Chang et al v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Filing 87


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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ANNIE CHANG, et al., 8 Plaintiffs, v. 9 10 WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 19-cv-01973-HSG ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR AN ORDER GOVERNING DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL NON-PARTY BANK RECORDS PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTE § 655.059 Re: Dkt. No. 75 12 Pending before the Court is Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“WFB”)’s Motion for an Order 13 14 Governing the Disclosure of Confidential Non-Party Bank Records. Dkt. No. 75 (“Motion”). 15 WFB seeks an order permitting it to produce certain non-party documents and records to Plaintiffs 16 “pursuant to” Florida Statute Section 655.059 (“Florida Statute”). On July 28, 2020, the Court 17 held a status conference on the Motion, and on August 18, 2020, the parties filed a status report 18 detailing their efforts to provide notice to the third-party accountholders that Plaintiffs have sought 19 production of documents and records from WFB, to determine whether those accountholders 20 consent to WFB producing the documents. Dkt. No. 80. On August 25, 2020, the Court held a 21 further status conference, and on September 8, 2020, Plaintiffs filed a supplemental brief. Dkt. 22 No. 86. 23 24 25 26 27 28 The Florida Statute prohibits the disclosure of a financial institution’s “books and records,” except under certain circumstances. Section 655.059 (1)(e) states in relevant part that: The books and records of a financial institution are confidential and shall be made available for inspection and examination only... [a]s compelled by a court of competent jurisdiction, pursuant to a subpoena issued pursuant to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, or the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or issued pursuant to a subpoena issued in accordance with state or federal law. 1 2 Id. (emphasis added). The “pursuant to a subpoena” limitation reflects that the Florida Statute is intended to 3 apply only where an institution as a non-party is required by subpoena to produce its documents in 4 the context of a dispute between others. For this reason, in In re Bankatlantic Bancorp, Inc. 5 Securities Litigation, a Florida federal court held that section 655.059 does not apply to a 6 defendant bank that is a party to a civil case in federal court. See No. 07-cv-61542, 2010 WL 7 2572183, at *1 (S.D. Fla. June 23, 2010). The Court explained that Section 655.059(1)(e) does 8 not apply “when the financial institution is a party providing discovery” and “[t]he plain 9 language of Fla. Stat. § 655.059 states that it only applies when a financial institution provides 10 documents pursuant to a subpoena.” Bankatlantic, 2010 WL 2572183, at *2 (emphasis added). United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Similarly here, WFB is a party-opponent subject to its own independent discovery 12 obligations, and must produce documents in response to Plaintiffs’ discovery requests under Rules 13 26 and 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, the Court finds that the Florida 14 Statute does not apply to WFB as a party-opponent in this action, and DENIES the Motion to the 15 extent it seeks an order “pursuant to” the Florida Statute. The Court orders WFB to produce 16 documents in this case consistent with and as required by the Federal Rules, without regard to the 17 Florida Statute. The Court has not been presented with, and does not here address, any issues 18 regarding whether Plaintiffs’ document requests are properly scoped and otherwise proper under 19 the Federal Rules. 20 21 22 23 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 9/11/2020 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge 25 26 27 28 2

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