Hart et al v. Union County et al
ORDER Granting 14 Motion to Quash. Signed by Senior Judge Graham Mullen on 9/11/2017. (jaw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
Walter L. Hart IV
Wanda Sue Larson,
ORDER ON MOTION TO QUASH
AND MOTION FOR
THIS MATTER is before the Court on a Motion to Quash and a Motion for Protective
Order filed by non-party Gaston County (Doc. No. 14). Gaston County moves to quash
Plaintiffs’ subpoena duces tecum and notice of deposition on the Gaston County Department of
Health and Human Services (“GCDHSS”), or in the alternative asks the court to review the
documents at issue in camera. Gaston County asserts three grounds for its motion: (1)
insufficient service of process, (2) the requested documents are outside of GCDHSS’s custody,
and (3) the requests are for irrelevant information and impose an undue burden.
The Court, having carefully reviewed the motion and discovery requests, finds the
following with respect to each claim:
1. The traditional rule regarding service of process for a subpoena requires personal
service under FRCP Rule 45(b). 9A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 2454 (3d ed. 2017). However, a growing minority of
cases has departed from this rule and allowed other forms of service. Id.; see, e.g.,
Bland v. Fairfax Cty., 275 F.R.D. 466 (E.D. Va. 2011). Because the Fourth Circuit
has not squarely answered this question, neither party has briefed the issue, and its
adjudication is not necessary to the resolution of this Motion, the Court declines to
rule on this issue.
2. Requested court records for J.G. and other children placed in the legal or physical
custody of Harper or Larson are not maintained by GCDHHS.
3. The extensive requests for production of every email, recording, document, or other
item over a ten-year period involving Harper and Larson’s custody, care, education,
discipline, and support of J.G. and any other children—extending even to internal
criticism and information regarding the lifestyle and religion of Harper and Larson—
are unduly burdensome and would impose extreme cost upon Gaston County.
Plaintiffs have not responded to Gaston County’s assertions and have not established
the relevance of these requested materials.
Thus, the Court grants the Motion to quash Plaintiffs’ Notice of Deposition and subpoena
duces tecum upon GCDHHS under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 45(d)(3)(iv), as subjecting Gaston
County to an undue burden. The Court will allow Plaintiffs to amend their discovery requests
with respect to documents within the control of GCDHHS to reflect reasonable scope and
relevance. Additionally, the Court holds that its previously issued Protective Order (Doc. 11)
addresses many of the other concerns raised by Gaston County with respect to the confidentiality
of requested materials.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the motion to quash (Doc. No. 14) is hereby
Signed: September 11, 2017
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?