Kocurek et al v. Franks International L L C et al
MEMORANDUM RULING re 57 MOTION to Strike the "Amendment" of Le Chat Interiors, Inc.'s Deposition Testimony filed by Franks International L L C, Gary Luquette. Considering the evidence, the law, and the arguments of the parties, and for the reasons fully explained below, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick J Hanna on 5/31/2017. (crt,Alexander, E)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:16-CV-00543
FRANK’S CASING CREW &
RENTAL TOOLS, LLC ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HANNA
Currently pending is the defendants’ motion (Rec. Doc. 57), which seeks to
strike or limit the amendment of Le Chat’s deposition testimony as set forth in an
exhibit to the plaintiffs’ memorandum opposing the defendants’ motion for summary
judgment. (Rec. Doc. 54-7 at 4-9). Considering the evidence, the law, and the
arguments of the parties, and for the reasons fully explained below, the motion is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are Kathy Kocurek and the business that she owns
and operates, Le Chat Interiors, Inc. According to the amended complaint, a contract
was entered into on March 14, 2013 between Ms. Kocurek and Le Chat, on the one
side, and Frank’s Casing Crew & Rental Tools, Inc., on the other. Keith Mosing
signed the contract in his capacity as the president and CEO of Frank’s Casing Crew
& Rental Tools, Inc. Under the contract, the plaintiffs were to perform interior design
services in connection with the construction of a new office building in Lafayette,
Louisiana and to be compensated at the rate of $100 per hour for the interior design
The complaint alleged that, in December 2013, Frank’s Casing Crew & Rental
Tools, Inc. merged with Frank’s International, LLC, and the latter entity survived.
The plaintiffs further alleged that Frank’s International, LLC (hereinafter referred to
as Frank’s) is now responsible for the obligations undertaken in the contract, and
Frank’s is the defendant in this lawsuit.
The plaintiffs alleged that, in January 2015, Gary Luquette succeeded Keith
Mosing as the president and CEO of Frank’s and, in March 2015, Luquette breached
the contract by terminating it before the work contemplated by the contract was
completed. The plaintiffs seek to recover damages from Frank’s for the alleged
breach of contract, and they seek to recover damages from Luquette for his alleged
tortious interference with a contractual relationship.
On April 3, 2017, Ms. Kocurek was deposed in her own capacity and also in
her capacity as the corporate representative of Le Chat Interiors, Inc. On April 20,
2017, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Along with their
opposition to the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiffs filed in the record a
complete copy of the deposition transcript (Rec. Doc. 54-3), an affidavit by Ms.
Kocurek (Rec. Doc. 54-7 at 1-3), and an amendment of the deposition testimony or
“errata sheet” (Rec. Doc. 54-7 at 4-8) by which Ms. Kocurek sought to revise certain
parts of her deposition testimony. In the instant motion, the defendants seek to strike
the amendments to the deposition testimony that are listed on the errata sheet.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
This dispute is governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(e), which states that a deponent
is allowed thirty days after being notified of the completion of the deposition
transcript to review the transcript and “if there are changes in form or substance, to
sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for making them.” The Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals “has not ruled on whether Rule 30(c) permits a deponent to
use an errata sheet to make substantive changes to his deposition testimony.”1 Absent
guidance from the Fifth Circuit, some courts in the circuit have interpreted the scope
of the amendments permitted by the rule narrowly, while others have interpreted the
The narrow approach was exemplified in Greenway v. International Paper
Company, 144 F.R.D. 322, 325 (W.D. La. 1992), where the court explained:
The purpose of Rule 30(e) is obvious. Should the reporter make a
substantive error, i.e., he reported “yes” but I said “no,” or a formal
Gautreaux v. Apache Corp., No. _____, 2010 WL 3982279 at *5 (E.D. La. Oct. 8,
error, i.e., he reported the name to be “Lawrence Smith” but the proper
name is “Laurence Smith,” then corrections by the deponent would be
in order. The Rule cannot be interpreted to allow one to alter what was
said under oath. If that were the case, one could merely answer the
questions with no thought at all then return home and plan artful
responses. Depositions differ from interrogatories in that regard. A
deposition is not a take home examination.
The broad view was adopted in Poole v. Gorthon Lines AB, 908 F.Supp.2d 778, 787
(W.D. La. 2012), where the court noted:
This interpretation, unlike the narrow interpretation, is consistent with
the plain language of the Rule which expressly contemplates “changes
in form or substance” accompanied by a signed statement reciting the
reasons for the changes. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(e). As written, the Rule
makes provision for changes in substance that are made for legitimate
reasons, such as to correct a misstatement or honest mistake.
Courts adopting a broader reading of Rule 30(e) usually implement safeguards
against a deponent’s wholesale change of his or her testimony in post-deposition
errata sheets by either requiring both the deposition transcript and the errata sheets
to be considered in all proceedings conducted after the deposition or by allowing the
deposition to be reopened for the limited purpose of permitting the deponent to be
questioned with regard to the changed testimony.2
In this case, a careful review of the plaintiffs’ errata sheet and Ms. Kocurek’s
deposition testimony persuaded this Court that a common sense approach – neither
See Poole v. Gorthon Lines AB, 908 F.Supp.2d at 786-787.
particularly broad nor narrow – should be used in analyzing the changes to the
deposition testimony proposed by the plaintiffs.
