Watkins et al v. First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, Inc.
ORDER directing Plaintiffs to complete and return to the Clerk of Court within seven (7) days a subpoena addressed to Capital City Bank, at which time the Clerk of Court shall issue the subpoena. (Completed subpoena due by 8/23/2017. Add an additional 3 days only if served by mail or otherwise allowed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 45.) Signed by Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett on 8/16/2017. (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Robert L. Watkins; Dr. Robert J. Williams,
First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, Inc., )
Formerly People Community Bank, formerly )
known as Peoples Community Bank,
C/A No. 1:17-122-JMC-PJG
Plaintiffs Robert L. Watkins and Dr. Robert J. Williams, who are self-represented, filed this
civil action against the named defendant. This matter is before the court on Plaintiffs’ motion for
a subpoena duces tecum. (ECF No. 43.) The defendant filed a response in opposition. (ECF No.
44.) Plaintiffs’ motion requests a subpoena for a copy of a cashier’s check from July 2000 which
Plaintiffs allege is in the possession of Capital City Bank, a nonparty.
Discovery in civil cases filed in this court is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. These rules are applicable to all litigants including those who are proceeding pro se.
According to Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “Parties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense.”
The court’s authorization of a subpoena duces tecum requested by a pro se plaintiff is subject
to limitations, including the relevance of the information sought as well as the burden and expense
to a person subject to the subpoena. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b) & 45(d)(1). The court must limit a
plaintiff’s discovery requests if the documents sought from the non-party are “cumulative or
duplicative, or can be obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome,
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or less expensive.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C); see also Badman, 139 F.R.D. 601, 605 (M.D.
Pa. 1991) (“The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were not intended to burden a non-party with a
duty to suffer excessive or unusual expenses in order to comply with a subpoena duces tecum.”).
Additionally, the plaintiff should demonstrate that the requested records are obtainable only through
the identified third party and that he has made provisions to pay the reasonable costs associated with
the discovery he seeks. See Badman, 139 F.R.D. at 605; Sickler v. Curtis, No. 2:11-cv-0205, 2012
WL 3778941, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2012).
Review of the record in this matter reveals that Plaintiffs have previously requested this
document from the defendant, which stated that it did not possess the cashier’s check. (See Def.’s
Resp. Opp’n Pls.’ Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 41.) Plaintiffs argue that this document “goes to the
heart of [their] lawsuit.” (ECF No. 43.) Additionally, the amount of material requested does not
appear to be excessive.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that the Clerk of Court provide one blank subpoena form to Plaintiffs for
completion. Plaintiffs are directed to complete the form and return it to the Clerk of Court within
seven (7) days, at which time the Clerk of Court shall issue the subpoena addressed to Capital City
Bank. Plaintiffs are reminded that they are responsible for arranging service of their proposed
subpoena duces tecum pursuant to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Additionally,
Plaintiffs are responsible for paying the subpoenaed party for the costs associated with the
production of the requested documents.
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IT IS SO ORDERED.
Paige J. Gossett
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
August 16, 2017
Columbia, South Carolina
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