United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ALI J. NAINI, Plaintiff,
KING COUNTY PUBLIC HOSPITAL DISTRICT NO. 2 d/b/a EVERGREEN HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER et al., Defendants.
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant King County Public
Hospital District No. 2's (Evergreen) motion for a
protective order regarding Plaintiff's 30(b)(6) subpoena
(Dkt. No. 50) and on Evergreen's motion to quash
Plaintiff's subpoena to testify at a deposition in a
civil trial to Al DeYoung (Dkt. No. 44). Having considered
the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion for a protective
order. The also Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the
motion to quash.
Court previously laid out Plaintiff's allegations and the
procedural history in this case; the Court will not repeat
that information here. (See Dkt. No. 79 at 1-4.) To
date, Plaintiff has deposed nine fact witnesses.
(See Dkt. No. 45 at 2.) On August 22, 2019,
Plaintiff served Al DeYoung, the Chairman of Evergreen's
Board of Commissioners, with a subpoena to testify at a
deposition, (see Dkt. No. 45-1 at 36-40), which
Plaintiff later supplemented with a second subpoena, (see
Id. at 42-46). On August 29, 2019, Plaintiff served
Evergreen with a subpoena pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 30(b)(6). (See Dkt. No. 52-5.) Six days
later, Plaintiff served Evergreen with an amended deposition
notice that included additional topics. (See Dkt.
No. 52-6 at 4-6.)
for Plaintiffs and Defendants subsequently discussed the
subpoenas for Mr. DeYoung and Evergreen, along with other
discovery issues, via telephone on September 10.
(See Dkt. No. 56-3 at 2.) During that discussion,
Plaintiff clarified that his 30(b)(6) deposition would be his
tenth deposition; the deposition of Mr. DeYoung would be
Plaintiff's eleventh. (See id.) Plaintiff also
agreed to narrow certain topics contained in the 30(b)(6)
subpoena and amended notice. (See id.) However, the
parties were unable to fully resolve their disputes regarding
either the 30(b)(6) subpoena or Mr. DeYoung's subpoena.
(See id.) Consequently, Evergreen filed a motion for
a protective order limiting the scope of the 30(b)(6)
subpoena and a motion to quash Mr. DeYoung's subpoena.
(See Dkt. Nos. 44, 50.)
the briefing for those motions, Plaintiff has made several
requests of the Court. (See Dkt. No. 55 at 4.)
Specifically, Plaintiff requests that the Court grant him
leave to depose Mr. DeYoung, to depose Christine Abraham, and
to re-open the deposition of Robert Geise. (Id.)
Evergreen opposes those requests. (See Dkt. No. 59
motions are strongly disfavored. “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). One
particular method of discovery is the Rule 30(b)(6)
deposition. Under Rule 30(b)(6),
[A] party may name as the deponent a public or private
corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental
agency, or other entity and must describe with reasonable
particularity the matters for examination. The named
organization must then designate one or more officers,
directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who
consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the
matters on which each person designated will testify . . . .
The persons so designated shall testify as to the matters
known or reasonably available to the organization.
procedure allows a party to obtain sworn admissions that are
binding on the organization. Hardin v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 2011 WL 11563217, slip op. at 2 (E.D. Cal. 2011).
Rule 30(b)(6) is, therefore, “a powerful and important
discovery tool.” Id.
important, Rule 30(b)(6) is not without its limits. Embedded
within Rule 30(b)(6) is the requirement that the party
seeking the deposition “describe with reasonable
particularity the matters for examination.” This
requirement ensures that the named organization has
sufficient notice to prepare for the deposition. See Buie
v. District of Columbia, 327 F.R.D. 1, 7 (D.D.C. 2018).
In addition, a 30(b)(6) deposition must comply with the
requirements of Rule 26. See Id. at 7 n.3
(distinguishing between Rule 30(b)(6)'s reasonable
particularity requirement and Rule 26's requirements). A
30(b)(6) deposition must therefore seek information that is
“relevant” and “proportional.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information is “any
matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other
matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the
case.” Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437
U.S. 340, 351 (1978). Proportionality is a matter of
“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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
party believes that a Rule 30(b)(6) subpoena or notice is
improper, then it may move for a protective order.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). The party seeking a protective order
bears the burden of showing that there is good cause for the
court to issue the order. In re Roman Catholic Archbishop
of Portland, 661 F.3d 417, 424 (9th Cir. 2011).
The 30(b)(6) Deposition
30(b)(6) subpoena and amended notice seeks information on 13
topics. (See Dkt. No. 52-6 at 3-5.) The Court will
address each topic in turn.
seeks two categories of information: (1) information about
“Evergreen's policies and procedures with regard to
decisions to resuscitate designations for Intensive Care Unit
patients, ” and (2) “documentation of the
discussions by any providers or staff with [Plaintiff's]
patients regarding code status changes throughout a
patient's hospital stay.” (See Dkt. No.
52-6 at 3.)
does not appear to object to Plaintiff's request for the
first category of information, and that information is
relevant to Plaintiff's claim that Defendants campaigned
to have his privileges revoked after he raised concerns about
ICU physicians improperly advising patients to consent to Do
Not Resuscitate designations. (See Dkt. No. 23 at
8-9, 11, 45-46.) The first category in topic 1 is therefore
Evergreen does not object the first category of information,
Evergreen does object to the second category, arguing that it
would require research into and testimony regarding hundreds
of patients. (See Dkt. Nos. 50 at 10, 59 at 4.) In
response, Plaintiff states that he is “willing to limit
the specific patients at issue to those for whom their
relatives or surrogates have submitted declarations and/or
for whom Defendants have requested that [Plaintiff] produce
their entire medical records.” (Dkt. No. 55 at 11.) But
Plaintiff's offer is apparently not enough for Evergreen;
it insists that ...