United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
HENRY G. LUKEN III, Plaintiff,
CHRISTENSEN GROUP INCORPORATED, et al. Defendants.
ORDER ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER [DKT. 98] AND
MOTION TO COMPEL [DKT. 105]
B. Leighton United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Protective Order [Dkt. 98] and Plaintiff Henry G. Luken First
Motion to Compel Discovery [Dkt. 105]. Defendants seek a
protective order, claiming Luken's forty-seven pages of
interrogatories and document production requests are vague,
overly broad, impose an undue discovery burden, and violate
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as well as the Local
Civil Rules governing discovery. Luken opposes the motion for
protective order and seeks to compel Defendants'
responses to his interrogatories, requests for production,
and subpoenas. Both sides criticize the tactics of the other
for making the discovery process unnecessarily contentious.
was both a shareholder in and a customer of Christensen
Shipyards, LTD (CSL), a Vancouver, WA based builder of luxury
yachts. The arrangement was unsuccessful on all levels. CSL
went into receivership in 2015 and Luken ultimately purchased
its assets. This litigation involves complex claims between
Luken and CSL and its owners and officers, trading
allegations about why it all went wrong and who is
financially responsible, to whom.
has been a protracted and antagonistic process. The Court has
previously granted Defendants' motion to compel Luken to
provide initial disclosures and produce documents [Dkt. 46]
and has compelled Luken's responses to interrogatories
[Dkt. 73]. The Court is again called upon to settle a
completely avoidable discovery dispute.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Civil Rules
for the Western District of Washington govern the discovery
process. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) provides:
[p]arties 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
Local Civil Rules advise that “[t]he proportionality
standard set forth in Fed. R. Civ. P.26(b)(1) must be applied
in every case when parties formulate a discovery plan and
promulgate discovery requests. To further the application of
the proportionality standard in discovery, discovery requests
and related responses should be reasonably targeted, clear,
and as specific as possible.” Local Rules, W.D.Wash.
circumstances where a party abuses the discovery process,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1) permits a party from whom discovery is
sought to move for a protective order to safeguard the party
from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense. Conversely, a party may move to compel disclosure or
a discovery response if an opposing party fails to provide
the sought-after discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a).
Defendants' Motion for Protective Order [Dkt.
argue that Luken's contention interrogatories are overly
broad. Defendants estimate that responding to Luken's
interrogatories and requests for production would take
between 350 to 450 hours of attorney and paralegal time and
would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Defendants
contend that much of the information Luken seeks is already
available in the detailed pleadings and in the discovery
asserts that his interrogatories are proper because they ask
relevant questions about Defendants' defenses and
counterclaims, and that Defendants ...