7 CFR § 900.61 - Depositions.

§ 900.61 Depositions.

(a) Procedure in lieu of deposition. Before any party may have testimony taken by deposition, said party shall, if practicable, submit to the other party an affidavit which shall set forth the facts to which the witness would testify, if the deposition should be taken. If, after examination of such affidavit, the other party agrees, or (within 10 days after submission of the affidavit) fails to object, that the affidavit may be used in lieu of the deposition, the judge shall admit the affidavit in evidence and shall not order the deposition to be taken.

(b) Application for taking deposition. Upon the application of a party to the proceeding, the judge may, at any time after the filing of the moving paper, order, under the facsimile signature of the Secretary, the taking of testimony by deposition. The application shall be in writing and shall be filed with the hearing clerk and shall set forth: (1) The name and address of the proposed deponent; (2) the name and address of the person (referred to hereinafter in this section as the judge), qualified under the rules in this part to take depositions, before whom the proposed examination is to be made; (3) the proposed time and place of the examination, which shall be at least 15 days after the date of the mailing of the application; and (4) the reasons why such deposition should be taken.

(c) Judge's order for taking deposition. If, after the examination of the application, the judge is of the opinion that the deposition should be taken, he shall order its taking. The order shall be filed with the hearing clerk and shall be served upon the parties and shall state: (1) The time and place of the examination (which shall not be less than 10 days after the filing of the order); (2) the name of the judge before whom the examination is to be made; (3) the name of the deponent. The judge and the time and place need not be the same as those suggested in the application.

(d) Qualifications of judge. The deposition shall be taken before the judge, or before a judge authorized by the law of the United States or by the law of the place of the examination to administer oaths, or before a judge authorized by the Secretary to administer oaths.

(e) Procedure on examination.

(1) The deponent shall be examined under oath or affirmation and shall be subject to cross-examination. The testimony of the deponent shall be recorded by the judge or by some person under his direction and in his presence. In lieu of oral examination, parties may transmit written interrogatories to the judge prior to the examination and the judge shall propound such interrogatories to the deponent.

(2) The applicant must arrange for the examination of the witness either by oral examination or by written interrogatories. If it is found by the judge, upon the protest of a party to the proceeding, that such party has his residence and his place of business more than 100 miles from the place of the examination and that it would constitute an undue hardship upon such party to be represented at the examination, the applicant will be required to conduct the examination by means of interrogatories. When the examination is conducted by means of interrogatories, copies of the interrogatories shall be served upon the other parties to the proceeding at least five days prior to the date set for the examination, and the other parties shall be afforded an opportunity to file with the judge cross-interrogatories at any time prior to the time of the examination.

(f) Certification by judge. The judge shall certify on the deposition that the deponent was duly sworn by him and that the deposition is a true record of the deponent's testimony. He shall then securely seal the deposition, together with two copies thereof, in an envelope and mail the same by registered mail to the hearing clerk.

(g) Use of depositions. A deposition ordered and taken in accord with the provisions of this section may be used in a proceeding under the act if the judge finds that the evidence is otherwise admissible and (1) that the witness is dead; or (2) that the witness is at a distance greater than 100 miles from the place of hearing, unless it appears that the absence of the witness was procured by the party offering the deposition; or (3) that the witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, sickness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or (4) that the party offering the deposition has endeavored to procure the attendance of the witness by subpena but has been unable to do so; or (5) that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make it desirable, in the interests of justice, to allow the deposition to be used. If a deposition has been taken, and the party upon whose application it was taken refuses to offer it in evidence, the other party may offer the deposition, or any part thereof, in evidence.