United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND
GRANTING PLAINTIFFS-INTERVENORS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE
O. RICE Chief United States District Judge
THE COURT are Defendant Horning Brothers, LLC's Motion to
Compel Production of U-Visa Documents (ECF No. 35) and
Plaintiffs-Intervenors' Motion for Protective Order
Regarding Discovery of U Visa and Immigration Status
Information (ECF No. 39). These matters were submitted for
consideration without oral argument. The Court has reviewed
the record and files herein, and is fully informed. For the
reasons discussed below, Defendant's Motion to Compel
Production of U-Visa Documents (ECF No. 35) is
DENIED and Plaintiffs-Intervenors'
Motion for Protective Order Regarding Discovery of U Visa and
Immigration Status Information (ECF No. 39) is
April 25, 2017, Plaintiff State of Washington filed this
action against Defendants Horning Brothers, LLC and Hermilo
Cruz for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (Title VII) and the Washington Law Against
Discrimination (WLAD). ECF No. 1. This action concerns
allegations of discriminatory hiring and segregated
employment practices because of sex, sexual harassment,
retaliation, and aiding and abetting others in violation of
the WLAD. Id. Plaintiff asserts these claims against
Horning Brothers, which operates an onion packing shed in
Quincy, Washington, and its supervisor, Mr. Cruz.
Id. at 5. Plaintiff contends that Defendants
employed a policy or practice of hiring only women to sort
onions, limited women to certain positions, and discriminated
against women on the basis of sex, including retaliation,
quid pro quo sexual harassment, and/or severe, pervasive, and
unwelcome sexual conduct that gave rise to a hostile work
environment. Id. at 5-6.
15, 2017, the Court granted the Proposed Motion to Intervene
for Plaintiffs-Intervenors who were employed by Horning
Brothers, supervised by Mr. Cruz, and were allegedly
subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation, and constructive
discharge. ECF No. 10.
April 13, 2018, Defendant Horning Brothers filed a Motion to
Compel, requesting this Court require the
Plaintiffs-Intervenors to produce any U visa documents. ECF
No. 35. Also on April 13, 2018, Plaintiffs-Intervenors filed
a Motion for Protective Order to protect them from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, and undue burden resulting from
inquiries into U visa and immigration status information. ECF
No. 39. A U visa is a temporary nonimmigration status for
immigrant victims who suffered substantial abuse as a result
of criminal activity, possess information about that criminal
activity, and have been helpful to the investigation or
prosecution of that criminal activity. ECF Nos. 39 at 11;
35-1 at 2; 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(U)(i).
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), the scope of
discovery is broad and includes “any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
….” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Yet, the Court may,
for good cause, issue an order limiting discovery to protect
a party from “annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or
undue burden or expense ….” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1). The burden is upon the party seeking the order to
“show good cause” by demonstrating harm or
prejudice that would result from the discovery. Rivera v.
NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1064 (9th Cir. 2004)
(quoting Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210 (9th Cir. 2002)). “If a
court finds particularized harm will result from disclosure
of information to the public, then it balances the public and
private interests to decide whether a protective order is
necessary.” Id. at 1063 (quoting
Phillips, 307 F.3d at 1211).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37, a party may move the
Court for an order compelling disclosure or discovery
responses. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). The motion must include
certification that the moving party “in good faith
conferred or attempted to confer” with opposing counsel
in an effort to obtain discovery before resorting to court
action. Id. As an initial matter, the Court finds
that Defendant has met this obligation, certifying that it
held a discovery conference on March 23, 2018 and the parties
were unable to resolve the discovery issue. ECF No. 35 at 7.
move this Court to strike or not consider the Supplemental
Declaration of Maria Ramirez (ECF No. 38) because it was
filed in violation of the parties Stipulated Confidentiality
Agreement and Protective Order (ECF No. 29) and contains
hearsay. ECF No. 42 at 6. Maria Ramirez was an employee of
Defendants as a seasonal worker. ECF No. 38 at ¶ 3. Ms.
Ramirez declares that she never experienced the sexual
harassment allegations nor did she ever hear about such
allegations when she worked in the onion shed. Id.
Ms. Ramirez states that if she had suffered any sexual
harassment, she would have no problem speaking to the owners.
Id. at ¶ 4.
Court finds that Ms. Ramirez's declaration is rife with
hearsay and should not be considered. Ms. Ramirez's
allegations of rumors in the community, comments by
Plaintiffs-Intervenors, and mental capacity of those
Plaintiffs-Intervenors is merely hearsay and speculation. The
Court is not persuaded by Ms. Ramirez and the Defendant's
attempt to introduce hearsay testimony with serious
accusations of mental health and attempted fraud without any
factual substantiations. The Court also does not consider Ms.
Ramirez's own experience that she did not suffer any
alleged sexual harassment. Plaintiffs-Intervenors do not
argue that all of ...