Terminal Railroad Association of St Louis et al v. All Plaintiffs in re: East Palestine Train Derailment
The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to transfer the Motion to Quash Subpoenas or, in the alternative, to Stay and Modify (Doc. 2) and Motion for Emergency Hearing (Doc. 3) to the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division at Youngstown. The Clerk is further DIRECTED to close this case. Signed by Judge David W. Dugan on 2/7/2024. (dsw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ASSOCIATION OF ST. LOUIS, et al.,,
ALL PLAINTIFFS IN RE:
PALESTINE TRAIN DERAILMENT,
Case No. 24-mc-00005-DWD
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
DUGAN, District Judge:
Petitioners/Movants Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis ("TRRA") and its
employees Joe Bentrup, Josh Dehn, Alex Haase, Brad Koch and Joe Oliver’s Motion to
Quash Subpoenas or, in the alternative, to Stay and Modify (Doc. 2) and Motion for
Emergency Hearing (Doc. 3) are pending before the Court. Petitioners/Movants move
the Court to quash the foreign subpoenas served upon these non-parties and/or, in the
alternative, stay their respective depositions and modify the subpoenas, and for
attorneys' fees and costs in bringing the motion. TRRA and its Employees request that
the Court quash the foreign subpoenas for failure to properly serve, failure to allow
reasonable time to comply and for placing an undue burden on TRRA and its Employees,
as well as counsel for the same. In the alternative, TRRA and its Employees request that
the Court stay and modify the subpoenas to allow for a reasonable time to prepare and
comply as well as allow for the depositions to be set on several days to reduce the undue
burden on TRRA and its Employees.
On January 30, 2024, counsel for Respondents issued five (5) foreign subpoenas
from the Northern District of Ohio for the deposition testimony of Joe Bentrup, Josh
Dehn, Alex Haase, Brad Koch, and Joe Oliver in In re: East Palestine Train Derailment, No.
4:23-00242 (N.D. Ohio filed Feb. 7, 2023), a putative class action currently pending on the
docket of U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson. The foreign subpoenas all request
appearance for videotaped deposition on February 5, 2024. In the case pending before
Judge Pearson, Plaintiffs seek to represent a putative class “upwards of 500,000 Class
Members” (Doc. 138 in No. 4:23-00242 at PageID #: 1806, ¶ 188), and propose classes and
subclasses spanning three (3) States and nearly 3,000 square miles encompassed by a 30mile radius around the derailment site. In addition, fact discovery in the underlying
litigation was to have been completed on or before February 5, 2024. See Order (Doc. 301
in No. 4:23-00242 at PageID #: 3459) in which Judge Pearson also states “[t]he Court is
not inclined to enlarge any other current cutoff dates set forth in ECF No. 98 [the Case
“When the court where compliance is required did not issue the subpoena, it may
transfer a motion under this rule to the issuing court if the person subject to the subpoena
consents or if the court finds exceptional circumstances….”
FED. R. CIV. P. 45(f).
Regarding exceptional circumstances, the Advisory Committee Notes provide, in
In the absence of consent, the court may transfer in exceptional
circumstances, and the proponent of transfer bears the burden of showing
that such circumstances are present. The prime concern should be avoiding
burdens on local nonparties subject to subpoenas, and it should not be
assumed that the issuing court is in a superior position to resolve subpoena2
related motions. In some circumstances, however, 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, Advisory Committee Notes to 2013 Amendment.
The pending Motion to Quash Subpoenas or, in the alternative, to Stay and Modify
would be more expeditiously decided if it were transferred to the to the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the court that issued the subpoenas and
where the underlying action is currently pending. Given the case management schedule
set by Judge Pearson, the undersigned finds that exceptional circumstances exist. That
court is familiar with the underlying issues and is in a much better position to make a
proper ruling on the discovery dispute. The Court, therefore, exercises its discretion to
transfer the Motion to Quash Subpoenas or, in the alternative, to Stay and Modify (Doc.
2) and Motion for Emergency Hearing (Doc. 3) to the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern
Division at Youngstown for resolution.
For these reasons, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to transfer the Motion
to Quash Subpoenas or, in the alternative, to Stay and Modify (Doc. 2) and Motion for
Emergency Hearing (Doc. 3) to the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division at
Youngstown. The Clerk is further DIRECTED to close this case.
Dated: February 7, 2024
s/David W. Dugan
DAVID W. DUGAN
United States District Judge
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