United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ERIC KLOPMAN-BAERSELMAN, as Personal Representative for the Estate of RUDIE KLOPMAN-BAERSELMAN, deceased, Plaintiff,
AIR & LIQUID SYSTEMS CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT O'REILLY'S MOTION FOR
J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant O'Reilly Auto
Enterprises, LLC's (“O'Reilly”) Motion
for Protective Order (Dkt. 271). The Court has considered the
motion, all materials filed in support of and in opposition
to the motion, and the remainder of the record herein, and it
is fully advised.
reasons set forth below, O'Reilly's Motion for
Protective Order should be granted, in part, and denied, in
28, 2019, Plaintiff served O'Reilly with a notice of
deposition requiring O'Reilly to designate a FRCP
30(b)(6) corporate representative. Dkt. 271-1. The notice
contains 52 topics of examination. Dkt. 271-1. O'Reilly
filed the instant motion, disputing the appropriateness of
Topics 4, 5, 7-22, 24-26, 28-30, 32-41, 43, 46, and 49-52.
O'Reilly argues that “[t]he scope of
plaintiff's notice of deposition is impossibly broad,
unduly burdensome, and disproportionate to the needs of this
case. The Court should issue a protective order, limiting the
scope of the upcoming deposition as requested in this
motion.” Dkt. 271, at 10. Pursuant to LCR 26(c)(1),
counsel for O'Reilly certifies that the parties engaged
in a good faith meet and confer attempting to resolve the
disputed issues. Dkt. 271, at 2.
rules guiding this order were well laid out by the Court in
Boyer v. Reed Smith, LLP, C12-5815 RJB, 2013 WL
5724046, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 21, 2013):
Pursuant to Fed. R .Civ. P. 30(b)(6), a party may serve
notice on an organization that describes “with
reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is
requested.” The noticed organization must then
“designate one or more officers, directors, or managing
agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its
behalf.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6). “The persons so
designated shall testify as to the matters known or
reasonably available to the organization.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
Although there is conflicting case law from other circuits on
the proper scope of a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition in light of
its “reasonable particularity” requirement,
districts in the Ninth Circuit have concluded that
“[o]nce the witness satisfies the minimum standard [for
serving as a designated witness], the scope of the deposition
is determined solely by relevance under Rule 26, that is,
that the evidence sought may lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence.” Detoy v. City and County of
San Francisco, 196 F.R.D. 362, 367 (N.D. Cal. 2000); see
also U.S. E.E.O. V. v. Caesars Entertainment, Inc.,
237 F.R.D. 428, 432 (D. Nev. 2006).
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) provides that “[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.]” The scope of
discovery permissible under Rule 26 should be liberally
construed; the rule contemplates discovery into any matter
that bears on or that reasonably could lead to other matter
that could bear on any issue that is or may be raised in a
case. Phoenix Solutions Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A., 254 F.R.D. 568, 575 (N.D. Cal. 2008). Discovery is
not limited to the issues raised only in the pleadings, but
rather it is designed to define and clarify the issues.
Miller v. Pancucci, 141 F.R.D. 292, 296 (C.D. Cal.
In turn, Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(c) provides that “[o]n
motion or on its own, the court must limit the frequency or
extent of discovery otherwise allowed by these rules or by
local rule if it determines that: (i) the discovery sought is
unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained
from some other source that is more convenient, less
burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking
discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information
by discovery in the action; or (iii) [the proposed discovery
is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1)].”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1) provides that a court “may, for
good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from
annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense.” To establish “good cause, ” a
party seeking a protective order for discovery materials must
“present a factual showing of a particular and specific
need for the protective order.” Welsh v. City and
County of San Francisco, 887 F.Supp. 1293, 1297 (N.D.
Cal. 1995); see also Gen. Dynamics Corp. v. Selb Mfg.
Co., 481 F.2d 1204, 1212 (8th Cir. 1973). In determining
whether to issue a protective order, courts must consider
“the relative hardship to the non-moving party should
the protective order be granted.” Gen.
Dynamics, 481 F.2d at 1212. Under the liberal discovery
principles of the Federal Rules, a party seeking a protective
order carries a heavy burden of showing why discovery should
be denied. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d
418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975). The court may fashion any order
which justice requires to protect a party, or person, from
undue burden, oppression, or expense. United States v.
Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 666 F.2d 364, 369
(9th Cir. 1982).
Court need not, and does not, discuss each of the many topics
in dispute. Below, the Court discusses select topics
demonstrating the need for Plaintiff to amend and reserve the
notice of deposition in conformity with the liberal rules and
purpose of discovery set forth above.
4: O'Reilly's corporate history and business,
including the dates of inception; the asbestos containing
products it manufactured, distributed, and sold; the brands
of brakes, clutches, and gaskets it sold; the identity of its
suppliers of brakes, clutches, and gaskets; the quantity of
brakes, clutches, and gaskets it purchased and sold each year
before 2003; the scope of its business; the locations of its
business; the locations of production, distribution, and
sale; yearly revenue from its business before 2003;
O'Reilly's total revenue from the years when it was
selling and distributing asbestos-containing brakes,
clutches, and/or gaskets; and O'Reilly's business
relationship with CSK Auto.
is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not proportional to the
needs of the case. See McArthur v. Rock Woodfired Pizza
& Spirits,318 F.R.D. 136, 142 (W.D. Wash. 2016)
(finding that extensive financial information sought by
plaintiff was not proportional to the needs of the case);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1)-(2). Portions of Topic 4 appear to
relate to all of O'Reilly's business activity,
regardless of its relationship, if any, to
asbestos-containing products or a particular geographic