United States District Court, D. Nebraska
R. ZWART UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Lincoln Regional Center (“LRC”) has moved to
quash (Filing No. 61) a Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) Notice of
Deposition and Request for Production of Documents directed
at designated “officers, directors, managing agents, or
other persons” at LRC authorized to testify on and
produce documents regarding 30 delineated subjects. (Filing
No. 50). LRC argues that the deponents and documents
requested in the Notice are irrelevant and would be unduly
burdensome to produce. (Filing No. 62). For the following
reasons, the motion will be denied.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure generally allow for
discovery of “any unprivileged matter that is relevant
to a party's claim or defense.” Gov't of
Ghana v. ProEnergy Servs., LLC, 677 F.3d 340, 344 (8th
Cir. 2012) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1)). Relevancy, for the
purposes of discovery, encompasses “any matter that
bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matters 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).
the party seeking the discovery “must make
‘[s]ome threshold showing of relevance . . . before
parties are required to open wide the doors of discovery and
to produce a variety of information which does not reasonably
bear upon the issues in the case.'” Prism
Techs., LLC v. Adobe Sys., Inc., 284 F.R.D. 448, 449 (D.
Neb. 2012) (quoting Hofer v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 981
F.2d 377, 380 (8th Cir.1992)). “[D]iscovery is not
permitted where no need is shown, or compliance would be
unduly burdensome, or where harm to the person from whom
discovery is sought outweighs the need of the person seeking
discovery of the information.” Miscellaneous Docket
Matter No. 1 v. Miscellaneous Docket Matter No. 2, 197
F.3d 922, 925 (8th Cir. 1999) (internal citation omitted).
primarily argues that the Notice seeks irrelevant information
and should be quashed on that basis, premising its relevancy
argument on the alleged mootness of the claims against it
following Plaintiff's release from LRC custody. (Filing
No. 62 at CM/ECF p. 2).
moved to dismiss claims against it as moot, (Filing No. 57).
The court notes, however, that LRC has taken conflicting
positions in its briefing as to whether some or
all or the Plaintiff's claims against LRC are
moot following her release. For example, LRC's Brief in
Support of the Motion to Quash indicates that it has
“moved for dismissal of all claims against
it.” (Filing No. 62 at CM/ECF p. 2) (emphasis added).
LRC seems to reiterate this position in its Reply Brief in
Support of the Motion to Quash, arguing that “LRC
should now be dismissed from this action because the claims
against LRC are now moot.” (Filing No. 84 at CM/ECF p.
2). But, in its Reply Brief in Support of the Motion to
Dismiss, LRC notes that a claim for “General
Damages” under “Title II of the ADA” should
be “allowed to proceed” against LRC, noting that
such a claim would be the subject of a planned motion for
summary judgment. (Filing No. 83 at CM/ECF p. 2).
the undersigned notes that the pending motion to dismiss has
not been resolved, meaning LRC remains an active party to
this proceeding at present. And it's unclear, based on
its own briefing, whether LRC's motion is even targeted
at dismissing all claims against it. Yet, even assuming that
LRC's motion successfully achieves its full dismissal
from this action, LRC has not proffered any argument as to
why that would render the proposed depositions and document
production requests irrelevant. LRC here conflates mootness
of the claims against it with the relevancy of the
information it possesses. The two are not synonymous. Status
as a nonparty-or former party-does not itself speak to a
person or an entity's access to discoverable information,
as LRC seems to argue. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 45.
regardless of the outcome of LRC's motion to dismiss,
damages claims against the individual capacity defendants
will survive. (Filing No. 84 at CM/ECF p. 2) (stating
LRC's argument that “the named individual
Defendants…will remain Defendants in this action no
matter the outcome of the LRC motion to dismiss”).
Neither in its support brief nor in its reply does LRC
indicate why its dismissal would render the requested
discovery information irrelevant to these remaining
claims-many of which are leveled against LRC's
individually-named current or former employees. Thus, the
court is not persuaded that discovery sought is irrelevant
and will not quash the Notice on that basis.
further argues that production of deponents and documents as
requested in the Notice presents an undue burden to LRC. The
party resisting discovery may quash a notice or subpoena
seeking information-even information that is demonstrably
relevant-if that party establishes that production would
constitute an undue burden or hardship. But, “[t]he
fact that production of documents would be burdensome and
expensive and would hamper a party's business operation
is not a reason for refusing to order production of relevant
documents.” Wagner v. Dryvit Systems, Inc.,
208 F.R.D. 606, 610 (D. Neb. 2001) (internal citation
omitted). The standard is whether the burden or expense is
“undue” and whether the “hardship is
unreasonable in the light of the benefits to be secured from
the discovery.” Id. A party claiming requests
are unduly burdensome cannot make conclusory allegations, and
must provide some evidence regarding the time or expense
required. Doe v. Nebraska, 788 F.Supp.2d 975, 981
(D. Neb. 2011) (internal citation omitted). LRC has not
provided any evidence regarding time or expense necessary for
production of the requested documents or the preparation or
presentation of a 30(b)(6) deponent able to testify.
lynchpin of LRC's argument is that the discovery sought
in the Notice should be obtained by other, less burdensome
means. (Filing No. 62 at CM/ECF p. 3). LRC makes two
arguments in support of that contention. First, LRC argues
that the defendants named in their individual capacities
should be deposed and make productions without the need for
LRC to produce additional documents or deponents.
(Id.). However, LRC does not argue why obtaining
information from individual defendants would be more
convenient or less expensive than obtaining information from
LRC. They likewise make no argument as to whether the
information would be duplicative if both LRC and the
individuals were deposed. While LRC argues that previous
document productions should be sufficient without the need
for production in response to the Notice, (id), LRC
does not note whether previous production requests encompass
all categories of documents and deposition topics requested
in the Notice.
the court is not persuaded that the 30(b)(6) Notice requests
irrelevant information nor that production of the requested
deponents and documents would constitute an undue burden or
hardship. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that LRC's Motion to
Quash (Filing No. 61) is denied.