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 DEFENDANTS TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION'S
AND TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, U.S.A., INC.'S MOTION FOR
PROTECTIVE ORDER PROTECTING THEIR WITNESSES PRODUCED PURSUANT
TO FED. R. CIV. P. 30(B)(6) AND LIMITING CERTAIN
J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants Toyota Motor
Corporation's (“TMC”) and Toyota Motor Sales,
U.S.A., Inc.'s (“TMS”) (collectively
“Toyota Defendants”) Motion for Protective Order
Protecting Their Witnesses Produced Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
30(b)(6) and Limiting Certain Discovery (“Motion for
Protective Order”) (Dkt. 325). 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, Toyota Defendants' Motion for
Protective Order (Dkt. 325) should be granted, in part, and
denied, in part.
April 3, 2019, Plaintiff and Toyota discussed the necessity
of a deposition in this case. Toyota Defendants' counsel
wrote to Plaintiff's counsel asking whether Plaintiff
would accept, in lieu of another deposition, the deposition
of Jessica Dean, taken from the “Swasey case”
involving TMC. Dkt. 334-1, at 46. Plaintiff's counsel
declined. Dkt. 334-1, at 52. Toyota Defendants' counsel
requested that Plaintiff serve the notices of deposition
“by the end of May to allow them sufficient time to
prepare for their depositions[.]” Dkt. 334-1, at 67.
31, 2019, Plaintiff served notices of deposition to Toyota
Defendants. Dkt. 333, at 6. The notices of deposition
contained 96 matters of examination (“topics”)
and their schedule of documents contained 71 document
requests. Dkts. 334-1, at 70-124. Plaintiff contends that,
“[a]lthough the notices were lengthy and comprehensive,
Toyota, unlike other asbestos defendants, has relatively
limited involvement in asbestos litigation. As such,
plaintiff could not rely on the prior testimony as heavily as
plaintiff often can with other defendants, many of whom have
been deposed 50-100 times in asbestos litigation.”
Dkt. 333, at 6-7. The TMS deposition was scheduled for
September 5, 2019, and the TMC deposition was scheduled for
September 12, 2019. Plaintiff notes that this allowed for
“over triple the 30-day notice period under FRCP
30(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A).” Dkt. 333, at 7.
August 8, 2019,  Toyota Defendants' counsel wrote to
Plaintiff's counsel: “virtually all of the topics
and document requests are objectionable due to overbreadth,
vagueness, relevance, and lack of particularity.” Dkt.
334-2, at 2. Toyota Defendants' counsel asked to meet and
confer regarding the deposition notices and other discovery
matters with TMS. Dkt. 334-2, at 2.
states that, on August 15, 2019, “Plaintiff sent Toyota
a significantly shortened deposition notice. Plaintiff made
large reductions to nearly every topic, and deleted 23 topics
of examination and 21 document requests in their
entirety.” Dkt. 333, at 8 (internal citations omitted).
Later that day, Plaintiff's counsel and Toyota
Defendants' counsel apparently met and conferred
telephonically. Dkt. 333, at 8. Plaintiff's counsel
apparently deleted 14 additional topics and 7 more document
requests, and emailed a red-lined notice to Toyota
Defendants. Dkt. 333, at 8. The following day, Toyota
Defendants' counsel sent Plaintiff's counsel an email
agreeing to review the red-lined notice. Dkt. 334-2, at 81.
states that, on August 19, 2019, Toyota Defendants'
Counsel emailed Plaintiff's counsel that it believed
plaintiff's written discovery requests were inconsistent
with the Court's orders on other discovery matters. Dkt.
333, at 9. Plaintiff states that “[t]he next
communication Plaintiff received from Toyota was when Toyota
filed the instant 14-page motion[.]” Dkt. 333, at 9.
August 22, 2019, Toyota Defendants filed the instant Motion
for Protective Order. Dkt. 325. Toyota Defendants contend
that Plaintiff deluged the defendants with deposition topics
lacking particularity and not limited to any reasonable
boundaries corresponding to vehicles, component parts, facts,
or dates at issue in this case. Dkt. 325. Toyota Defendants
argue that, although Plaintiff served an amended notice of
deposition to TMS, Plaintiff failed to serve TMC. Dkt. 325.
Toyota Defendants contend that Plaintiff failed to review
pending TMS written discovery following the August 15, 2019
meet and confer, and that the written discovery is
duplicative of topics in the deposition notices. Dkt. 325.
Toyota Defendants also argue that the Court should protect
privileged documents and materials from production. Dkt. 325,
filed a response in opposition to the instant motion. Dkt.
333. Plaintiff makes three primary arguments: (1) Toyota
Defendants prejudiced Plaintiff by waiting 74 days to object
to Plaintiff's deposition notices; (2) Plaintiff's
deposition notices and discovery are relevant and
proportional to the needs of the case; and (3) Toyota did not
meaningfully meet and confer regarding the written discovery
and the amended deposition emailed after the meet and confer
on August 15, 2019. Dkt. 333.
Defendants filed a reply in support of the instant motion.
rules guiding this order were laid out well 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 ...