Alexander v. F.B.I.
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
186 F.R.D. 148 (1999)
Alexander and others (plaintiffs) sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (defendant) and the Executive Office of the President (EOP) (defendant), alleging that the FBI had violated their privacy by wrongfully turning over FBI files of previous White House appointees and employees of the Reagan and Bush administrations to the EOP. The plaintiffs requested with reasonable particularity that the EOP designate a deponent to testify on its behalf under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 30(b)(6) about audio and video recording and surveillance systems in the White House. The EOP designated Director of White House Operations John Dankowski, who had 12 years of experience and oversaw all purchasing, to testify. After Dankowski’s deposition, the plaintiffs moved to compel the EOP to re-designate a FRCP 30(b)(6) witness and pay the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and costs, because Dankowski: (1) lacked expertise on surveillance systems and was not qualified to testify; (2) failed to adequately prepare for the deposition, aside from consulting political appointees; (3) was not knowledgeable about a secret surveillance department; and (4) did not adequately answer questions regarding the existence of a White House voicemail recording system between 1992–1994.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lamberth, J.)
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