Ferreira et al v. Arpaio et al

Filing 301

ORDER: IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Quash (Doc. 250 ) is GRANTED. The Clerk of the Court shall not enter judgment at this time [see attached Order for details[. Signed by Senior Judge James A Teilborg on 4/9/18. (MAW)

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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 Shari Ferreira, et al., Plaintiffs, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-15-01845-PHX-JAT Paul Penzone, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Shari Ferreria’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion to Quash 16 Defendant’s Third Party Subpoena (“Motion to Quash,” Doc. 250) filed on January 19, 17 2018. Defendants filed a timely Response (Doc. 252) on February 2, 2018. Plaintiff then 18 filed its Reply (Doc. 253) on February 9, 2018. The Court now rules on the Motion. 19 I. BACKGROUND 20 Plaintiff brought this action on behalf of decedent Zachary Daughtry in her 21 capacity as personal representative of the estate against Defendants, following the 22 decedent’s death on July 20, 2014. (Doc. 76 at 2). The Court explained the background 23 facts in its Order on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment and its Order on 24 Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, so the Court will not repeat them here. (See Doc. 244 at 25 2; Doc. 76 at 2). On February 21, 2016, the Court entered a scheduling order that set a 26 deadline for discovery in this case of February 21, 2017. (Doc. 26). The Court later 27 extended the discovery deadline to June 30, 2017. (Doc. 163). Despite the fact that this 28 deadline had passed, on January 12, 2018, Defendants served a subpoena on the 1 Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office (“MCSO”). (Doc. 250-2). The subpoena sought 2 production of “Nice Vision video recordings of Ryan Bates (TO84946) and his defense 3 team, that were produced and reviewed by Bates’ RTC doctor” across a range of dates, 4 and set a deadline of January 22, 2018, for compliance. (Id.). Plaintiff received a copy of 5 this subpoena on January 17, 2018, and promptly filed the pending Motion to Quash. 6 (Doc. 250 at 1–2). 7 II. MOTION TO QUASH 8 A. 9 The primary way for a party to request that a nonparty produce documents is to 10 use a subpoena under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 45. Internmatch, Inc. v. 11 Nxtbigthing, LLC, 2016 WL 1212626, at *1 (N.D. Cal. 2016). Rule 45 subpoenas are 12 subject to the more general provisions of Rule 26, which outline the permissible scope of 13 discovery. R. Prasad Indus. v. Flat Irons Envtl. Sols. Corp., 2014 WL 2804276, at *2 (D. 14 Ariz. 2014). Because of this, “courts have found that Rule 45 subpoenas sought after the 15 discovery cut-off are improper attempts to obtain discovery beyond the discovery 16 period.” Internmatch, Inc., 2016 WL 1212626, at *1 (N.D. Cal. 2016) (first citing Rice v. 17 United States, 164 F.R.D. 556, 557–59 (N.D. Okla. 1995); and then citing FTC v. 18 Netscape Commc’ns Corp., 196 F.R.D. 559, 560–61 (N.D. Cal. 2000)); see also Joseph 19 P. Carroll Ltd. v. Baker, 2012 WL 1232957 at *2 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (“[I]t is black letter 20 law that parties may not issue subpoenas pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 21 ‘as a means to engage in discovery after the discovery deadline has passed.’”) (citations 22 omitted).1 However, Rule 45 subpoenas “may be employed in advance of trial and 23 outside of a discovery deadline for the limited purposes of memory refreshment, trial 24 25 26 27 28 Legal Standard 1 Defendants argue that “[p]arties who were not themselves the target of a subpoena do not have standing . . . to move to quash.” (Doc. 252 at 2). It is generally true that “a party has no standing to quash a subpoena upon a third party, except as to claims of privilege relating to the documents being sought.” Orthoflex, Inc. v. Thermotek, Inc., 2012 WL 1038801, at *1 (D. Ariz. 2012) (citing Windsor v. Martindale, 175 F.R.D. 665, 668 (D. Colo. 1997)). This general rule does not apply, however, when a party moves to quash a third party subpoena on the basis of its untimeliness. E.g., Davis v. Tri-Cty. Metro. Transp. Dist., 2015 WL 3823826, at *1 (D. Or. 2015) (granting motion to quash subpoena served on third party after expiration of discovery deadline); Rice, 164 F.R.D. at 556–58 (same). -2- 1 preparation, or to secure for the use at trial original documents previously disclosed by 2 discovery.” Circle Grp., L.L.C. v. Se. Carpenters Reg’l Council, 836 F. Supp. 2d 1327, 3 1352. (N.D. Ga. 2011). 