Spears et al v. Washington Mutual, Inc. et al

Filing 379

ORDER by Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd re 375 Discovery Dispute Joint Report No. 9. (hrllc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/17/2014)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 NOT FOR CITATION 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 SAN JOSE DIVISION United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 FELTON A. SPEARS, JR. and SIDNEY SCHOLL, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, 14 Case No. 5:08-cv-00868 RMW (HRL) ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE JOINT REPORT NO. 9 [Re: Docket No. 375] v. 15 16 17 18 19 FIRST AMERICAN EAPPRAISEIT (a/k/a eAppraiseIT, LLC), a Delaware limited liability company, Defendant. Plaintiffs sue for themselves and on behalf of a certified class of “[a]ll consumers in 20 California and throughout the United States who, on or after June 1, 2006, received home loans 21 from Washington Mutual Bank, FA in connection with appraisals that were obtained through 22 eAppraiseIT.” They claim that defendants engaged in a scheme to inflate the appraised values of 23 homes receiving loans in order to sell the aggregated security interests at inflated prices. First 24 American eAppraiseIT (EA) is the only defendant left. Plaintiffs’ sole remaining claim for relief 25 is that the complained-of conduct violates the anti-kickback provision of the Real Estate 26 Settlement Practices Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. § 2607(a). 27 28 In Discovery Dispute Joint Report (DDJR) No. 9, plaintiffs seek an order compelling EA to produce deposition transcripts and expert reports from a separate lawsuit pending in the Central District of California, FDIC v. Corelogic Valuation Services, LLC, Case No. SACV11-704 DOC 2 (ANx) (“FDIC Action”). According to plaintiffs, these documents are particularly relevant for 3 impeachment purposes and are responsive to their Request for Production No. 1 (Request 1). That 4 request asks EA to produce “all documents, sworn statements, transcripts of depositions or other 5 testimony and exhibits thereto, and other discovery produced or received by [EA]” in other 6 litigation “that relates to, refers to, or otherwise concerns the inflation of property values or 7 conduct that had the effect of inflating property values reported in appraisal reports performed or 8 delivered by EA to WaMu for WaMu residential property loans.” (Dkt. 375-1, DDJR No. 9, Ex. 9 A at ECF p. 7). Although Request 1 specifies only three other lawsuits, 1 it contains a subsection 10 “D,” which essentially is a catch-all provision pertaining to “[a]ny other action filed in any court 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 or other forum in which the inflation of property values in appraisal reports performed or delivered 12 by EA to WaMu for WaMu residential property loans is alleged.” (DDJR No. 9, Ex. A at ECF p. 13 7). The parties disagree whether EA is obliged to produce the documents pursuant to its duty 14 15 to supplement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e). EA’s refusal to produce the documents is based, in 16 large part, on the fact that the FDIC Action was not filed until some nine months after Request 1 17 was served, and the requested documents were not created until after the October 13, 2013 fact 18 discovery cutoff in this case. EA further contends that plaintiffs simply waited too long to move 19 to compel the documents anyway. The matter is deemed suitable for determination without oral 20 argument. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). For the reasons discussed below, the court grants in part and denies 21 in part plaintiffs’ request for an order compelling this discovery. Although the FDIC Action was not filed until after Request 1 was propounded, that lawsuit 22 23 falls within the (rather broadly worded) Request 1(D). There seems to be at least some overlap 24 between these lawsuits. Plaintiffs point to two allegations in the FDIC’s 86-page complaint 25 pertaining to alleged inflated appraisal values. As discussed below, EA itself has produced 26 documents from the FDIC Action here, it says, as a supplement to its Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a) initial 27 28 1 The three identified laws are one in Washington state and two in New York. 2 1 disclosures. EA has not persuasively argued that a party’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e) duty to supplement or 3 correct its prior discovery responses necessarily ends with the fact discovery cutoff. The duty to 4 supplement or correct arises “if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or 5 response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or corrective information has not 6 otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing.” Fed. 7 R. Civ. P. 26(e)(1)(A). And, this court generally agrees that Rule 26(e) requires a party to 8 supplement or correct its prior disclosures or responses, whether the previously omitted 9 information was known at the time of the initial response or was later acquired. See Robbins & 10 Myers, Inc. v. J.M. Huber Corp., 274 F.R.D. 63, 73-80 (W.D.N.Y. 2011) (examining the text of 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 2 Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e) and its history); Switch Communications Group v. Ballard, No. 2:11-cv- 12 00285 KJD, 2012 WL 2342929 (D. Nev., June 19, 2012). 