United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MARIE DONIO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is an application by Plaintiff Joseph Ayres
(hereinafter, “Plaintiff”) to compel the
deposition of Thomas M. Molchan, Senior Vice President and
General Counsel for Defendant MAFCO Worldwide, LLC
(hereinafter, “Defendant”). Plaintiff asserts
that Mr. Molchan provided a certification in support of
Defendant's responses to Plaintiff's interrogatories,
and accordingly, he is subject to a deposition.Defendant objects
to the deposition and asserts that Mr. Molchan is not
identified by Defendant as an individual who has information
about the claims or defenses of Defendant, and that he served
as Defendant's corporate agent for the “sole
purpose of providing a certification” in support of
Defendant's responses to Plaintiff's interrogatories
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(b)(1)(B).
(Def.'s Ltr. [D.I. 18], Jan. 29, 2019, p. 1.) The Court
conducted a telephone conference with counsel on the record
on February 15, 2019 to address the dispute, and the Court
issued an oral opinion at that time. All parties consented to
the Court's ruling on the issue on February 15, 2019.
This Memorandum Opinion memorializes and supplements the oral
opinion issued on February 15, 2019. For the reasons that
follow, Plaintiff's application is denied.
Rule of Civil Procedure 33(b)(1)(B) provides:
(b) Answers and Objections.
(1) Responding Party. The interrogatories must be answered .
. . (B) if that party is a public or private corporation, a
partnership, an association, or a governmental agency, by any
officer or agent, who must furnish the information available
to the party.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(1)(B). A corporate agent may certify
the answers without personal knowledge. See,
e.g., U.S. v. 42 Jars, More or Less,
Bee Royale Capsules, 264 F.2d 666, 670 (3d Cir. 1959)
(“[T]he agent who answers on behalf of the corporation
does not need to have personal knowledge.”);
Katiroll Co., Inc. v. Kati Roll & Platters
Inc., No. 10-3620, 2014 WL 12634921, at *6 (D.N.J. Apr.
8, 2014) (noting that “[c]ase law . . . makes clear
that the officer or agent responding on behalf of the
corporation ‘does not need to have personal
knowledge'” (citing 42 Jars, More or
Less, Bee Royale Capsules, 264 F.2d at 670)).
acknowledges that a corporate agent, including an attorney,
may certify answers to interrogatories served upon the
corporation, but asserts that if the agent has done so, the
agent is subject to a deposition. Plaintiff further asserts
that without Mr. Molchan's deposition, Plaintiff is
placed in a situation of being unable to bind Defendant to
the interrogatory responses and utilize the responses at
trial. (Pl.'s Ltr. [D.I. 16], p. 2.) Plaintiff relies
upon Jordan v. Ensco Offshore Co., No. 15-1226, 2016
WL 3049565 (E.D. La. May 22, 2016) to support his position.
In Jordan, the court stated that “[i]f
interrogatory responses are not signed by the party but only
by the party's attorney, the responses are unsworn,
unverified, and amount only to statements of counsel. Such
interrogatory responses are not admissible evidence at
trial.” Id. at *8. However, Plaintiff's
argument conflates interrogatories signed by a party's
attorney and interrogatories signed by general counsel as a
corporate agent. In Jordan, the plaintiff, an
individual, did not sign the interrogatories; rather, his
attorney did, and when the defendant listed the responses to
the interrogatories as trial exhibits, plaintiff objected.
Id. at *1, 8. The district court sustained the
objection to the exhibits because the responses were unsworn
and unverified as to plaintiff and were deemed by the court
as only statements of counsel. Id. The case is
inapposite to the issue before the Court. The plaintiff in
Jordan was an individual, and the issue of a
corporate agent's certification of a corporation's
answers to interrogatories was not addressed in the case.
Mr. Molchan is not the attorney of record in the case.
Rather, he is general counsel for Defendant and has signed
the interrogatories as a corporate agent pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 33(b)(1)(B). Defendant MAFCO
Worldwide, LLC is bound by the answers. See Merriweather
v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 17-349, 2018 WL
3572527, at *3 (W.D. Ky. July 25, 2018) (“[T]he
corporation is responsible for the answers and will be bound
by the answers.”); 8B Charles A. Wright & Arthur R.
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 2172, p. 57
(3d ed. 2008) (“If the corporation designates someone
to answer interrogatories for it, that person is its agent
for that purpose, and the answers he or she gives are clearly
usable against the corporation as representative
admissions.”). Plaintiff does not need to depose Mr.
Molchan to bind the Defendant to the interrogatory answers.
Consequently, Plaintiff's articulated basis for deposing
Mr. Molchan is not sufficient, and in light of defense
counsel's representation that Mr. Molchan has no personal
knowledge or information concerning the matter, there has
been no other basis submitted to warrant Mr. Molchan's
deposition. Nor is Defendant required to provide a
supplemental certification to the interrogatory answers.
Rather, if Plaintiff wishes to inquire by deposition about
the answers, Plaintiff can serve a 30(b)(6) notice consistent
with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant can then
designate a witness or witnesses to address the topics set
forth in the Rule 30(b)(6) notice.
as forth herein, and for good cause shown: IT IS on this 28th
day of February 2019, ORDERED that
Plaintiff's application [D.I. 16] to compel the
deposition of Mr. Molchan, or in the alternative, a
supplemental certification from a corporate agent other than
Mr. Molchan shall be, and is hereby,
 As an alternative to the deposition,
Plaintiff requests that “Defendant [ ] produce a
supplemental certification from an individual permitted by
[Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 33 other than Mr.
Molchan.” (See Pl.'s Ltr. [D.I. 16], Jan.
25, 2019, p. 1.)
 Any dispute concerning a 30(b)(6)
notice should be addressed to the Court by way of Local Civil
Rule 37.1 after the parties meet and ...