Reza v. Pearce et al

Filing 83

ORDER granting Defendant's 78 Motion for Protective Order. Plaintiff is prohibited from deposing defendant concerning his relationship with JT Ready. Signed by Judge Frederick J Martone on 7/30/2012.(LFIG)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Salvador Reza, Plaintiff, 10 11 vs. 12 Russell Pearce, 13 Defendant. 14 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CV 11-01170-PHX-FJM ORDER 15 16 The court has before it defendant's motion for protective order (doc. 78). We granted 17 defendant's motion to expedite and ordered plaintiff to file a response no later than 3pm on 18 July 30, 2012 (doc. 81). Plaintiff filed a late response at 5pm (doc. 82). 19 This action arises out of plaintiff's exclusion from the Arizona State Senate building 20 on February 24, 2011 at the direction of defendant, former Senate President. Plaintiff, who 21 alleged in his complaint that defendant is a racist, claims that defendant banned him from the 22 Senate building in part due to his Mexican ancestry. 23 Defendant seeks a protective order preventing plaintiff from deposing him about his 24 alleged relationship with JT Ready, an individual who defendant describes as "a Neo-Nazi, 25 white supremacist, mass-murderer of women and children." Mot. at 1. Defendant argues 26 that any relationship between him and Ready is not relevant, and that this line of questioning 27 is intended to annoy, embarrass, and oppress him. Specifically, defendant argues that 28 plaintiff will improperly attempt to associate him with JT Ready in order to harm his 1 reputation and hurt his candidacy for the Arizona State Senate. 2 A party can obtain discovery "that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." Fed. 3 R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Discovery is relevant even if it would ultimately be inadmissible at trial 4 if it is "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Id. Even if 5 discovery is relevant, we may issue a protective order "to protect a party or person from 6 annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense." Id. 26(c). The party 7 seeking the protective order has the burden to demonstrate good cause "by demonstrating 8 harm or prejudice that will result from the discovery." Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 9 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004). 10 Defendant argues that his alleged relationship with JT Ready is not relevant to 11 plaintiff's claims that defendant banned him from the State Senate building because of his 12 Mexican ancestry. If defendant associated with a Neo-Nazi murderer, details about this 13 relationship may make it slightly more likely that defendant himself was racist. We do not 14 see how defendant's relationship with Ready could be relevant to plaintiff's claims for any 15 other reason, and plaintiff does not argue otherwise. Despite plaintiff's argument that this 16 evidence would be highly probative of defendant's racism, it is highly likely that the evidence 17 would be excluded under Federal Rule of Evidence 403. Evidence that connects defendant 18 to a Neo-Nazi murderer would almost certainly inflame the jury, causing prejudice that 19 would substantially outweigh its minimal probity. Although Rule 26, Fed. R. Civ. P. does 20 not require relevant information to be admissible in order to be discoverable, it does require 21 that the discovery be "reasonably calculated" to lead to admissible evidence. We conclude 22 that questioning defendant about his relationship with Ready does not meet this standard. 23 Moreover, plaintiff acknowledges that he has already discovered evidence showing 24 that defendant was a "friend, sponsor, and mentor" to Ready. Response at 2. We must limit 25 the extent of discovery sought if we determine that the discovery sought is cumulative, 26 duplicative, or can be obtained from another source. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C)(i). Plaintiff 27 has not argued that his line of questioning would reveal new information about defendant's 28 relationship to Ready. Finally, plaintiff argues that defendant might admit during his -2- 1 deposition that he agreed with Ready's racist opinions. Plaintiff may question defendant 2 about his views on race without getting into the issue of defendant's relationship with Ready. 3 Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED GRANTING defendant's motion for protective order 4 (doc. 78). Plaintiff is prohibited from deposing defendant concerning his relationship with 5 JT Ready. 6 DATED this 30th day of July, 2012. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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