United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Port of
Olympia's (“Port”) amended motion to compel
testimony of non-party witness Paul Stasch
(“Stasch”). Dkt. 95.
12, 2019, the parties deposed Stasch. Dkt. 96, ¶ 3. The
Port's counsel asked Stasch whether he had a valid
driver's license while he worked for the Washington
Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) in 2011, Dkt.
96-2 at 4, questions regarding Stasch's resignation,
id. at 5, and details about a lecture he may have
given at a local community college, id. at 5-6.
Stasch refused to answer these questions.
August 21, 2019, the Court granted the Port's motion for
leave to file a discovery motion past the discovery deadline.
Dkt. 69. On August 22, 2019, the Port filed a motion to
compel another deposition of Stasch to ask questions
“regarding his criminal history and disciplinary
history while employed at Ecology.” Dkt. 70. On
September 9, 2019, Plaintiff Waste Action Project
(“WAP”) responded and argued that the Court
should deny the motion because the Port failed to serve the
motion on Stasch or his personal counsel. Dkt. 78 at 3.
WAP's argument appeared valid because neither Stasch nor
his counsel were included in the Port's certificate of
service. Dkt. 72. On September 16, 2019, the Port withdrew
its motion and filed this amended motion. Dkts. 93, 95. On
September 30, 2019, WAP responded. Dkt. 107. On October 1,
2019, Stasch responded. Dkt. 113. On October 4, 2019, the
Port replied. Dkt. 115. On October 8, 2019, WAP filed a
surreply requesting that the Court strike new facts and
argument the Port submitted for the first time in reply. Dkt.
case, WAP and Stasch argue that the Court should deny the
Port's motion for both procedural and substantive
reasons. First, WAP argues that the Port's decision to
withdraw its original motion after WAP's response and
file an amended motion correcting the deficiencies identified
by WAP violates the letter and intent of the local rules of
procedure. Dkt. 107 at 4-6. The Court disagrees because WAP
responded to the substantive merits of both motions. This is
not a situation where a party repeatedly files motions only
to withdraw them after forcing the other party to respond.
Attorney oversight in serving the relevant parties does not
warrant denial of the motion or sanctions.
WAP argues that the motion violates the Court's
deadlines. Id. at 6-7. This argument is without
merit because the Court granted the Port leave to file the
Stasch argues that the Port failed to meet and confer before
filing the motion. Dkt. 113 at 5-7. The Port contends that it
did meet and confer with Stasch's counsel regarding a new
deposition. Dkt. 115. In fact, the Port submits an email
exchange between the parties after the Port filed this motion
with an offer from Stasch to resume his deposition if the
Port withdrew its motion and request for sanctions. Dkt.
116-4 at 4. Inexplicably, the Port refused this offer
suggesting that it might be more interested in sanctions than
the subject of Stasch's testimony. Moreover, the Port has
repeatedly asserted that this case is nothing more than an
attempt, even unethical in some respects, by WAP and its
counsel to exact penalties and attorney's fees for
baseless allegations. See, e.g., Dkt. 80 at 9
(“WAP's citizen suit is an attempt to piggyback on
Ecology's enforcement actions by seeking its own set of
penalties and damages-and of course attorney fees and
litigation costs”). It would be clearly improper if the
Port is seeking its own fees in retaliation. Regardless of
the actual motive, the Court will not condone the denial of
efforts to resolve a discovery dispute before requesting the
Court's intervention. The Court finds that this is reason
alone to deny the motion, but it will briefly address the
the subject matter of the deposition, WAP and Stasch argue
that any further questions regarding his driver's license
or resignation would be irrelevant and duplicative. The Court
agrees. To the extent such additional testimony might be
marginally relevant, the Port should have sufficient
information from the previous deposition and other sources to
competently attack his credibility on the issues set forth in
the complaint. Therefore, the Court DENIES
the Port's amended motion to compel.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The Court denies this motion as moot
because those facts and argument are irrelevant to the