United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
S. Lasnik, United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on plaintiff's
“Pleading & Motion Regarding Depositions.”
Dkt. # 29. Plaintiff requests permission to have a support
person at her deposition. She raised this issue in an email
to defense counsel on October 18, 2019. Dkt. # 31-1 at 3.
Although the parties were not able to connect in person or
via telephone to discuss the matter, defense counsel did not
outright reject the proposal but rather sought confirmation
that the support person was not a potential witness in this
case and would not interrupt the deposition. Dkt. # 31-2.
motion, plaintiff asserts that she has cause to distrust
Assistant Attorneys General because of the way she was
treated during her daughter's dependency proceeding, and
she would therefore like a witness to attend her deposition
with her. Defendants oppose the request, arguing that
plaintiff has failed to satisfy the meet and confer
requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1) and Local Civil Rule
37(a)(1)(A) and that she has not shown good cause for a
protective order. In reply, plaintiff has filed a number of
documents, discussed below.
are correct in their procedural objections, and there is no
reason to prevent or limit discovery under Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c). Nevertheless, plaintiff, as a pro se litigant, is in
the unenviable position of having to participate in a
deposition without a working knowledge of the rules governing
the proceeding and without the advice of counsel. Having a
friend or family member in attendance may help alleviate her
concerns and is not barred by the applicable rules of
procedure. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(c)(1) imposes
some limitations, however: the examination must proceed as it
would at trial, meaning that the support person (1) cannot be
a potential witness (i.e., someone who would, at
defendants' request, be excluded from the courtroom until
he or she is called to testify) and (2) cannot interrupt or
otherwise participate in the proceedings.
October 31, 2019, seemingly in reply to the original motion
regarding her deposition, plaintiff filed a “Motion to
Clarify” (Dkt. # 32), a “Motion to Discipline
Defense Counsel & to Extend Discovery” (Dkt. # 33),
and a “Motion for Further Discovery” (Dkt. # 34).
For the following reasons, each of these motions is DENIED.
Motion to Clarify
seeks clarification regarding motions filed by defendants on
October 30, 2019, the “court's response, ”
and “the court's ruling dated tomorrow.” Dkt.
# 32. Defendants have not filed any motions in this
litigation: the only documents filed on October 30th were
defendants' response to plaintiff's pending motion
regarding the presence of a support person at her deposition.
Nor has the Court responded to that motion or issued a ruling
until today. The Court is, therefore, unable to provide any
clarification regarding these matters.
Motion to Discipline Defense Counsel
asserts that defense counsel lied when she stated that she
had attempted to contact plaintiff by telephone on October
22, 2019. Dkt. # 33 at 1-2. A review of the relevant email
exchange shows that plaintiff misread counsel's email.
Counsel said only that she was responding to two phone calls
plaintiff made on October 22nd and an email plaintiff sent on
October 23rd. Dkt. # 31-2 at 3. Counsel did not assert that
she tried to phone plaintiff on October 22nd. There is,
therefore, no cause to discipline counsel.
Motion for Further Discovery
seeks an extension of the discovery deadline so that she can
have the audio recording of her daughter's dependency
trial transcribed, depose entities and persons involved in
her daughter's foster care placement, locate and take
discovery from a former DSHS/CPS employee, research family
separation practices at the border and the government's
justifications, and collect scholarly articles regarding the
long-term effects of family separation and untreated
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Dkt. # 33 at 2;
Dkt. # 34. Plaintiff asserts that she has been unable to
pursue these lines of investigation because defense counsel
has refused to work cooperatively, has failed to timely
respond to discovery requests, and has lied and delayed these
discovery deadline in this case is December 8, 2019. Dkt. #
20 at 1. That deadline was established nine months ago in
response to plaintiff's request for a continuance of the
trial date to allow her to pursue a nursing certificate, to
obtain an evaluation of her son, and to locate and take
discovery from the DSHS/CPS employee mentioned in the current
motion. Dkt. # 17. Plaintiff has not shown good cause for a
further extension of the discovery deadline, as required
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1). Her assertions that defense
counsel has refused to be cordial and cooperative in their
communications and/or has lied or intentionally delayed this
litigation are not borne out by the existing record. As for
the asserted delays in responding to discovery, plaintiff
acknowledges that she waited until the week of October 21st
to serve written discovery requests, meaning that
defendants' responses are not yet due under Fed.R.Civ.P.