ME2 Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-16
ORDER denying 23 Motion for Discovery. Plaintiff is not permitted to depose each of the subscribers identified in Exhibit B to its complaint at this time. Counsel is reminded to read the order in its entirety for critical deadlines and information. Signed by Magistrate Judge James E. Gates on 10/30/2017. (Collins, S.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
ME2 PRODUCTIONS, INC.,
This copyright infringement case comes before the court on plaintiffs motion (D.E. 23)
for leave to take depositions prior to conducting a conference pursuant to Rule 26(±) of the
Eederal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, plaintiff seeks leave to be permitted to depose
each of th~ .subscribers identified by their internet protocol ("IP") address listed in Exhibit B to
compl~int (D.E. 1-2).
The court previously permitted plaintiff to serve subpoenas on each of
subscribers identified in Exhibit B. 1 Dec. 2016 Order (D.E. 12). Since the time
the complaint was filed, plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed five of the subscribers identified in
Exhibit B.: See 16 Dec. 2016 Notice of Dismissal as to Doe 16 (D.E. 13); 4 April 2017 Notice of
Dismissal as to Doe 2 and Doe 7 (D.E. 17); 9 June 2017 Notice of Dismissal as to Doe 3 and
Doe 8 (D.E. 22). In addition, plaintiff was allowed additional time, until 24 November 2017, to
serve defendants in this case. 24 Aug. 2017 Order (D.E. 26).
G~nerally, discovery is not permitted until after the parties have conferred pursuant to
Rule 26(d: Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(l). However, the court has discretion to alter the timing and
sequence bf discovery. Id
While the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not set forth the
standard to be applied in assessing a motion for expedited discovery, courts typically apply either
a reasonableness or good cause test taking into account the totality of the circumstances, or a
modified preliminary injunction test. Gaming v. W G. Yates & Sons Constr. Co., No. 1: 16CV30,
2016 WL 3450829, at *3 (W.D.N.C. 16 June 2016); Lewis v. Alamance Cty. Dep 't ofSoc. Servs.,
No. 1:15CV298, 2015 WL 2124211, at *1 (M.D.N.C. 6 May 2015).
This court agrees with the courts in this circuit that have applied the reasonableness or
good caus¢ standard to requests for expedited discovery. See Gaming, 2016 WL 3450829, at *3;
Chrysa, Jnr v. Innovative Concrete Sols. of the Carolinas, LLC, No. 5:15-CV-115-BR, 2015 WL
12600175J at *3 (E.D.N.C. 30 June 2015). Factors that courts consider under this test include the
procedura\ posture of the case, whether the discovery requested is narrowly tailored, whether the
the information would be irreparably harmed by waiting until after the parties
conduct tb!eir Rule 26(t) conference, and whether the information sought would be unavailable or
subject to destruction in the absence of expedited production. Chrysa, 2015 WL 12600175, at
He~e, the court finds that plaintiff has not shown good cause establishing that depositions
subscribers identified in Exhibit B are warranted prior to conducting a Rule 26(t)
conferency.. While the court is sympathetic to plaintiffs position, it also finds that the relief
sought on! the instant motion is not narrowly tailored. The relief sought by plaintiffs motion
would allow it to depose subscribers who have since been dismissed from the case. In addition,
plaintiff h~s not shown that it would suffer irreparable harm if the relief is not granted, only that
it may be required to later amend its pleadings.
Plaintiff has not demonstrated that the
informatiqn sought would be unavailable or subject to destruction in the absence of expedited
productio4. It is therefore ORDERED that plaintiffs motion (D.E. 23) is DENIED. Plaintiff is
to depose each of the subscribers identified in Exhibit B to its complaint at this
so; ORDERED, this £day of October 2017
United States Magistrate Judge
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