Edwards v. Maxwell
ORDER Transferring Motion to Quash Subpoena or, in the Alternative, for a Protective Order. The Undersigned directs the Clerk of Court to transfer Bradley J. Edwards' motion #1 to the Southern District of New York, Giuffre v. Maxwell, No. 1:15-cv-07433-RWS. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman on 12/22/2016. (jf00)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT LAUDERDALE DIVISION
CASE NO. 16-61262-MC-GOODMAN
UNDERLYING CASE NO. 15-CV-07433-RWS (S.D.N.Y)
BRADLEY J. EDWARDS,
ORDER TRANSFERRING MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA
OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER
Bradley J. Edwards (“Edwards”) filed in the Southern District of Florida a motion
to quash a subpoena issued to him by Ghislaine Maxwell (“Maxwell”). [ECF No. 1]. 1
The subpoena was issued in the Southern District of New York in the underlying case,
Giuffre v. Maxwell, No. 1:15-cv-07433-RWS. Maxwell opposed the motion to quash. [ECF
No. 8] and Edwards replied to Maxwell’s opposition. [ECF No. 13]. United States
District Judge Jose E. Martinez referred Edwards’ motion to me. [ECF No. 11]. Maxwell
filed a status update in this Court regarding the contested Edwards Subpoena and the
related rulings in the underlying action (“notice”). [ECF No. 24].
The subject subpoena of Edwards’ motion to quash is referred to as the
“Edwards Subpoena.”[ECF No. 1-3].
Having read the parties’ submissions and reviewed the docket in the underlying
case in New York and a related motion filed in the District Court of Utah, the Court
finds, sua sponte, that exceptional circumstances exist under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 45(f) that warrant transfer of Edwards’ motion to the court with jurisdiction
over the underlying case. 2 Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(f).
Rule 45(f) allows the court where compliance with a subpoena is required to
transfer a subpoena-related motion to the issuing court in two situations: 1) when the
subject of the subpoena consents, or 2) “if the court finds exceptional circumstances.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(f). The Committee note to Rule 45(f) explains that in “some
circumstances . . . transfer may be warranted in order to avoid disrupting the issuing
court’s management of the underlying litigation, as when that court has already ruled
on issues presented by the motion or the same issues are likely to arise in discovery in
many districts.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(f) advisory committee’s note to 2013 amendment.
United States District Judge Robert W. Sweet of the Southern District of New
York has already ruled on similar issues that Edwards’ motion presents. Maxwell
issued a subpoena to Paul Cassell (“Cassell”) in the underlying case (“Cassell
Subpoena”). The Cassell Subpoena is extremely similar to the Edwards Subpoena,
The issue of whether to transfer a motion to quash a subpoena to the court
having jurisdiction over the underlying case is a non-dispositive matter. Elliott v.
Mission Trust Servs., LLC, No. SA-14-MC-942-XR, 2014 WL 6772474, at *2 (W.D. Tex.
Dec. 1, 2014) (unpublished); see also San Juan Cable LLC v. DISH Network LLC, No. 14-mc00261-RM-MJW, 2015 WL 500631, at *2 (D. Colo. Jan. 23, 2015) (unpublished).
which is also issued by Maxwell. Like Edwards, Cassell is a non-party attorney for
plaintiff Virginia Giuffre in the underlying action.
Cassell moved to quash the Cassell Subpoena in the District Court for the District
of Utah. Maxwell attached to the notice the Cassell Subpoena and the Southern District
of New York’s Order on Maxwell’s motion to quash the Cassell Subpoena. [ECF Nos.
24-1; 24-2]. 3
The reason District Judge Sweet ruled on Cassell’s motion to quash the Cassell
Subpoena is because United States Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse, sua sponte, found
that exceptional circumstances existed under Rule 45(f) to transfer Cassell’s motion back
to New York. In re Cassell, 16-mc-00602-DB-EJF, 2016 WL 3645166, at *3 (D. Utah June
30, 2016). Thus, another United States Magistrate Judge has already found that there
are exceptional circumstances present that warrant transfer of the same motion
regarding a similar subpoena in the same case.
In support of her decision to transfer the case, Magistrate Judge Furse considered
the fact that Virginia Giuffre filed the underlying case in September 2015. Id. at *1. She
considered the fact that the parties have heavily litigated the underlying case as
evidenced by the large amount of docket entries (253 entries at that time) and
complexity of issues. Id. She also was concerned with the danger of impeding on
District Judge Sweet’s discovery cutoff deadline. Id. at *3.
District Judge Sweet’s Order is filed under seal in this case. [ECF No. 25].
At this time, the underlying case now has 517 docket entries. As Maxwell has
indicated in the notice, the case remains active and is scheduled for trial in March of
2017. District Judge Sweet, because of his familiarity with the underlying case, will be
able to rule on Edwards’ motion more quickly than this Court. It is also indisputable
that transfer would avoid any interference with District Judge Sweet’s pretrial and trial
Additionally, in Maxwell’s notice filed in this Court, Maxwell argues that
“requests for production in the Cassell Subpoena are identical to the Request for
Production to Mr. Edwards” and that District Judge Sweet’s rulings on the Cassell
Subpoena are “res judicata on the Edwards Subpoena with respect to the identical
requests in the Cassell Subpoena.” [ECF No. 24, p. 2]. After reviewing both the Edwards
Subpoena and the Cassell Subpoena, the Undersigned finds that:
1) Request 1 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 1 of the Edwards
2) Request 2 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 2 of the Edwards
3) Request 3 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 6 of the Edwards
4) Request 4 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 7 of the Edwards
5) Request 5 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 8 of the Edwards
6) Request 6 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 9 of the Edwards
7) Request 8 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 11 of the
8) Request 9 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 10 of the
9) Request 10 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 14 of the
10) Request 11 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 15 of the
11) Request 12 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 16 of the
12) Request 13 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 17 of the
Edwards Subpoena; and
13) Request 14 of the Cassell Subpoena is identical to Request 18 of the
[ECF Nos. 1-3; 24-1].
Based on the similarities of the two subpoenas, I find that there are exceptional
circumstances present under Rule 45(f). Specifically, District Judge Sweet has already
ruled on the Cassell Subpoena and there is a great risk of inconsistent rulings if my
ruling on Edwards’ motion differs from District Judge Sweet’s ruling on the
aforementioned requests. If such a result is foreseen, then the burden on Edwards to
reconcile inconsistent orders in two different jurisdictions is surely outweighed by
District Judge Sweet streamlining the discovery process with consistent decisions in one
Accordingly, I find that transfer fosters the interests of fairness, consistency,
judicial economy, and speed of resolution. Uniformity of discovery rulings in a case of
this complexity is critical to achieving fairness to the parties and non-parties. For the
reasons stated above, I find that any ruling I might issue has great potential for
disrupting the issuing court’s management of the underlying litigation, both
procedurally and substantively. Therefore, I find that Edwards’ motion presents
exceptional circumstances that warrant its transfer. As such, the Undersigned directs
the Clerk of Court to transfer Edwards’ motion to the Southern District of New York,
Giuffre v. Maxwell, No. 1:15-cv-07433-RWS.
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers, in Miami, Florida, on December 22, 2016.
Copies furnished to:
All Counsel of Record
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