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Lundquist v. First National Insurance Company of America

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

August 27, 2019

CAMERON LUNDQUIST, an individual, and LEENAN LARA, an individual, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
FIRST NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON INSURER DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

          Robert J. Bryan United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants First National Insurance Company of America (“First National”) and LM General Insurance Company's (“LM General”) (collectively “Insurer Defendants”) Motion for Protective Order as to Second Rule 30(b)(6) deposition. Dkt. 123. The Court has considered the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the remaining file.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In this putative class action, the Plaintiffs assert that Defendants' practice of using unexplained and unjustified condition adjustments to comparable vehicles when valuing a total loss claim for a vehicle, violates the Washington Administrative Code (“WAC”), specifically WAC 284-30-391 (4)(b) and (5)(d), and so constitutes: (1) breach of contract, (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) violation of Washington's Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86., et seq. (“CPA”) and (4) civil conspiracy. Dkt. 90. The Plaintiffs seek damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs. Id.

         The parties have exchanged written discovery and produced thousands of pages of documents. Dkt. 123-1, at 2-3. On May 16, 2019, in response to the Plaintiff's Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) notice, the Insurer Defendants produced Jeff Gabriel, Director of their Central Data Office, to sit for the deposition. Id., at 3. It lasted for over four hours. Id.

         On August 9, 2019, the Plaintiffs served a second Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice on the Insurer Defendants. Dkt. 123-2. This Notice of Deposition identifies 18 topics for discussion. Id. The Insurer Defendants responded with objections. Dkt. 123-4. The parties met and conferred and were unable to resolve this discovery dispute. Dkt. 123-1, at 4.

         The Insurer Defendants now move for an order protecting its Fed.R.Civ.P. 30 (b)(6) deponent from having to testify a second time and/or from having to testify about certain matters identified in the Plaintiffs' Rule 30 (b)(6) deposition notice. Dkt. 123. They also move for an award of attorneys' fees. Id. The Plaintiffs oppose the motion. Dkt. 124.

         The deadline for Plaintiffs' motion for class certification is October 4, 2019, the fact discovery deadline is November 20, 2019, the dispositive motions deadline is December 20, 2020, and the trial is set to begin on April 6, 2020. Dkt. 118.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. STANDARD ON DISCOVERY GENERALLY

         Fed. R. Civ. p. 26(b)(1) provides:

Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: 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.

         “The 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 (1978)(quoting 4 J. Moore, Federal Practice ¶ 26.56 [1], p. 26-131 n. 34 (2d ed. 1976)).

         B. RULE 30 AND STANDARD ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) “Notice or Subpoena Directed to an Organization, ” provides in relevant part that: “[i]n its notice or subpoena, a party may name as the deponent a public or private corporation . . . and must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination.” Rule 30(d)(1) provides,

Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a deposition is limited to one day of 7 hours. The court must allow additional time consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2) if needed to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent . . . or any other circumstance impedes or delays the examination.
Under Fed.R.Civ.p. 26(b)(2)(C),
On 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).

         Further, pursuant to Rule 26(c)(1), for good cause, the court may “issue an order to protect a party or person from . . . oppression, or undue burden or expense, including . . . forbidding the disclosure or discovery . . . [or] limiting the scope of disclosure or discovery.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(A) and (D).

         C. MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER - TIME, TOPICS IN DISPUTE IN THE 30(b)(6) NOTICE OF DEPOSITION, AND MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES

         The Insurer Defendants move for a protective order either preventing their Rule 30(b)(6) deponent from being deposed again or ...


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