Gladue v. Saint Francis Medical Center
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant's motion to quash [Doc. #68] is granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to compel [Doc. #67] is denied. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to submit a surreply [Doc. #71] is denied. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 12/17/2014. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MARIE THERESE GLADUE,
SAINT FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER,
Case No. 1:13-CV-00186-CEJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on plaintiff’s motion to compel the deposition
of defendant’s chief executive officer, Steven C. Bjelich. Also before the court is the
defendant’s motion to quash plaintiff’s notice of deposition.
In this action, plaintiff claims that the defendant terminated her employment
because of her age, religion, and gender, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., and the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq.
Plaintiff initially asserted these and
other claims against Mr. Bjelich, however, those claims were dismissed and Mr.
Bjelich is no longer a party to this action. Plaintiff now seeks to take his deposition.
Rule 26(b)(2)(C) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the
“frequency or extent of discovery” may be limited when
the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can
be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less
burdensome, or less expensive . . . [or where] the burden or expense
of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit, considering the
needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties’ resources,
the importance of the issues at stake in the action, and the importance
of the discovery in resolving the issues.
Furthermore, Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(d)(3)(A)(iv) requires that the Court “must quash or
modify a subpoena that . . . subjects a person to undue burden.”
Under the apex standard, “[t]o obtain a deposition from a high-level
corporate official, parties must demonstrate (1) the executive has unique or special
knowledge of the facts at issue, and (2) other less burdensome avenues for
obtaining the information sought have been exhausted.” Ingersoll v. Farmland
Foods, Inc., No. 10-6046-CV-SJ-FJG, 2011 WL 1131129, at *7 (W.D. Mo. Mar. 28,
2011); see also Miscellaneous Docket Matter No. 1 v. Miscellaneous Docket Matter
No. 2, 197 F.3d 922 (8th Cir. 1999) (holding that a district court did not abuse its
discretion in quashing a subpoena to depose a CEO where the deposition would
have been irrelevant and harmful); Bank of the Ozarks v. Capital Mortgage Corp.,
No. 4:12-MC-00021 KGB, 2012 WL 2930479, at *1 (E.D. Ark. July 18, 2012)
(applying the apex deposition doctrine to quash a deposition subpoena).
defendant argues that the circumstances presented in this case do not meet the
The court has reviewed the amended complaint and finds no allegations that
Mr. Bjelich participated in the decision to terminate her employment.
states that she met in private with Mr. Bjelich on one occasion shortly after she
began working for defendant, and that he described the position to her and his
The discussion during that meeting is irrelevant to the issue of
whether plaintiff’s discharge some eighteen months later was unlawful.
plaintiff has made no allegation that Mr. Bjelich had advance knowledge of the
decision to terminate plaintiff’s employment or that he had any reason to believe
that the decision was based on plaintiff’s age, gender, or religion. Thus, plaintiff
has not demonstrated that Mr. Bjelich has “unique or special knowledge of the facts
With respect to the second prong of the apex standard, plaintiff has failed to
demonstrate that she has exhausted other less-burdensome avenues for obtaining
the information she seeks. She has not deposed members of defendant’s leadership
team who are likely to have all of the relevant information about defendant’s
grievance procedures and the decision to terminate her. See Ingersoll, 2011 WL
1131129, at *7. Nor has she deposed or sought to depose defendant’s corporate
representative, who could also opine on defendant’s decision-making procedures.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6).
After careful review of the reasons set forth in plaintiff’s motion to compel
and in her response to the motion to quash, the court concludes that plaintiff
should not be permitted to take Mr. Bjelich’s deposition.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant’s motion to quash [Doc. #68] is
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to compel [Doc. #67] is
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for leave to submit a surreply [Doc. #71] is denied.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 17th day of December, 2014.
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