United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Protective Order to Limit Further Inquiry During the
Deposition of Dr. Haghighatpour. Dkt. #102. Specifically,
Defendants seek an Order prohibiting further questions about
Dr. Haghighatpour's immigration status and religion on
the basis that such questions go beyond what is permitted to
impeach the credibility of a non-party witness. Dkt. #105 at
1. Plaintiff opposes the motion, arguing that he does not
seek to question Dr. Haghighatpour about his immigration
status, but rather to question him about past inconsistent
representations made to the Court, which goes to his
credibility. Dkt. #104. Plaintiff further argues that Dr.
Haghighatpour has made inconsistent statements about his
religion, which also goes to his credibility. Id.
Finally, Plaintiff argues that Defendants lack standing to
bring this motion. Id. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Court now DENIES Defendants' motion.
of discovery in this matter, the parties deposed non-party
witness Dr. Mohsen Haghighatpour, a dentist who formerly
practiced with Plaintiff. Dkt. #103, Ex. A. During the
deposition, Plaintiff's counsel attempted to question Dr.
Haghighatpour about statements he made during an immigration
proceeding of his. Id. at 97:3-101:2. Dr.
Haghighatpour responded that he did not want to answer
questions without his attorney. Id. At the same
time, Defendants' counsel, although not representing Dr.
Haghighatpour, objected on the basis of relevance, and
informed the witness that he was not required to answer the
deposition questions. Id. Dr. Haghighatpour went on
to state that he did not understand “technical”
questions in English, and requested that he be allowed to get
an attorney and an interpreter. Id. at 101:3-103:2.
He then refused to answer questions regarding statements he
had made about his religion in various legal proceedings.
Id. at 103:7-104:25. Again, Defendants' counsel
made relevance objections and informed the witness that he
could have an attorney present before answering questions.
Id. Over the course of the remainder of the
deposition, Dr. Haghighatpour continued to refuse to answer
questions, became very agitated, and eventually stated he was
going to report Plaintiff's counsel “to the
bar.” Dkt. #104-1, Ex. 4 at 174:1-25. Ultimately,
Plaintiff's counsel suspended the deposition so that Dr.
Haghighatpour could secure counsel. Id. at 177:1-7.
The instant motion followed.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1):
Parties 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. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
court should and ordinarily does interpret
‘relevant' very broadly to mean matter that is
relevant to anything that is or may become an issue in the
litigation.” Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351, n.12, 98 S.Ct. 2380, 57
L.Ed.2d 253 (1978) (quoting 4 J. Moore, Federal
Practice ¶ 26.56 , p. 26-131 n. 34 (2d ed. 1976).
[a] party or any person from whom discovery is sought may
move for a protective order in the court where the action is
pending - or as an alternative on matters relating to a
deposition, in the court for the district where the
deposition will be taken. The motion must include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with other affected parties in an effort
to resolve the dispute without court action. The court may,
for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person
from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense, including one or more of the following:
(A) forbidding the disclosure or discovery;
(B) specifying terms, including time and place or the
allocation of expenses, for the ...