how the officer transcribed the testimony—or prepared, signed, certified, sealed, endorsed, sent, or otherwise dealt with the deposition—is waived unless a motion to suppress is made promptly after the error or irregularity becomes known or, with reasonable diligence, could have been known.
- Rule 32 provides for when deposition testimony can be used at trial.
- Rule 32(a)(2) allows a party to use a deposition to impeach the testimony of any witness. That is, if a party testifies at trial and contradicts his deposition testimony, the deposition testimony can be used to show that the witness is not testifying truthfully.
- Rule 32(a)(3) allows a party to use the deposition of another party for any purpose. For example, if an adverse party makes a point helpful for his client’s position, an attorney can introduce the deposition at trial, even without putting the other party on the witness stand Remember, this applies only to parties – – not witnesses.
- According to Rule 32(a)(4), a witness’s deposition testimony can be used at trial for any purpose if the witness is unavailable.
- Among other things, Rule 32 helps parties avoid the problem of hearsay when introducing deposition testimony at trial. A video on hearsay is below. There may be objections to introducing deposition testimony for reasons other than hearsay so do not assume that all deposition testimony is automatically admissible