Hurd v. The City of Lincoln et al
ORDER pursuant to the conference call held today, any formal motion to disqualify the City Attorney's Office from representing the defendants shall be filed on or before December 11, 2017, with Defendants' response due on or before Decem ber 18, 2017. No reply shall be filed absent leave of the court for good cause shown. Any formal motion to quash or for protective order as to the noticed deposition of the Chris Beutler, Mayor of the City of Lincoln, shall be filed on or before December 11, 2017, with Plaintiff's response due on or before December 18, 2017. No reply shall be filed absent leave of the court for good cause shown. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart. (ADB)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
TROY M. HURD,
THE CITY OF LINCOLN, a political
subdivision; et. al;
A conference call was held today to discuss: 1) Plaintiff’s claim that the
City Attorney’s Office is disqualified from representing the defendants, and 2)
Defendants’ objections to any further depositions as disproportionate to the
needs of the case, and as to the estimated three-hour deposition of the City’s
Mayor, that the notice should be quashed, particularly since the Mayor is willing
to respond to written deposition questioning under Rule 31.
Upon inquiry of counsel, the court initially determined the City Attorney’s
Office was not disqualified from representing the defendants. Thereafter, the
discovery issues were discussed at length. Over 40 hours of deposition
testimony has already been taken, with Plaintiff’s counsel investing substantial
attorney time (and accumulated fees) on this case. The court expressed
significant concerns with the extent of attorney time being expended on
discovery. The court asked several questions to determine if the proposed
additional discovery was disproportionate to the needs of the case, would
undermine any future attempts at alternative dispute resolution, and if Plaintiff
does not prevail, would saddle Plaintiff with extensive litigation expenses. In
response to these concerns, Plaintiff’s counsel stated she strongly believes
Plaintiff’s civil and employment rights were violated by the City, and that Plaintiff
is entitled to full discovery to vindicate these important rights.
Proposed deponent Bruce Sellin is no longer a City employee and is likely
no longer living in Nebraska. If Mr. Sellin is found, absent an agreement between
counsel on the terms and location of his deposition, counsel shall contact the
court before Mr. Sellin is deposed.
As to the remaining depositions Plaintiff seeks, with the exception of the
Mayor’s, the court concluded Plaintiff is entitled to take the requested
depositions. Plaintiff’s counsel was admonished, however, to curtail further
discovery to what is actually needed, and avoid unnecessary deposition
testimony (e.g., obtaining testimony regarding facts that are not actually
disputed), and to the extent possible, choose discovery methods that may be
equally effective but less expensive than depositions. For example, specifically
as to the proposed 30(b)(6) deposition of the City, Plaintiff’s counsel was advised
that a discussion with the City’s lawyers may actually be a better (and certainly
less expensive) avenue for learning how pay is calculated under relevant union
As to the Mayor’s deposition, the court will not decide whether Plaintiff is
entitled to take this proposed three-hour deposition without formal motion
The parties are encouraged to further discuss and attempt to resolve the
other issues raised during the hearing today without the necessity and expense
of formal motion practice. They are further advised that the court will closely
scrutinize any attorney fee request made in this case, particularly as to the issues
raised in this order, and it will not award fees that could have been avoided had
the parties heeded the court’s informal decisions and advice.
IT IS ORDERED:
Any formal motion to disqualify the City Attorney’s Office from
representing the defendants shall be filed on or before December 11, 2017, with
Defendants’ response due on or before December 18, 2017. No reply shall be
filed absent leave of the court for good cause shown.
Any formal motion to quash or for protective order as to the noticed
deposition of the Chris Beutler, Mayor of the City of Lincoln, shall be filed on or
before December 11, 2017, with Plaintiff’s response due on or before December
18, 2017. No reply shall be filed absent leave of the court for good cause shown.
Dated this 6th day of December, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Cheryl R. Zwart
United States Magistrate Judge
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