Empey v. Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Company

Filing 57

ORDER re 51 Letter filed by Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Company. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu on 12/9/2011. (dmrlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/9/2011)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 CHAD EMPEY, 12 13 Plaintiff(s), v. 14 ORDER RE PARTIES’ JOINT DISCOVERY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 24, 2011 [DOCKET NO. 51] ALLIED PROPERTY, 15 No. C-11-00733-SC (DMR) Defendant(s). ___________________________________/ 16 17 On December 8, 2011, the court held a hearing on the parties’ joint discovery letter of 18 November 24, 2011 [Docket No. 51]. During the course of oral argument, the parties informed the 19 court that they had resolved several of the disputes set forth in their joint letter. This order 20 summarizes the court’s rulings made during the hearing on the remaining issues.. 21 A. Plaintiff’s 30(b)(6) Deposition Topic #1 22 The court grants Plaintiff’s motion to compel Defendant to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) 23 deponent(s) to testify regarding Defendant’s search for and production of documents responsive to 24 Plaintiff’s First Set of Requests for Production or Inspection. 25 B. Plaintiff’s 30(b)(6) Deposition Topic #5 26 Defendant has agreed to respond to an interrogatory asking how Defendant designates and 27 re-certifies an entity as a “Preferred Vendor.” Plaintiff shall serve the interrogatory promptly. 28 Defendant shall respond within 10 days. 1 C. Plaintiff’s 30(b)(6) Deposition Topic #6 2 Plaintiff’s topic, as drafted, is grossly overbroad. The attenuated relevance of the 3 information sought is outweighed by the burden of a response. Plaintiff’s motion to compel Rule 4 30(b)(6) testimony on this topic is denied. 5 D. Defendant’s Subpoena to Bank of America for Plaintiff’s Banking Records and 6 Federal and State Tax Returns 7 When a Federal court exercises diversity subject matter jurisdiction over a civil matter, such 8 as the one at bar, “state law governs privilege regarding a claim or defense for which state law 9 supplies the rule of decision.” Fed. R. Evid. 501. The California Supreme Court has held that statute “implicitly creates a privilege against the disclosure of income tax returns.” Fortunato v. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Superior Court of L.A. Cty., 114 Cal. App. 4th 475, 479 (2003) (citing Cal. Rev. & Tax. Code 12 § 19282) (citations omitted). The privilege does not attach, however, where a party has intentionally 13 waived it, where “the gravamen of the lawsuit is inconsistent with claiming the privilege, or where a 14 public policy greater than the purpose of the privilege is involved.” Id. (citations omitted). None of 15 these exceptions apply to the present case. 16 With respect to bank information, the California Supreme Court has noted that “[t]here is 17 revealed no bank-customer privilege . . . . Indeed, the general rule appears to be that there exists no 18 common law privilege with respect to bank customer information.” Valley Bank of Nev. v. Superior 19 Court of San Joaquin Cty., 15 Cal. 3d 652, 656 (1975) (internal citations omitted). Relevant bank 20 customer information therefore “should not be wholly privileged and insulated from scrutiny by civil 21 litigants.” Id. at 657. Article I section 1 of the California Constitution, however, does mandate a 22 higher level of concern for individuals’ privacy interests, and to safeguard these interests, courts 23 should employ “the same discretion which they generally exercise in passing upon other claims of 24 confidentiality.” Id. at 678 (citations omitted). Though the California constitution’s privacy right 25 does not constitute a recognized privilege, Federal courts sitting in diversity often consider it in 26 discovery disputes. Ragge v. MCA/Universal Studios, 165 F.R.D. 601, 604 n.3 (C.D. Cal. 1995). 27 28 The court finds that Defendant has failed to sufficiently articulate and support the need for plaintiff’s bank records. The court therefore quashes the subpoena. If Bank of America has 2 1 produced any documents in response to the subpoena, Defendant shall promptly return them to Bank 2 of America without review. nna M. udge Do J RT 7 H DONNA M. RYU ER United States Magistrate Judge C 8 N 9 10 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 R NIA Ryu FO Dated: December 9, 2011 D A 6 RDERE S SO O IT I LI S 5 UNIT ED IT IS SO ORDERED. NO 4 RT U O 3 S DISTRICT TE C TA F D IS T IC T O R

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