Luan v. Advanced Title Insurance et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION denying 54 Motion for Protective Order; granting in part and denying in part 60 Motion to Take Deposition from Jennifer Shaw. Signed by Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead on 8/12/15. (jlw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
Case No. 2:13-cv-00983
ADVANCED TITLE INSURANCE
AGENCY, L.C., MARCEL GILES; and
WESTCOR LAND TITLE INSURANCE
COMPANY, a California corporation,
United States District Court Dee Benson
Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead
Yiping Luan (“Luan”), a citizen of China, sought to purchase a home in the State of Utah
for approximately $200,000 (doc. 19, ¶12). As a foreign citizen, Luan was unable to obtain
lender approval for a mortgage (id., ¶13). Consequently, Luan contacted Advanced Title
Insurance’s (“Advanced Title”) agent, Marcel Giles (“Mr. Giles”), who advised Luan to wire
money to Advanced Title’s trust account (id., ¶¶12-14).2 Based thereon, Luan sent four separate
$50,000.00 wire transfers to Mr. Giles and Advanced Title to be held in escrow pending the
purchase of her home (id., ¶16). Luan alleges that after wiring the funds, unknown hackers
impersonating her emailed Mr. Giles and directed him to wire the money back to China. As a
result of these fraudulent emails, Luan asserts that $150,000 of her money was improperly wired
This case is before the magistrate judge pursuant to a 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(a) referral
from District Court Judge Dee Benson (doc. 42).
Luan’s sister, Peggy, a Utah resident, was previously involved in several successful real
estate transactions with Mr. Giles and recommended him to Luan (doc. 19, ¶11).
to unknown persons or entities thereby resulting in the loss of her money.
On October 29, 2013, Luan filed suit against Advanced Title and Mr. Giles (doc. 2), later
amending her complaint to include claims against Westcor Land Title Insurance (“Westcor”)
(doc. 19). On March 12, 2015, Westcor filed a motion for partial summary judgment asserting
that Advanced Title and Mr. Giles were not acting as its agents and the prerequisites for
Westcor’s liability, pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 31A-23a-407, did not exist (doc. 32).
Westcor’s motion for partial summary judgment was denied by the District Court on July 28,
2015 (doc. 66).
Currently pending before this court is: (1) Westcor’s “Motion For Protective Order” (doc.
54); and (2) Luan’s “Motion For Leave To Depose Westcor And Its Employee Jennifer Shaw”
(doc. 60). The Court has carefully reviewed the motions and memoranda submitted by the
parties and concludes that oral argument would not materially assist in its determination of these
matters. See DUCivR 7-1(f).
On February 23, 2015, Luan noticed Westcor’s 30(b)(6) deposition requesting the
production of documents and a witness prepared to testify on designated subjects (doc. 54-1).3
On April 7, 2015, regional counsel Robert Rice testified as Westcor’s 30(b)(6) corporate
Relevant to the pending motions is Luan’s request for: “bulletins, given by Westcor to
title agencies or title companies using Westcor as an underwriter, regarding the standards and
processes required of title agencies or title companies in the receipt of or payment of money by
international wires” (doc. 59-1, p. 6 ¶ 2(d)(vii). Additionally, the notice requested production of
a witness prepared to testify on “standards and processes required of title agencies or title
companies using Westcor as an underwriter regarding the receipt of or payment of money by
international wires” (id., p. 5 ¶ 2(c)(ii).
designee (doc. 54-2). During the deposition, Luan requested production of additional materials
(doc. 63-1),3 which were subsequently provided to Luan on April 17, 2015 (doc. 59-1, Exhibit
B).4 Included in the additional materials provided were documents related to Westcor’s
continuing education classes on cyber-crimes and security, along with a PowerPoint presentation,
prepared by Western Region Auditor Jennifer Shaw, addressing internal procedures for
safeguarding escrow funds (id. Exhibit C).
On June 4, 2015, Luan noticed Westcor’s second 30(b)(6) deposition (doc. 59-1).
Immediately thereafter, Westcor filed a motion for protective order seeking to strike the notice as
procedurally improper (doc. 54). In response, Luan filed her opposition to the protective order
along with a formal request for leave to depose Westcor employee Jennifer Shaw (doc. 60). Each
motion is addressed herein.
A. Westcor’s Motion For Protective Order
Rule 26(c) provides for the issuance of a protective order to limit or eliminate discovery
sought upon a showing of “good cause”. Fed R. Civ. P. 26(c) (for good cause the court issue an
order to protect from “annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense. . . ”).
Westcor asserts that a protective order should be issued and the June 4, 2015, notice of
deposition stricken, based upon Luan’s failure to obtain leave of court prior to noticing Westcor’s
The requested materials relevant to the pending motions include Luan’s request Number
3 for, “[o]utlines used in [sic] Westcor in its continuing education classes from 2009 to the
present and if a class was on use of escrow money or wire transactions, the material used in the
class.” (doc. 63-1), and, Request Number 6 for “[t]he materials handed out to Marcel at the First
American continuing education class.” (Id.).
The information provided included materials: (1) relating to Advanced’s application to
Westcor; and (2) relating to “CLE” courses provided by Westcor since Advanced became an
agent (doc. 59-1).
second 30(b)(6) deposition (doc. 54).
