Ray et al v. Bluehippo Funding, LLC et al

Filing 246

ORDER by Judge Edward M. Chen granting 244 Defendant's Motion for Protective Order (emclc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/20/2009)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 v. BLUEHIPPO FUNDING, LLC, et al., Defendants. ___________________________________/ ROYLENE RAY, et al., Plaintiffs, No. C-06-1807 JSW (EMC) ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER (Docket No. 244) UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The parties have submitted a joint letter regarding a discovery dispute over eleven third-party subpoenas issued by Plaintiffs. See Joint Letter, Ex. B (subpoenas). Having reviewed the joint letter and accompanying submissions, the Court hereby GRANTS BlueHippo's request for a protective order. The Court does not agree with BlueHippo that the December 3 Agreement, see Joint Letter, Ex. A (joint request), clearly bars all further pre-certification discovery. Although the Agreement broadly states that it "will eliminate the need for any further pre-certification discovery by Plaintiffs," Joint Letter, Ex. A (Exhibit A), the specific discovery that is discussed in the Agreement is discovery that Plaintiffs propounded on BlueHippo, and not any third parties. In short, the terms of the December 3 Agreement are ambiguous. The Court, however, need not resolve the ambiguity in the Agreement because there is an independent basis for granting BlueHippo's motion. The Court has reviewed the subpoenas and finds them grossly overbroad. The subpoenas do not include any timeframe at all. Furthermore, as written, many of the subpoenas cover documents that the Court has already informed Plaintiffs are 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 irrelevant (e.g., documents about non-California customers). The Court is troubled by what appears to be Plaintiffs' failure to make any attempt to draft narrowly tailored subpoenas, particularly in light of the guidance that the Court has provided in the past. Because of that failure, the Court deems it fair to quash the subpoenas in their entirety. Plaintiffs are not barred from redrafting and issuing subpoenas; however, they are forewarned that the subpoenas should be narrowly tailored. Moreover, given that BlueHippo appears to have provided much of what Plaintiffs seek, Plaintiffs must also demonstrate that the discovery sought from third parties is not duplicative and that its benefit outweighs its burden. Plaintiffs are forewarned that they shall be sanctioned should they issue subpoenas that are not reasonably tailored. United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Dated: January 20, 2009 _________________________ EDWARD M. CHEN United States Magistrate Judge 2

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