Waste Management of Louisiana, L.L.C. v. River Birch, Inc. et al
ORDER AND REASONS: ORDERED that 240 Motion for Leave to Extend the Deposition of Henry Mouton is GRANTED. FURTHER ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED to the extent that the Plaintiff may depose Mouton for seven (7) hours and the Defendants may depose Mouton for two (2) hours. Signed by Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby. (cml)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
WASTE MANAGEMENT OF LOUISIANA,
RIVER BIRCH, INC. ET AL
SECTION: “N” (4)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is a Motion for Leave to Extend the Deposition of Henry Mouton (R.
Doc. 240) filed by the Plaintiff Waste Management of Louisiana, LLC seeking an order from the
Court for leave to extend the deposition of Mouton by an additional seven hours. The motion is
opposed. R. Doc. 243. The motion was submitted on May 10, 2017 and heard with argument on
May 17, 2017.
This action was filed in the District Court on September 23, 2011. R. Doc. 1. Waste
Management of Louisiana, LLC (“Plaintiff”) alleges that the Defendants have engaged in a longrunning conspiracy to limit and exclude competition for landfill disposal services in and around
New Orleans, Louisiana. R. Doc. 140, p. 1. The Defendants in this action are: River Birch, Inc.,
the owner and operator of River Birch landfill; Highway 90 LLC, who owns Highway 90 landfill;
Frederick Heebe, the owner of Shadow Lake Management, Co., which is the parent corporation of
River Birch, Inc.; and Albert Ward, who is the father-in-law of Heebe, and former President of
River Birch, Inc. and Manager of Highway 90 LLC (collectively “Defendants”). In particular, the
Plaintiff states that it suffered direct injury as a result of the Defendants actions in at least two
instances: the premature closure of the Chef Menteur landfill in 2006 as part of a scheme to transfer
more Hurricane Katrina clean-up debris to River Birch’s landfill; and the efforts to prematurely
oust the Plaintiff as operator of the Jefferson Parish landfill as part of a scheme to transfer the
Parish’s municipal solid waste to River Birch landfill under an exclusive 25-year contract. Id. at
p. 2. As such, the Plaintiff has alleged two counts of violations under Federal Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Sections 1962(c) and Section 1962(d). Id. at p. 39-42.
At this time, the Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Leave to Extend the Deposition of Henry
Mouton. R. Doc. 240. In particular, the Plaintiff argues that given the importance of Mouton’s
actions in this case, the large number of documents and communications to discuss with him, the
nearly three years of relevant time, and the probability that multiple parties will likely examine
him. R. Doc. 240-1, p. 4-5.
The Defendants have opposed the extended time, arguing that Mouton is not so relevant as
to require the need for additional time for him to be deposed. R. Doc. 243. The Defendants argue
that the Plaintiff has only pled limited factual allegations in regards to Mouton and that Mouton’s
alleged involvement cannot exceed August of 2006, when the Chef Menteur Landfill closed. Id.
at p. 3.
Standard of Review
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that “[u]nless otherwise stipulated or ordered by
the court, a deposition is limited to one day of 7 hours. The court must allow additional time
consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2) if needed to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent,
another person, or any other circumstance impedes or delays the examination.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
30(d)(1). “The party seeking a court order to extend the examination, or otherwise alter the
limitations, is expected to show good cause to justify such an order.” 2000 Advisory Committee
Notes to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30; Holmes v. N. Texas Health Care Laundry Coop.
Assoc., No. 15-2117, 2016 WL 2609995, at *3 (N.D. Tex. May 6, 2016) (“[U]nder Rule 30(d)(1),
the Court may extend the limits on depositions for good cause.”).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 26(b)(1) provides that “[p]arties may obtain
discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense. . .”
Rule 26(b)(1) specifies that “[i]nformation within the scope of discovery need not be admissible
in evidence to be discovered.” Rule 26(b)(1) also specifics that discovery must be “proportional
to the needs of the case, considering the important of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the
importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the
proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need
not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id.
Under Rule 26(b)(2)(C), discovery may be limited if: (1) the discovery sought is
unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from another, more convenient, less
burdensome, or less expensive source; (2) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity
to obtain the discovery sought; or (3) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs
its likely benefit.
The Plaintiff has filed the instant motion seeking to extend the deposition of Mouton by an
additional seven hours. R. Doc. 240. The Plaintiff appears to argue that there is good cause to allow
for this extension given that: (i) Mouton’s role is important to the case; (ii) there are a large number
of relevant documents to discuss with Mouton; (iii) Mouton’s involvement spans a number of
years; and (iv) Mouton will likely be examined by a number of parties. R. Doc. 240-1, p. 4. In
reply, the Defendants argue that Mouton’s role is more limited than suggested by the Plaintiff
given the limited factual allegations involved with Mouton. R. Doc. 243. As such, the Defendants
argue that the Mouton deposition should be able to be completed within the seven-hour limit
provided under the Federal Rules.
In order to receive additional time to conduct Mouton’s demonstration, the Plaintiff must
demonstrate good cause for the extension in light of the relevant scope of discovery. Fed. R. Civ.
P. 30(d)(1). Additionally, the Court must allow such time as necessary to “fairly examine” the
deponent. Id. “In deciding whether there has been a fair examination, the court may consider
factors such as: (1) if the examination will cover events occurring over a long period of time; and
(2) the need for each party to examine the witness in multi-party cases.” Kleppinger v. Texas Dept.
of Transp., 283 F.R.D. 330, 333 (S.D. Tex. 2012) (citing 2000 Advisory Committee Notes to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30).
Here, this Court has previously examined the relevance of the Plaintiff’s alleged claims
involving Mouton and the appropriate scope of discovery related to those claims. R. Doc. 202, p.
13-15. As the Court has previously found, Mouton’s activities as it relates to the Chef Menteur,
Old Gentilly, and Two Rivers landfills as well as the alleged pattern of racketeering are relevant
and discoverable. Id. Additionally, despite continued protestation from the Defendants, the Court
stand by its prior findings that discovery related to Mouton is relevant. Id. at p. 14. However, the
question before the Court is the appropriate additional time.
The Plaintiff states that Mouton will likely discuss over one-hundred documents of the
2,350 documents that the Defendants have produced as they relate to Mouton’s activities. R. Doc.
240-1, p. 5. Moreover, the Plaintiff argues that previous deposition testimony indicates that
Mouton may be in the best position to discuss these documents. As such, the Plaintiffs seek an
additional seven (7) hours total for the deposition and, alternatively, an additional four (4) hours if
the Defendants forgo questioning Mouton. And, the Defendants have indicated that they will likely
need two hours of questioning for Mouton. R. Doc. 243, p. 3.
During oral argument, the Court ruled that the Plaintiff could depose Mouton for seven (7)
hours and the Defendants could depose Mouton for two (2) hours. The deposition does not need
to be completed in one day. Moreover, the Court instructed the Plaintiff that should it need
additional time it could contact Chambers for a conference call to discuss any additional time. The
Court further cautioned that the Plaintiff should use its time wisely because the Court would be
reviewing any additional documents that needed to be addressed during Mouton’s deposition as
well as who the seven hours allotted were used.
IT IS ORDERED that Motion for Leave to Extend the Deposition of Henry Mouton
(R. Doc. 240) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED to the extent that the
Plaintiff may depose Mouton for seven (7) hours and the Defendants may depose Mouton for two
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 17th day of May 2017.
KAREN WELLS ROBY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?