13 Pointing out that fact discovery closed last fall, EA argues that plaintiffs should have 14 moved to compel these documents long before now. This court is, frankly, unsure which side is 15 more (or less) credible in their characterization of the pertinent facts, and the record is not as clear- 16 cut as the parties contend. EA maintains that it never told plaintiffs that it would produce the 17 FDIC Action documents being sought. During December 2012 meet-and-confer negotiations, EA 18 says that it flatly refused to produce FDIC Action documents in response to Request 1. And, 19 while plaintiffs contend that EA agreed in subsequent December 2012 correspondence to produce 20 the documents, they point to nothing that actually says that. 21 Plaintiffs argue that it is not too late to compel these documents because they might use 22 them in expert discovery, which remains open. But, the fact remains that they are moving to 23 compel production in response to a fact discovery request. Civ. L.R. 37-3 (requiring motions to 24 compel fact discovery to be filed within 7 days after the fact discovery cutoff). Plaintiffs argue 25 that courts have entertained motions to compel even after the deadline, citing Silgan Containers v. 26 Nat’l Union Fire Ins., No. C09-05971RS (LB), 2011 WL 2198141 (N.D. Cal., June 6, 2011). 27 However, there the court noted that the dispute was “part of the parties’ ongoing discovery dispute 28 that was timely raised . . . in the parties’ first joint discovery letter” filed before the fact discovery 3 1 2 cut-off. Id. at *3. That is not the case here. Plaintiffs nevertheless argue that they were misled into believing that EA produced FDIC 3 Action documents in response to Request 1. Here, plaintiffs point out that in early 2013, the 4 parties agreed to amend the then-existing protective order to protect “‘confidential information 5 contained in documents that were produced to EA in the FDIC litigation, and which EA intends to 6 produce in this case.’” (DDJR No. 9 at 3 (quoting March 21, 2013 email from EA’s counsel to 7 plaintiffs’ counsel). 8 9 The parties subsequently submitted a stipulation and proposed order to modify the thencurrent protective order, and this court entered their stipulation as an order two days later on June 20, 2013. The parties’ stipulation itself says that they were seeking to amend the then-current 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 protective order to, among other things, clarify that the protective order applies to documents 12 produced in response to third-party subpoenas issued in this case and to memorialize the parties’ 13 agreement to exchange documents received in response to third-party subpoenas issued in this 14 case. (Dkt. 311). The modified protective order, however, expands the definition of 15 “confidential” information to include materials from the FDIC, without any qualifier as to how 16 those documents are received. And, as a practical matter, this court is told that EA did produce 17 some FDIC Action documents on June 20, the same day that this court entered the parties’ 18 stipulated modified protective order. 19 EA says that the June 20 document production was a supplement to its Fed. R. Civ. P. 20 26(a) initial disclosures and that it never told plaintiffs that it was producing documents in 21 response to Request 1(D). But, EA apparently also did not tell plaintiffs that the documents were 22 being produced as part of its initial disclosures---that is, until they met/conferred re the instant 23 DDJR. So, plaintiffs say that, from their perspective, EA produced FDIC Action documents in 24 response to Request 1(D). Additionally, they explain that they did not move to compel the 25 documents at issue before the October 20, 2013 filing deadline because (1) the FDIC Action 26 deposition transcripts and expert reports were not created until after the fact discovery cutoff; and 27 (2) plaintiffs did not become aware of the documents’ existence until March 2014. 