Absent a stipulation, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 requires a party to obtain leave
of the court before taking the deposition of a deponent who has previously been deposed. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 30(a)(ii) (“A party must obtain leave of the court, . . . if the deponent has already been
deposed in the case”). Although Luan failed to obtain leave of court prior to issuing her
deposition notice, on June 23, 2015, Luan filed a formal motion requesting leave to conduct the
second deposition of Westcor (doc. 60). Accordingly, the court finds any prior procedural
deficiencies related to the deposition notice are moot and Westcor’s motion for protective order
is denied (doc. 54).
B. Luan’s Motion For Leave
On June 23, 2015, Luan filed her motion for leave to take the second deposition of
Westcor and its employee Jennifer Shaw (doc. 60); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 30 (party must obtain
leave of the court to take deposition if “deponent has already been deposed in the case”). Luan
argues a second deposition is necessary since documents relevant to Westcor’s safeguarding
procedures should have been produced prior to the initial deposition (doc. 59). Further, Luan
asserts Westcor’s witness, Robert Rice, was unprepared to testify and therefore the deposition of
Jennifer Shaw, an individual knowledgeable on relevant topics, is necessitated.5 Westcor
opposes Luan’s motion arguing the “new” materials were only first requested during Westcor’s
initial deposition and Mr. Rice was sufficiently prepared to testify on all topics set forth in the
initial deposition notice (doc. 63).
Luan presents her arguments in support of Westcor’s second deposition in her
“Opposition To Westcor’s Motion For Protective Order” (doc. 59) and not in her “Motion For
Leave To Depose” (doc. 60).
Absent a showing of need or good cause, “[c]ourts generally disfavor repeat depositions.”
Dixon v. Certainteed Corp., 164 F.R.D. 685, 690 (D. Kan. 1996) (internal quotation and citation
omitted); Cf. Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States DOC, 34 F. Supp. 2d 47, 54 (D.D.C. 1998)
(“[l]eave to conduct a second deposition should ordinarily be granted.”). In turn, courts must
also “be careful not to deprive a party of discovery that is reasonably necessary to afford a fair
opportunity to develop and prepare the case.” Ast v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12383
*4 (internal citations omitted); see also Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501 (1947) (“[t]he
deposition-discovery rules are to be accorded a broad and liberal treatment.”).
Overall, a court’s decision to grant or deny a request for leave to re-depose a witness is
guided by federal rule 26. Rule 26 requires the court to limit discovery if:
(i) 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; (ii) the party seeking discovery
has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in
the action; or (iii) 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 litigation, and the importance of the proposed
discovery in resolving the issues.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C); Moore’s Federal Practice–Civil § 30.05 (2015). Applying these
factors, the court finds good cause sufficient to grant Luan’s request for leave to take a second
30(b)(6) deposition of Westcor.
The materials referencing cyber security and the safeguarding of escrow funds were not
provided by Westcor in conjunction with the original document request (doc. 54-1). This is
supported by Luan’s April 8, 2015, correspondence to Westcor confirming her request for
additional documentation (doc. 63-1) (“At the depositions, I made the following requests”). The
court declines to determine whether the referenced materials were encompassed within the scope
of Luan’s original production requests. Instead, based simply upon the relevance of the
information to the underlying case, along with the absence of any overwhelming burden placed
upon Westcor, good cause exists for a second deposition. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2). In so
concluding, the court seeks to temper Westcor’s concerns surrounding the cumulative nature of a
second deposition by limiting the deposition itself to specific, discrete areas of inquiry not
explored at the prior deposition. Id. The deposition shall be limited to only those topics directly
related to the “new” materials produced (doc. 59-1) and attached as Exhibits to Luan’s opposition
to Westcor’s motion for a protective order (doc. 59-1, Exhibit C).
In addition, pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) it is the organization to be deposed that is charged
with designating a witness to testify on its behalf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6); see Stone v. Morton
Int’l. Inc.,170 F.R.D. 498, 500 (D. Utah 1997). 6 The designated witness should be prepared to
testify on all topics of inquiry and the corporation is obligated to prepare its deponent to fully
answer questions on the designated subject matters. See Raytheon Aircraft Co. v. United States,
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66156 at *11 (D. Kan. Sept. 6, 2007) (citing Sprint Commc’ns Co., L.P.
v. Theglobe.com, Inc., 236 F.R.D. 524, 527 (D. Kan. 2006)). Based thereon, Luan’s request to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) provides:
In its notice or subpoena, a party may name as the deponent
a public or private corporation. . . and must describe with
reasonable particularity the matters for examination. The
named organization must then designate one or more officers,
directors or managing agents or designate other persons who
consent to testify on its behalf. . . The persons designated must
testify about information known or reasonably available to the
organization. Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6).
depose Westcor employee Jennifer Shaw is denied. While Westcor is entitled to designate Ms.
Shaw as its witness, such decision ultimately remains within the purview of Westcor the
corporate entity and not Luan the individual conducting the deposition.
Accordingly, as set forth herein:
1. Westcor’s Motion For Protective Order is DENIED (doc. 54).
2. Luan’s Motion To For Leave is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part (doc. 60).
Luan’s request to depose Westcor employee Jennifer Shaw is denied. Luan’s motion to
conduct a second 30(b)(6) deposition of Westcor is granted subject to the specific
limitations set forth herein.
DATED this 12th day of August, 2015.
U.S. Federal Magistrate Judge
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