Depositions are often a critical discovery tool in civil litigation, as they generally provide a litigant (or a litigant’s counsel) the ability to ask a broad array of questions to a witness in real time and to potentially “lock-in” testimony on a critical issue in a case. Unlike other discovery tools—such as interrogatories—depositions upon oral examination are particularly potent tools in a litigator’s arsenal because they enable a party to gather information from a witness generally without the filter of a witness’ counsel. Indeed, the sworn deposition testimony of a key witness—as confirmed by the transcript of the deposition—can often determine the outcome of the entire case.

What if, however, a witness seeks to make substantive changes to deposition testimony after the deposition has concluded? Unbeknownst to many practitioners, Rule 30(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure appears, on its face, to permit exactly that.