28 This court harbors some doubt as to whether plaintiffs truly were as confused as they 4 1 claim. Additionally, there appears to be some support in the record for EA’s contention that 2 plaintiffs’ claimed need for the subject documents is inconsistent with their conduct in this case. 3 EA points out that plaintiffs previously withdrew a subpoena to the FDIC for documents, telling 4 Judge Whyte that the FDIC had no documents relevant to their claims. (See Dkt. 268 at 21 n.8 5 and Dkt. 268-1). EA is also correct that on a prior discovery dispute over a similar---albeit not 6 identical---document request for sworn statements or testimony transcripts of current and former 7 EA employees, this court granted plaintiffs’ request for an order compelling the discovery, but 8 directed plaintiffs to take the laboring oar to secure any required releases for production. (Dkt. 9 357 at 2). EA says that it did its part in providing plaintiffs with the applicable protective orders, but as far as it is aware, plaintiffs have done nothing to secure the releases for that discovery. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Plaintiffs do not say anything to the contrary. The court will nonetheless resolve any ambiguity as 12 to plaintiffs’ claimed confusion over EA’s June 20 production in plaintiffs’ favor. 13 Even so, there remains a disagreement over confidentiality. There apparently is no dispute 14 that the FDIC opposes production of depositions taken during the FDIC’s administrative process. 15 Plaintiffs agree to do without those documents. So, the FDIC’s objection appears to be moot. 16 But, the parties give somewhat conflicting reports as to whether nonparty JPMorgan Chase 17 (Chase) has a viable objection to the production of the requested FDIC Action documents. Chase 18 is not before the court on this DDJR. According to plaintiffs, Chase’s confidentiality objection is 19 based “primarily on Chase’s concern the FDIC might object.” (DDJR No. 9 at p. 5) (emphasis 20 added). Plaintiffs argue that, since the FDIC’s objection is moot, so is Chase’s. EA, on the other 21 hand, says that “Chase has objected to the production of any expert reports or deposition 22 transcripts that were designated by Chase as confidential in [the FDIC Action], or that rely on 23 Chase’s confidential documents.” (DDJR No. 9 at 10 n.4) (emphasis added). Neither side has 24 cited to anything corroborating their assertions about Chase’s objections. But, even plaintiffs’ 25 version of events does not exclude the possibility that Chase’s objections are based on more than a 26 concern that the FDIC might object. 27 28 Accordingly, this court will grant plaintiffs’ request for an order compelling the requested discovery, but only as those documents for which there is no confidentiality objection from Chase. 5 1 Additionally, for sworn statements or testimony transcripts of current and former EA employees, 2 the burden of securing any required releases for their production remains with plaintiffs, with EA 3 to provide forthwith information necessary to secure releases. Once plaintiffs have secured 4 releases, if any, then EA shall produce the documents within 10 days. 5 6 7 8 SO ORDERED. Dated: June 17, 2014 ______________________________________ HOWARD R. LLOYD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6 1 5:08-cv-00868-RMW Notice has been electronically mailed to: 2 Allison Lauren Libeu alibeu@irell.com Alvin Matthew Ashley mashley@irell.com, sknight@irell.com Angela M. Papalaskaris apapalas@dl.com, courtalert@dl.com Christopher J Clark cjclark@dl.com David A. Super david.super@bakerbotts.com Ellen Mary M. Doyle edoyle@fdpklaw.com, filings@fdpklaw.com, gbrown@fdpklaw.com Gretchen Freeman Cappio gcappio@kellerrohrback.com, cbrewer@kellerrohrback.com, eknerr@kellerrohrback.com, tlin@kellerrohrback.com Harry Williams , IV hwilliams@kellerrohrback.com, kshenefield@kellerrohrback.com Janet Lindner Spielberg jlspielberg@jlslp.com Jenny Lee Merris jmerris@alvaradosmith.com, mault@alvaradosmith.com Joel R. Hurt jhurt@fdpklaw.com John C. Hueston jhueston@irell.com John Charles Hueston jhueston@irell.com, lhiles@irell.com John M. Sorich jsorich@alvaradosmith.com Jonathan Mark Lloyd jonathanlloyd@dwt.com, jeannecadley@dwt.com Joseph N. Kravec , Jr jkravec@fdpklaw.com, filings@fdpklaw.com, jnk561@yahoo.com Justin Nathanael Owens jowens@irell.com Kevin C Wallace kwallace@dl.com Khesraw Karmand kkarmand@kellerrohrback.com Kris Hue Chau Man kman@dl.com, sholstrom@dl.com Lynn Lincoln Sarko lsarko@kellerrohrback.com, cengle@kellerrohrback.com, kwarner@kellerrohrback.com Margaret Anne Keane margaret.keane@dlapiper.com, carol.stewart@dlapiper.com, marianne.haines@dlapiper.com Martin L. Fineman martinfineman@dwt.com, edithshertz@dwt.com, sfodocket@dwt.com McKean James Evans mevans@fdpklaw.com Michael D. Braun service@braunlawgroup.com, clc@braunlawgroup.com Ryan E. Bull Ryan.Bull@bakerbotts.com Sam N. Dawood samdawood@khklaw.com, mjaime@khklaw.com Stephen M. Ng stephen.ng@bakerbotts.com, leanna.gutierrez@bakerbotts.com Stephen Michael Rummage steverummage@dwt.com, jeannecadley@dwt.com, seadocket@dwt.com Sung-Min Christopher Yoo cyoo@alvaradosmith.com, crosas@alvaradosmith.com, jyoung@alvaradosmith.com, mault@alvaradosmith.com Tana Lin tlin@kellerrohrback.com, esiegel@kellerrohrback.com, rfarrow@kellerrohrback.com Wyatt A. Lison wlison@fdpklaw.com, filings@fdpklaw.com 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7

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