Law 101: Overview of the Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition

By Michael Cohen

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6)

Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, along with analogous rules under state law, provides a tremendous discovery tool for litigators.  Unlike the depositions of named witnesses, depositions under Rule 30(b)(6) require that an organization designate and prepare an individual to testify as to all delineated information “known or reasonably available to the organization” – not merely information personally known to the deponent – and offer testimony that is binding on the organization.  When used properly, 30(b)(6) depositions can render “I don’t know” answers a rarity, while offering an incredibly effective mechanism for fact-finding and efficiently progressing the underlying litigation.  This article is designed to provide a general overview of the 30(b)(6) device, as well as offer insight as to the duties of counsel when proceeding under Rule 30(b)(6), and the distinctions between a 30(b)(6) deposition and a deposition of a named witness.[1]

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May Is Member Appreciation Month, So Prepare To Be Appreciated

By Joshua McIntyre

We put members first at the NCBA every day, but we wanted to do a little extra to express our gratitude this May, so we’re kicking off our first ever Member Appreciation Month.

Extra benefits for members this month include:

  • Free Fridays – The first three Fridays in May we’re offering free services around the state in Charlotte, Cary and Fayetteville: secure document shredding, professional headshots and social media training sessions. See below for detailed scheduling and RSVP information.
  • Winning Wednesdays – Check your Twitter feed every Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. for a fun yes/no game of NCBA trivia with gift card prizes.
  • Hotel Holiday – One lucky member who uses the NCBA hotel discount between May and June online or through the Member Benefits App will win the full cost of their stay. No location or length-of-stay limits apply. Just use your member discount to book a stay, and we’ll announce the winner in early July.

Please note an RSVP is required for Free Friday services. Click each link below to register. We are grateful to Special Counsel of Charlotte and Hutchens Law Firm of Fayetteville for serving as host locations.

Thanks for being a member, and we hope you feel the appreciation this month especially!

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2018 Health Law Section Annual Meeting and Joint CLE with the Litigation Section

Have you kept up with the General Assembly and proposed legislation that affects the health care industry? If not, no need to worry, we’ve done it for you!

Please join us this Friday, April 27, 2018, to hear Cody Hand provide his annual legislative update at the Health Law and Litigation Sections’ joint CLE program at the Greensboro Marriott Downtown, with presentations by N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, Attorney General Josh Stein and many other great speakers!

You’ll receive 6 total CLE credits, including 1.0 hour ethics/professional responsibility, and 1.0 hour substance abuse/mental health.  Click here to learn more and to register.

Annual Meeting Preview: Five Questions With Fastcase CEO Ed Walters

By Amber Nimocks

This year’s NCBA Annual Meeting features a rockstar lineup of legal innovators from around the country. Among them is Ed Walters,  CEO of Fastcase and a leader in Artificial Intelligence integrations for the legal profession.

Walters will present a CLE titled “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” on Saturday, June 23 at 12:30 at the Wilmington Convention Center. Registration for NCBA Annual Meeting includes CLE  while availability remains. Sign up by May 1 to secure your place.

Here’s a quick look at Walters’ take on AI and the future of the law.

Are you concerned about AI changing the legal profession’s understanding of ethics?

I’m more concerned with how we apply the existing ethical rules to new tech, including AI.  The ethics rules (for the most part) stay the same, and we apply them to a changing world.  Sounds easy, but it’s actually pretty hard.

Most of our ethical rules exist to protect clients – but when machines begin analyzing legal problems, our rules break down.  With existing lawyer regulations, we regulate the inputs: lawyers have to graduate from an accredited law school, pass the bar exam, pass character and fitness, and in many states, do continuing legal education.  We presume that people who satisfy those conditions are fit to dispense legal advice.

Those questions are irrelevant to machines.  Could Watson pass the bar exam?  Probably – but would that mean that it could give competent legal advice?  Probably not.  With software, we’d probably want to look at outputs: is the advice accurate and up to date?

Think about TurboTax.  Is there any question that the software is interpreting tax law?  No – but it isn’t licensed anywhere. Do we need to regulate TurboTax?  No.  But we also wouldn’t let Intuit start representing clients in legal matters either.  We’re not yet ready to draw the lines, but that world is coming fast.

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New ERISA Disability Claims Regulations Take Effect: Part I

By Norris A. Adams II
and Caitlin H. Walton

This is the first installment of our three-part series on ERISA’s new disability claim-processing procedures. Here we will focus on the background leading up to the implementation of the new regulations.

Not all days are created equal. Some just seem to soak up more glory than others. This year, for example, Dec. 10 is the First Sunday of Advent, the start of Hanukkah, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, and Dewey Decimal System Day (if you’re under 30, we’ll wait while you look that last one up). Personally, we’re looking forward to National Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept. 19.

But no day improved its stock more this year than April 1, making up for its past irrelevance with Easter, the second day of Passover, and, of course, April Fool’s Day. If that weren’t enough, it’s rent day too.

