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Coachman v. Seattle Auto Management, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 5, 2018

TROY COACHMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
SEATTLE AUTO MANAGEMENT INC., dba MERCEDES BENZ OF SEATTLE and AL MONJAZEB Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Seattle Auto Management, Inc., dba Mercedes Benz of Seattle (“Mercedes of Seattle”) and Al Monjazeb's Motion for Protective Order. Dkt. #13. Defendants move the Court for a Protective Order prohibiting Plaintiff, Troy Coachman, from obtaining information about Defendants' financial position under Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id. Plaintiff opposes the Motion. Dkt. #16. Plaintiff further requests sanctions under Rules 26(c)(3) and 37(a)(5)(B). Id. at 7. For reasons discussed herein, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' Motion. The Court also apportions Plaintiff's sanctions request for attorneys' fees.

         II. BACKGROUND

         This matter arises from an employment discrimination action against Defendants Mercedes of Seattle and Mr. Monjazeb. See Dkt. #1. Mercedes of Seattle is a car dealership located in Seattle, Washington, and Defendant Monjazeb is the owner of that dealership. Id. at 2. Plaintiff, Mr. Coachman, was employed by Mercedes of Seattle from 2012 through January 2015. Id. at 3. Upon his termination in early January 2015, he was working as the Director of Finance. Id. Plaintiff claims that, after undergoing laryngectomy surgery (removal of larynx) which required him to speak using a prosthetic voice box, Defendant Monjezeb wrongfully terminated his employment. See id.

         In March 2014, Mr. Coachman was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer. Id. at 3. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he returned to fulltime employment at Mercedes of Seattle in July 2014 with no restrictions. Id. Mr. Coachman's cancer returned, and on September 19, 2014, he underwent laryngectomy surgery and now uses a prosthetic voice box to speak. Id. at 3-4. Before surgery, Mr. Coachman states that he arranged for a three-month medical leave with Mercedes of Seattle's human resource department. Id. On December 18, 2014, Mr. Coachman's doctor medically cleared him to return to work without restrictions on January 2, 2015. Id. at 4. Plaintiff informed Mercedes of Seattle's General Manager, Jason Graham, and its General Sales Manager, John Ramstetter, of his availability to return to work (on January 2, 2015). Id. Mr. Graham and Mr. Ramstetter informed Plaintiff that, before returning to work, he needed to speak with Defendant Monjazeb. Id. at 5. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Monjazeb declined a meeting with him on January 2, 2015, and Defendant Monjazeb did not offer to reschedule. Id.

         Instead of returning to work, Plaintiff was allegedly terminated by Defendant Monjazeb via email on January 8, 2015. Id. Plaintiff contends that he was fired because “[his] voice prosthesis disabled him from working.” Id. He further claims that Defendant Monjazeb never met with him to discuss his return to work, failed to review his medical records, and failed to explore reasonable accommodations to allow him to complete his essential functions as a finance director. Dkt. #1 at 6.

         On February 8, 2017, Mr. Coachman filed a six-count disability discrimination and failure to accommodate Complaint against Defendants for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act As Amended (“ADAAA”) (42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”) (RCW 49.60). See Dkt. #1.

         On February 2, 2018, Mr. Coachman served a deposition notice and request for production of documents on Mercedes of Seattle under Rule 30(b)(6). Dkt. #16 at 3. That notice states, “Plaintiff intends to examine the corporate representative regarding the ‘financial ability of Seattle Auto Management, Inc. to pay $100, 000 to $300, 000 in punitive damage.'” Dkt. #13 at 2. Plaintiff also included a Rule 34 request for production of documents, which requested the following:

5.1 The financial ability of Seattle Auto Management, Inc. to pay $100, 000 to $300, 000 in punitive damages, including the ability to explain and interpret the following financial documents:
i. Income tax returns for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017; ii. Annual reports reflecting the gross income for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017; and iii. Annual profit and loss statements for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
5.2 The gross annual revenue produced by Troy Coachman used to calculate his sales commission in 2013, and 2014, inclusive of work under the ownership of Phil Smart, including the ability to interpret and explain the data.
5.3 The gross annual revenue produced by Troy Coachman as compared to that produced by the following individuals: Amy Topping, Kris Capps, Andrew Argosino, and Joy Edward during each month of 2014, including ...

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