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"Whatcha doin'?" "I'm writing out my 543rd trade secret. One hundred more to go." AI-Generated, displayed with permission

In my experience it's fairly uncommon to see a party get multiple days of deposition time with a fact witness deponent, outside of a few recurring circumstances (e.g. translated depositions). That's why I thought it was worth pointing out the ruling unsealed today in Gemedy, Inc. v. The Carlyle Group, Inc., C.A. No. 23-157-CFC-SRF (D. Del. June 7, 2024).

In Gemedy, plaintiff alleged misappropriation of 643 trade secrets, all authored (or co-authored, for 11 of them) by one person over an eight-year period. The defendant sought to depose that one person for four days, given their scope of knowledge. Judge Fallon pointed out several previous times that the Court had granted such extended depositions when there were multiple patents or voluminous documents at issue, and granted a 3-day deposition:

Defendants' motion to compel Plaintiff to make Dr. Alexander Wissner-Gross available for at least four days of combined Rule 30(b)(1) and 30(b)(6) deposition time is GRANTED-IN-PART. Rule 30(d)(1) provides that the court "must allow additional time" beyond the seven-hour deposition limit "if needed to fairly examine the deponent[.]" Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1). Here, the deponent created all 643 trade secrets at issue over the course of almost eight years,[] he authored all the relevant documents and code, and he is the only witness designated to testify on Defendants' 30(b)(6) topics. (D.I. 219 at 1-2) Under similar circumstances, courts have granted deposition time beyond the seven-hour default at the outset, avoiding the need for a supplemental deposition and further disputes going forward. See NexStep, Inc. v. Comcast Cable Commc'ns, LLC, C.A. No. 19-1031-RGA-SRF, D.I. 25 at 18:23-20:6 (D. Del. Nov. 15, 2019) (granting 14 hours of 30(b)(1) deposition time, not counting against the 30(b)(6) deposition time, for witness who invented all 9 patents-in-suit and founded the company in a case covering a 12-year time period); In re Intel Corp. Microprocessor Antitrust Litig., C.A. No. 05-441-JJF, 2008 WL 5377979, at *2 (D. Del. Dec. 18, 2008) (granting 2-3 days of deposition time for each witness in case covering 8-year period and thousands of documents personally authored by each witness). Consequently, Dr. Wissner-Gross shall be made available for three (3) days of combined Rule 30(b)(1) and 30(b)(6) testimony, without prejudice to Defendants to seek additional time should the need arise.

Notably, this is both a 30(b)(1) and 30(b)(6) deposition. But those are often collapsed, so I think it's fair to say that the Court gave about two days of extra time.

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