Cole v. Family Dollar, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Paula Xinis on 9/18/2017. (jf3s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. PX l7-O039.z," 3:rcp
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FAMILY DOLLAR, INC. et al.,
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Pending is Plaintiff Fay Cole's consent motion for order to show cause. The issues are
fully briefed and the Court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is
necessary. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.
On February 10, 2017, Plaintiff Fay Cole ("Plaintiff") filed a Complaint against
Defendants Family Dollar, Inc. and Family Dollar Stores of Maryland, Inc., see ECF No. 1, and
an Amended Complaint on June 6, 2017. See ECF No. 17. The Amended Complaint states that
Defendant sent a then-current employee, Marsha Walker, to respond to an internal complaint of
discrimination that Plaintiff filed with human resources. Walker met with Plaintiff to discuss her
complaint but ultimately decided not to take any action in response. See ECF No. 17 at 4-5.
Defendant responded to the interrogatories propounded by Plaintiff and identified Walker as
someone with information that pertains to his case. See ECF No. 24-1 at 2.
On July 24, 2017, Plaintiff's counsel subpoenaed Walker to attend a deposition scheduled
for August 30, 2017. Walker failed to appear. Plaintiff, with Defendants' consent, then filed a
motion pursuant to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to show cause why she
should not be held in contempt for failing to appear at her scheduled deposition. See ECF No. 24.
Rule 45(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a court “may hold in
contempt a person who, having been served [a subpoena], fails without adequate excuse to obey
the subpoena or an order related to it.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(g). Rule 45(a) requires that a subpoena
(i) state the name of the court from which it has been issued; (ii) state the title of the action and
the civil-action number; (iii) command attendance, production, or inspection and specify the time
and place for doing so; and (iv) contain the text of subdivisions 45(d) and 45(e), which address
the protection of persons subject to the subpoena and the duties in responding. See Fed. R. Civ.
Proper service of a subpoena requires delivering a copy to the named person and, if the
subpoena necessitates the witness’s attendance, tendering the fees for one day’s attendance and
the mileage allowed by law is required. Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(b)(1). Unless otherwise ordered by the
Court or agreed on by the parties, fourteen days’ advance notice of a deposition is reasonable
within the meaning of Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(1). See Local Rule App’x A, Guideline 9(b) (D. Md.
Plaintiff’s subpoena to Walker satisfied the requirements enumerated in Rule 45. See
ECF No. 24-2. The subpoena specified the Court from which it was issued, the title of the civil
action, the time and place of the deposition, and it included the language setting forth the
protection of persons subject to subpoenas and duties in responding to a subpoena. See id. The
process server also handed Walker a letter that included contact information for Plaintiff’s
counsel and an offer to answer any questions. A check for $50 accompanied the subpoena to
cover attendance and mileage. Finally, the subpoena was personally served on Walker
approximately five weeks in advance of the scheduled deposition.
On a timely motion, a subpoena must be quashed or modified by the court if it: (i) fails to
allow a reasonably time to comply; (ii) requires a person to comply beyond the geographical
limits specified in Rule 45(c); (iii) requires the disclosure of privileged or other protected matter,
if no exception or waiver applies; or (iv) subjects a person to undue burden. Fed. R. Civ. P.
45(d). An individual who fails to modify, quash, or otherwise provide good cause for failing to
cooperate with a subpoena may be ordered to appear before the Court to provide adequate excuse
for why he should not be found in contempt of Court for failure to comply. Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(g);
see United States v. Bigwitch, 1990 WL 168183, at *1 (4th Cir. Nov. 5, 1990).
Walker has not filed a motion to quash or modify the subpoena. Absent a timely motion
to quash or modify or an assertion of privilege, the Court may exercise its discretion and direct
Walker to appear before the Court to provide adequate excuse for his failure to comply with the
subpoena. Cf. Dunkin’ Donuts, Inc. v. Three Rivers Entm’t And Travel, 42 F. App’x 573, 575
(4th Cir. 2002) (“As a general principle, it has been observed that ‘[a]lthough there are no
specific procedural steps to follow in civil contempt proceedings, due process requires that the
[alleged contemnor] be given the opportunity to be heard at a ‘meaningful time and in a
meaningful manner.’” (quoting Fisher v. Marubeni Cotton Corp., 526 F.2d 1338, 1343 (8th Cir.
1975)). Accordingly, absent an adequate excuse from Walker the Court will enforce the
subpoena and reserves the right to hold Walker in contempt for failure to obey a court order.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff’s consent motion and directs non-
party witness Marsha Walker to appear before the Court to show cause for why she should not be
held in contempt for her failure to appear at a deposition on August 30, 2017.
United States District Judge
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