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Brees v. HMS Global Maritime Inc.

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

November 12, 2019

RICHARD BREES, Plaintiff,
v.
HMS GLOBAL MARITIME INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY

          ROBERT J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery. Dkt. 85. The Court is familiar with the record and all materials filed in support of and in opposition to the motion, and it is fully advised. For the reasons set forth below, the Court should deny Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery (Dkt. 85).

         I. BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. BACKGROUND

         On July 3, 2019, Defendant Thomas Ripa (“Mr. Ripa”), an employee of HMS Ferries Inc. and/or HMS Global Maritime Inc., responded to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production. Dkt. 100. Interrogatory No. 6 asked Mr. Ripa, “At any time, have you spoken with Steve Caputo, or the law offices of Harrigan Leyh Farmer Thomsen LLP regarding your witness statement? If so, please describe the/those conversation(s).” Dkt. 100, at 2. Mr.

         Ripa objected and responded as follows:

Subject to and without waiving any objection, Steven Caputo requested I write a statement regarding the events I witnessed on May 18, 2018 involving the plaintiff and I discussed the events described in my statement with Michelle Buhler and Charles Jordan. []Subject to and without waiving any objection, a 6/27/18 email from Steve Caputo to Thomas Ripa is an associated document.”

Dkt. 100, at 2.

         On July 17, 2019, Plaintiff served a request for production on Mr. Ripa for “[a]n email dated 6/27/18 from Steven Caputo to Thomas Ripa, otherwise described in Mr. Ripa's interrogatory response as an ‘associated document.'” Dkt. 100, at 2. Mr. Ripa objected to producing the email insofar as it also contained a January 26, 2019 email between Mr. Ripa and associate counsel for HMS Global Maritime, Justin Walker (“Mr. Walker”). Dkt. 100, at 2. Mr. Ripa produced the email in redacted form with a privilege log. Dkts. 85, at 7; and 100, at 2, 12- 13. Mr. Ripa claimed that the email between he and Mr. Walker was redacted “not only because it was not the subject of plaintiff's discovery request, but also because it was protected from disclosure pursuant to the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine, as per the privilege log produced with the document.” Dkt. 100, at 2-3.

         The parties met and conferred and apparently agreed to partially unredact the email only as to the date of the email and the identities of Mr. Walker and Mr. Ripa. Dkt. 100, at 3. The parties disagree as to whether they ever agreed to produce the email fully unredacted. Dkt. 100, at 3.

         The partially unredacted email on file shows a June 27, 2018 email correspondence from Steve Caputo to Mr. Ripa with the following message: “I won't have the date until tomorrow. The statement can wait until then. Please let Dom know. []Thanks, [] Steven Caputo.” Dkt. 100, at 12. The email shows that it was sent from Mr. Ripa to Mr. Walker on January 25, 2019, and several lines of text are redacted, including, apparently, Steven Caputo's cell phone number. Dkt. 100, at 23. The attached privilege log refers to the email, which is described as “[e]mail re: 5/18/18 witness statement” and “privilege[d]” as “[w]ork product, attorney-client.” Dkt. 100, at 15 (emphasis removed).

         B. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel Discovery. Dkt. 85. Defendants HMS Global Maritime Inc., HMS Ferries Inc., Steve Caputo, Dominick De Lango, Mylinda Miller, Thomas Ripa Tara Reynolds, and Derick F. Leenstra (collectively “HMS Defendants”) filed an oppositional response. Dkt. 99. Plaintiff filed a reply in support of the motion. Dkt. 105. The motion was renoted for consideration on November 1, 2019. Dkt. 108.

         II. ...


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