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Forming an LLC: Walking Your Client Through the Paperwork, Part 2

By Mollie Schwam

This is the second in a two-part series. Read part one here.

Now that you have submitted the client’s Articles of Organization to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office for filing, it’s time to prepare a draft operating agreement.

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Raising the Age Raises Questions. This CLE Has Answers.


By Peggy Nicholson

Over the next two years, North Carolina’s juvenile justice system will undergo some of the most significant changes in its history. Chief among these changes is the implementation of Raise the Age legislation (Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act) that will expand juvenile court jurisdiction to include most 16- and 17-year olds by December 2019. While raising the age will result in better outcomes for children, it will also result in many changes to the juvenile system and create a ripple effect across the state’s courts and other youth-serving systems.

On May 10, the Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section will host a CLE at the Bar Center in Cary to answer many of the questions about Raise the Age and discuss some of the wide-ranging impacts. This CLE, entitled “Raise the Age: A New Era for Juvenile Justice in North Carolina,” is intended not just for attorneys who practice in juvenile court, but for any attorney whose practice might be impacted by the new legislation, including those practicing in the areas of criminal justice, education, child welfare, mental health, or government.

Sessions include:

  • An overview of North Carolina’s juvenile justice system including a summary of the recently passed Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act.
  • A panel of court actors from one jurisdiction, including a defense attorney, prosecutor, and two judges, discussing how Raise the Age will impact them at the local level and how they are preparing for those impacts.
  • A panel of attorneys from different youth-focused systems (child welfare, education, and mental health) discussing how changes to juvenile court will impact their areas of practice.
  • An overview of school-justice partnerships, local agreements aimed at reducing the number of school-based court referrals, which are being expanded across the state pursuant to the new Raise the Age law.
  • An ethics session on representing children in adult court, which is especially important since children age 16 and older will continue to go to adult court until December 2019 and, even after that, will still be in adult court in certain circumstances.

These sessions are intended to be informative to both juvenile court novices and seasoned child advocates and will provide opportunities for questions and discussion. Attendees will receive 5.5 hours of CLE credit, including 1 ethics hour.

The Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section will also hold its annual meeting on May 10 and invites CLE participants to attend. During the meeting, the Section will announce the inaugural recipient of The Children’s Champion Award, which is bestowed upon a member of the Section who is a true champion for North Carolina children and youth.

Interested attorneys and advocates should register soon and get 10 percent off the registration fee (until May 3). Click here to register or for more information.


NC Free Legal Answers: Pro Bono At Your Fingertips

By Nihad Mansour

I was hopeless and out of answers when I typed “PLEASE HELP! 🙁 🙁 🙁 ” in the subject line of my post and hit send. Out it went into the ether of a free online Excel forum.

Tears of surprise and elation welled up in my eyes when an Excel forum expert from Belgium responded the next day. His answer provided the solution to a small but vexing problem that I’d been wrestling with for months. But my happiness sprang not just from the fact that I could finally vanquish the Excel “error” message that had been haunting me. The fact that a knowledgeable stranger in the vast, unfeeling Internet had answered my cry for help moved me to tears.

That is the power of a response. As volunteers for NC Free Legal Answers, that’s the kind of help we can offer clients in need of legal advice. And if enough of us pitch in, we can do it in just six minutes per day.

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Happy 20th Anniversary To the Paralegal Division!

By Debbie Harris

It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating our 15th Anniversary at the Grandover in Greensboro and at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. I’m excited to share that we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary at the Pinehurst Resort May 3-4, 2018. The celebration kicks off Thursday evening, May 3, with a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. on the Front Porch and continues at our Annual Meeting on May 4.

This year’s Annual Meeting is one of the best programs we have offered to date with an excellent lineup of speakers. Click here for more information and to register.

I hope that you will make every effort to attend. That being said, I’m sure you have noticed the increase in the cost of our Annual Meeting. I want to take this opportunity to apologize and provide a brief explanation.

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No Internal Complaints Under Dodd-Frank? Not So Fast.

By Andrew Henson

In Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, 138 S.Ct. 767 (2018), a unanimous Supreme Court recently held that in order to be a whistleblower entitled to the anti-retaliation protections under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, an employee must have provided pertinent information to the SEC. Accordingly, the Court held that internal complaints to corporate management are insufficient to invoke Dodd-Frank’s Whistleblower anti-retaliation protections. The import of this decision has been somewhat dramatically characterized by various news outlets (see, “The Supreme Court Limits Whistleblower Protections Under Dodd-Frank,” and “Supreme Court declines to broaden whistleblower protections”), and while this decision may indeed have practical implications in the securities industry, it is important not to conflate this limitation on Dodd-Frank’s Whistleblower protections with the broader ambit of anti-retaliation protections afforded to employees under that 2010 law. Internal complaints remain an integral and expressly authorized form of protected activity under another prong of Dodd-Frank, and the Digital Realty Trust decision reaffirms that those protections continue to exist for covered employees.

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