First, this Court finds that Ms. Kocurek’s amended response to the question
asked at Page 39, Line 17 of the deposition is not so substantive a change as to
require that the amendment be stricken. Therefore, this change set forth on the errata
sheet will not be stricken.
Second, this Court finds that Ms. Kocurek’s original response to the question
asked at Page 189, Lines 18-19 of the deposition was unresponsive and further finds
that her amended response is equally unresponsive. Therefore, this change set forth
on the errata sheet will not be stricken.
Third, this Court finds that the plaintiffs’ changing of the word “bid” to the
word “price” at three places on Page 191 of the deposition transcript is not a
substantive change to Ms. Kocurek’s testimony. Therefore, those changes set forth
on the errata sheet will not be stricken.
Fourth, the plaintiffs argue that confusion resulted from references to “Keith”
on pages 192-193 of the deposition transcript because there was no clarification
concerning whether the “Keith” being referred to was Keith Mosing or Keith
Williams. Accordingly, this Court finds that the restated answer to the question asked
at Page 192, Lines 24-25 is an appropriate amendment to Ms. Kocurek’s testimony
that removes the perceived confusion. Therefore, this Court will permit the addition
of the following words at Lines 1-2 of Page 193: “Keith Mosing said the pricing
should be competitive. So we were getting documents to show competitive price on
all the items.”
While Rule 30(e) permits a deponent to revise her testimony, it does not permit
a deponent to delete questions asked during the deposition. In this case, the plaintiffs
seek to delete not only Ms. Kocurek’s response to the question asked but also the next
question and her response to it (Page 193, Lines 3-9). This Court finds that the plain
language of Rule 30(e) does not contemplate the deletion of questions asked during
the deposition. Further, the stated reason for deleting this question and answer was
an incorrect use of the word “bid.” (Rec. Doc. 54-7 at 6). Previously, however, the
plaintiffs had simply requested that the word “bid” be replaced with the word “price.”
At this spot in the transcript, however, the plaintiffs inexplicably seek to delete seven
lines of questions and answers. This Court finds that, even if a broad interpretation
of Rule 30(e) were adopted, this proposed amendment of the deposition transcript
would not be justified. Accordingly, the defendants’ motion will be granted to the
extent that Lines 3-9 on Page 193 will remain in the deposition transcript.
Finally, the plaintiffs indicated on their errata sheet that they seek to delete all
testimony from Page 193, line 10 through Page 197, line 20, or approximately five
full pages of questions and answers. The reasons given for this request were
“incorrect testimony based on speculative question,” “request for information [upon]
which deponent has no knowledge,” and “documents speak for themselves.” (Rec.
Doc. 54-7 at 6-8). As noted above, Rule 30(e) does not contemplate that a deponent
would seek to amend her deposition testimony by completely deleting a question and
the response to that question, much less multiple questions and the responses to those
questions. The rule, on its face, permits a deponent to modify what she said during
the deposition but not what anyone else said. Therefore, this Court is aware of no
reason why questions asked during the deposition should be stricken from the
Furthermore, this Court finds that asking a speculative question is not a valid
basis for such a drastic revision of deposition testimony since the deposition was
taken for discovery purposes and no objection to these particular questions was made
at the time they were asked. The witness could not have been instructed not to answer
the questions asked of her and since there were no objections to the form of the
question, that objection is waived.
The plaintiffs seek to strike the entirety of Page 194 based on the deponent’s
lack of information about the questions asked, but that is inconsistent with the fact
that she answered the questions at the time without she or her attorney advising that
she actually had no knowledge about the subject being addressed or making an
objection of any kind.
The final reason given for seeking to have these pages of the deposition deleted
is equally lacking in merit. Documents are routinely produced in connection with
depositions, and deponents are routinely asked about documents during depositions.
Therefore, stating that a document speaks for itself, while true, is generally not a valid
basis for striking a deponent’s testimony regarding a particular document relevant to
the dispute before the court.
In sum, this Court finds that Rule 30(e) – whether interpreted narrowly or
broadly – does not permit the deletion of five pages of questions and answers from
a deposition transcript.
Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons,
IT IS ORDERED that the defendants’ motion to strike the changes set forth on
the plaintiffs’ errata sheet (Rec. Doc. 57) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
PART. More particularly, the motion is denied with regard to the amendment of the
deponents’ responses set forth at Page 189, Line 18; Page 189, Lines 20-23; Page
191, Lines 12-16; and Page 193, Lines 1-2. In all other respects, the motion is
granted, and the plaintiffs’ proposed deletion of the colloquy from Page 193, Line 3
through Page 197, Line 20 is not permitted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a revised errata sheet, listing only the
changes approved of herein, shall be prepared, and in all further proceedings in this
litigation requiring the use of or reference to the April 3, 2017 deposition in which
Ms. Kocurek appeared both in her individual capacity and as Le Chat’s corporate
representative, the errata sheet shall be incorporated in the deposition transcript and
filed in the record so that any reference to the amended pages of the deposition shall
include reference to both the original deposition testimony and the amended
testimony set forth on the errata sheets.
Signed at Lafayette, Louisiana on this 31st day of May 2017.
PATRICK J. HANNA
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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