46 U.S. Code § 6308 - Information barred in legal proceedings

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(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no part of a report of a marine casualty investigation conducted under section 6301 of this title, including findings of fact, opinions, recommendations, deliberations, or conclusions, shall be admissible as evidence or subject to discovery in any civil or administrative proceedings, other than an administrative proceeding initiated by the United States.
(b) Any member or employee of the Coast Guard investigating a marine casualty pursuant to section 6301 of this title shall not be subject to deposition or other discovery, or otherwise testify in such proceedings relevant to a marine casualty investigation, without the permission of the Secretary. The Secretary shall not withhold permission for such employee or member to testify, either orally or upon written questions, on solely factual matters at a time and place and in a manner acceptable to the Secretary if the information is not available elsewhere or is not obtainable by other means.
(c) Nothing in this section prohibits the United States from calling the employee or member as an expert witness to testify on its behalf. Further, nothing in this section prohibits the employee or member from being called as a fact witness in any case in which the United States is a party. If the employee or member is called as an expert or fact witness, the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern discovery. If the employee or member is called as a witness, the report of a marine casualty investigation conducted under section 6301 of this title shall not be admissible, as provided in subsections (a) and (b), and shall not be considered the report of an expert under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(d) The information referred to in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section shall not be considered an admission of liability by the United States or by any person referred to in those conclusions and statements.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 104–324, title III, § 313(a),Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3921; amended Pub. L. 109–241, title IX, § 902(e)(2), formerly § 902(e)(2)–(4), July 11, 2006, 120 Stat. 567, renumbered § 902(e)(2) and amended Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 903(a)(5)(B)–(7), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3010.)
References in Text

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (c), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
Amendments

2010—Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 111–281made technical amendment to directory language of Pub. L. 109–241, § 902(e). See 2006 Amendment notes below.
2006—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–241, § 902(e)(2)(B), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no part of a report of a marine casualty investigation conducted under section 6301 of this title, including findings of fact, opinions, recommendations, deliberations, or conclusions, shall be admissible as evidence or subject to discovery in any civil or administrative proceedings, other than an administrative proceeding initiated by the United States. Any employee of the Department of Transportation, and any member of the Coast Guard, investigating a marine casualty pursuant to section 6301 of this title, shall not be subject to deposition or other discovery, or otherwise testify in such proceedings relevant to a marine casualty investigation, without the permission of the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary shall not withhold permission for such employee or member to testify, either orally or upon written questions, on solely factual matters at a time and place and in a manner acceptable to the Secretary if the information is not available elsewhere or is not obtainable by other means.”
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–241, § 902(e)(2)(B), added subsec. (b). Former subsec. (b) redesignated (c).
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–241, § 902(e)(2)(A), (C), formerly § 902(e)(2)(A), (3), renumbered § 902(e)(2)(A), (C) and amended Pub. L. 111–281, § 903(a)(5)(B), (C), (6), redesignatedsubsec. (b) as (c) and substituted “subsections (a) and (b)” for “subsection (a)”. Former subsec. (c) redesignated (d).
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 109–241, § 902(e)(2)(A), (D), formerly § 902(e)(2)(A), (4), renumbered § 902(e)(2)(A), (D) and amended Pub. L. 111–281, § 903(a)(5)–(7), redesignated subsec. (c) as (d) and substituted “subsections (a), (b), and (c)” for “subsections (a) and (b)”.
Effective Date of 2010 Amendment

Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 903(a),Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3010, provided that the amendment by section 903(a)(5)(B)–(7), is effective with enactment of Pub. L. 109–241.

 

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