United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ROMERO HEAD, as the court-appointed Personal Representative of the Estate of ROMEO A. HEAD, Plaintiff,
DISTTECH, LLC, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon Defendants DistTech LLC
(“DistTech”) and Jacques Wright's
(collectively “Defendants”) Motion for Protective
Order. Dkt. #26. For the reasons stated herein, the Court
agrees with Defendants and GRANTS their Motion.
background facts in this matter have been summarized by the
Court's Order Granting Defendants' Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. #29) and are incorporated by
reference. In that Order, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's
claims against Defendant DistTech for negligent hiring,
retention, entrustment, supervision, and training. Dkt. #29.
However, while that Motion was still pending and before the
Court issued its Order, Plaintiff propounded certain
discovery requests that relate directly to the dismissed
claims. See Dkts. #26-1 and #26-2. On February 23,
2017, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Protective
Order. Dkt. #26. This Motion was properly noted for
consideration on March 3, 2017. Id. Plaintiff's
response to this Motion was due on March 1, 2017.
See LCR 7(d)(2). Seeing no response brief,
Defendants filed a Reply in support of their Motion on March
3, 2017. Dkt. #30. On March 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
purported Response without leave from the Court. Dkt. #31.
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “District courts
have broad discretion in determining relevancy for discovery
purposes.” Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor
Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing
Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir.
2002)); see also Seiter v. Yokohama Tire Corp., 2009
WL 2461000, *1 (W.D. Wash. 2009) (“The decision to
issue a protective order rests within the sound discretion of
the trial court.”). This Court has the authority to
“issue an order to protect a party or person from
annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense…” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1).
argue in the instant Motion, filed before the Court's
Order dismissing certain of Plaintiff's claims, that
Plaintiff should not be allowed to pursue discovery related
to those claims. See Dkt. #26. Defendants attach
some of Plaintiff's discovery requests seeking,
e.g., information related to “training and
education… provided by or on behalf of [DistTech] to
Jacques A. Wright at any time, ” and “documents
related to your recruiting and hiring of Jacques A.
Wright.” Dkt. #26-1 at 2. Defendants argue that
“many” of these discovery requests “relate
directly to the redundant negligence claims at issue.”
Dkt. #26 at 2. However, Defendants stop short of explicitly
requesting that all of the attached discovery requests be
barred under a proposed protective order. See Dkts.
#26 and #26-3 (Defendants' proposed protective order).
failed to file a timely response to the instant Motion.
Plaintiff's purported Response (Dkt. #31) was filed
without prior leave from the Court and fails to acknowledge
the timing issue. Plaintiff' “does not dispute that
some Protective Order should be issued by the Court, ”
but argues that such an order should not preclude
Plaintiff's discovery on Defendant Wright's
“driver qualification file, training file, discipline
file (if any) and DisTech LLC Policies, Procedures,
Guidelines and Safe Driver requirements.” Dkt. # 31 at
2. Although the Court is entitled to ignore this brief, the
Court has reviewed it and concluded it would not have changed
the Court's decision below.
the Court's prior Order dismissing Plaintiff's claims
at issue, it is clear that discovery requests that relate
solely to those claims should be barred as irrelevant.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Plaintiff appears to
agree. The Court will thus grant Defendants' requested
relief and issue a protective order barring Plaintiff from
seeking discovery related to Plaintiff's now-dismissed
negligent hiring, training, retention, supervision and
entrustment claims. It is not properly before the Court
whether Defendant Wright's “driver qualification
file, training file, discipline file (if any) and DisTech LLC
Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Safe Driver
requirements” are properly relevant to Plaintiff's
remaining negligence claim. The Court trusts the parties and
their counsel can adequately resolve this question without
the Court's assistance.
reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion
for Protective Order (Dkt. #26) and hereby orders that
Plaintiff may not propound discovery regarding
Plaintiff's now-dismissed negligent ...