4 B. 5 There is no question in this case that Defendants issued their subpoena after the 6 close of discovery. (Doc. 250-1). Therefore, this Court must quash the subpoena unless it 7 falls within one of the limited exceptions to this rule or Defendants establish an “excuse 8 for their tardiness.” See Circle Grp., L.L.C., 836 F. Supp. 2d at 1352; MedImmune, LLC 9 v. PDL Biopharma, Inc., 2010 WL 1266770, at *1 (N.D. Cal. 2010). Defendants do not 10 allege that the subpoena is being used for one of the limited purposes described above, 11 and instead attempt to excuse the late subpoena on two grounds. First, Defendants claim 12 they were unaware that videos existed until after discovery had concluded. (Doc. 252 at 13 4). Second, Defendants argue that because Plaintiff made a public records request on 14 January 12, 2018, the motion should be denied because Plaintiff has “unclean hands.” (Id. 15 at 5). Discussion 16 Defendants argue that “where the information subpoenaed was unknown during 17 discovery, service of a subpoena after the close of discovery is appropriate.” (Id. at 4 18 (citing Integra Life Servs. I, Ltd. v. Merck KGaA, 190 F.R.D. 556, 561 (S.D. Cal. 1999))). 19 Defendants briefly state that they did not know about the existence of the videos sought 20 by the subpoena until the videos were mentioned in an order of the Maricopa County 21 Superior Court, filed on December 20, 2017. (Doc. 252 at 4); (Doc. 252-1 at 2–3). But, 22 courts generally require a party to actually explain why it was unaware of the subpoenaed 23 material before excusing a subpoena issued after the discovery deadline, and a single 24 statement—absent any explanatory facts—does not satisfy this standard. E.g., Hickey v. 25 Myers, 2013 WL 2418252, at *9 (N.D.N.Y. 2013) (stating that the fact that the report that 26 prompted the subpoena was issued after the discovery deadline did not “excuse Plaintiff’s 27 failure to request this information during routine discovery” because “Plaintiff knew the 28 importance of obtaining this information prior to the issuance of the citation”); -3- 1 MedImmune, 2010 WL 1266770, at *1–2 (finding no good cause to excuse tardy 2 subpoena even though a party alleged that it did not realize the importance of the 3 subpoenaed documents until after reviewing notes produced on the last day of the 4 discovery period). Defendants offer no explanation whatsoever about why they did not 5 know of the existence of the subpoenaed videos, a tenuous claim considering the fact that 6 they were held by MCSO and Defendants in this case include Maricopa County and the 7 Sherriff in his individual capacity. See, e.g., Puritan Inv. Corp. v. ASLL Corp., 1997 WL 8 793569, at *2 (D. Penn. 1997) (granting a motion to quash where the party “does not and 9 credibly could not aver that it was unaware of the possible existence of the subpoenaed 10 documents before the discovery deadline”) (citing McNerney v. Archer Daniels Midland 11 Co., 164 F.R.D. 584, 588 (W.D.N.Y. 1995)). The Court also finds the fact that 12 Defendants “were given ample opportunity to complete discovery before trial” in this 13 case is a further factor weighing against them. See Ghandi v. Police Dep’t, 747 F.2d 338, 14 354 (6th Cir. 1984). Finally, the Court agrees with the statement in Rice that, “[i]f 15 Defendant[s] believed the information to be of importance to its case, [they] could have 16 attempted to show good cause for modifying the [discovery] deadlines.” Rice, 164 F.R.D. 17 at 558. Therefore, the Court finds that Defendants fail to establish an excuse for their 18 tardy subpoena. 19 As for Defendants’ second argument, the Court finds that the “clean hands” 20 doctrine does not apply here. The maxim that “he who comes into equity must come with 21 clean hands” is a “self-imposed ordinance that closes the doors of a court of equity to one 22 tainted with inequitableness or bad faith relative to the matter in which he seeks relief.” 23 Precision Instrument Mfg. Co. v. Automotive Maint. Mach. Co., 324 U.S. 806, 814 24 (1945). Necessarily, this doctrine applies only when a plaintiff seeks an equitable 25 remedy. See Adler v. Fed. Republic of Nigeria, 219 F.3d 869, 877 (9th Cir. 2000) (stating 26 that the clean hands doctrine applies to “plaintiffs seeking equitable relief”) (emphasis 27 added) (citing Ellenburg v. Brockway, Inc., 763 F.2d 1091, 1097 (9th Cir. 1985)). Here, 28 Plaintiff does not seek an equitable remedy, but instead seeks to quash a tardy -4- 1 subpoena—a remedy the Rules provide to her. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(d)(3). Therefore, 2 the Court rejects Defendants contention that Plaintiff is barred from relief because of the 3 “clean hands” doctrine. 4 Accordingly, the Court finds that Defendants improperly issued their subpoena 5 after the close of discovery and have failed to establish an excuse to justify their 6 tardiness.2 7 III. CONCLUSION 8 Based on the foregoing, 9 IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Quash (Doc. 250) is GRANTED. 10 11 The Clerk of the Court shall not enter judgment at this time. Dated this 9th day of April, 2018. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 Defendant also argues that, “[b]ecause Plaintiffs allege the Subpoena constituted discovery, they were required to comply with the Court’s discovery dispute process prior to filing their discovery motion.” (Doc. 252 at 4) (citing Doc. 250 at 2). The Court rejects this argument. Because discovery closed on June 30, 2017, Plaintiff was not required to abide by the Court’s discovery dispute process and appropriately challenged the subpoena through a motion to quash. -5-

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