Morgan Scott ’24 Wins the 2024 Nagareda Prize for Article on the Rule of Witness Sequestration

Morgan Scott ’24 has won the 2024 Nagareda Prize for her Vanderbilt Law Review note “A Different Standard for Different Stages: Why Parties Must Be Allowed to “Invoke the Rule” During Oral Depositions.”

The award, sponsored by the Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program, was announced by the program’s director, Ingrid Brunk, who holds the Helen Strong Curry Chair in International Law. The annual prize, which honors the late Richard Nagareda, the first director of the Branstetter Program, recognizes the best scholarly paper in the fields of litigation and dispute resolution written by a member of the current graduating class.

The paper argues for an extension of the rule of witness sequestration, commonly referred to as “the Rule” of evidence. While the rule requires the exclusion of witnesses from a courtroom to prevent them from hearing the testimony of other witnesses, it does not apply to depositions.

“(The rule of witness sequestration) is one of, if not the most, powerful rules in American trial proceedings,” she writes. “The disparity between the different standards to obtain witness sequestration––based solely on the stage of litigation––is enormous and unjustified.”

Scott’s paper explains why the rules governing deposition and trial testimony differ and convincingly argues that they should be brought into alignment, specifically expanding the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 to include the rule of witness sequestration.

Scott served as a managing editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. She won the mock trial competition as a 1L and ran the competition the following year as Vice President of Vanderbilt Mock Trial. Scott worked as a teaching assistant for the legal writing department and a research assistant for Professor Edward Cheng as well. After graduation, she will join Ropes & Gray in Boston and clerk for the Honorable Anuraag Singhal in the Southern District of Florida.