Perryman et al v. City of Seattle Police et al

Filing 85

ORDER granting in part defendants' 81 Motion for Protective Order, signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (SWT) (cc: Plaintiffs via USPS)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 _________________________________ ) ) ) Plaintiff, ) v. ) ) RHINO ROOM, et al., ) ) Defendants. ) _________________________________ ) SEAN PERRYMAN, Case No. C17-0274RSL ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER 13 14 This matter comes before the Court on defendants’ revised “Motion for Protective Order 15 and Status Conference” (Dkt. # 83-1) and a “Change of Status” filed by the Reverend Wayne 16 Perryman on behalf of his son, Sean. Having reviewed the memoranda, declarations, and 17 exhibits submitted, the Court finds as follows: 18 1. Litigants in federal court have an obligation to comply with discovery requests, 19 including notices of deposition. Despite the number of declarations submitted in this matter,1 the 20 parties have a right to ask witnesses about things the declarant may not have wanted to talk 21 about in the declaration, to probe the veracity of statements made therein, and to inquire about 22 damages and other elements of the claims and defenses. 23 2. At a deposition, the witness is put under oath or affirmation by an officer authorized or 24 25 26 1 Statements made in memoranda and hearsay statements contained in declarations and exhibits are not evidence. ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER 1 appointed to administer the oath, the testimony is recorded, and the witness must answer the 2 questions asked. There are very few exceptions to the requirement that a witness respond to the 3 substance of the question.2 An evasive, unresponsive, or incomplete answer is treated as a failure 4 to respond and may expose the witness to sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. 5 3. In the context of this case, the security video is only one piece of the evidence that will 6 be considered by the trier of fact. There are events that take place off camera, there are 7 ambiguous events, there is dialogue that is not captured, and there are events before and after the 8 video that are relevant. Each party must be permitted to ask the other about what he remembers 9 about the events of April 4, 2015, what motivated the actions seen on the security video, what 10 happened in the off-camera or ambiguous moments, and other facts that are relevant to the 11 claims and defenses asserted in this litigation. Failure to fully and completely respond to such 12 questions may result in sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. 13 4. Defendant seeks a protective order limiting who may be present at the depositions in 14 this matter. Plaintiff has stated that he is afraid of defendants and defense counsel and wants to 15 bring armed security guards to his deposition. Dkt. # 83-2 at 11. Plaintiff has also notified 16 defendants that he wants to depose four individuals at Mount Calvary Christian Center, which 17 his father says “is large enough to accommodate a large crowd and it has a big screen so 18 everyone can see video and Police Cams as part of the Deposition process.” Dkt. # 83-2 at 7-8. 19 Plaintiff apparently intends to advertise the depositions on the radio and social media and to 20 21 2 22 23 24 25 26 Even when a question is objectionable, the objection “must be stated in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner” so that it can be recorded and the examination continues. Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(c)(2). In the rare case that a party or deponent believes the deposition is being conducted “in bad faith or in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses, or oppresses the party or deponent,” the objecting party may demand that the deposition be suspended and file a motion to terminate or limit the questioning. Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(3). If a deposition is suspended for any reason in this litigation, the objecting party shall file a motion seeking Court approval to terminate or limit the deposition as soon as possible, but no later than three days after the deposition was suspended. ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER -2- 1 2 open the depositions to the public at large. There is no public right of access to a deposition, and the Federal Rules of Civil 3 Procedure expressly authorize limitations on who may be present while the deposition is 4 conducted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1)(E). Generally, only the court reporter, the parties, the 5 witness, and counsel are present. Depositions can be stressful, however, and the Court will allow 6 each witness to have a support person in attendance. While the witness is free to choose 7 whomever they would like as a support person, that person shall not participate in the deposition 8 in any way. The examination of witnesses at a deposition generally proceeds as it would at trial. 9 Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(c)(1). Questions are asked and answered as if the witness were testifying in 10 the courtroom: only the questioner, the witness and, if represented, the witness’ lawyer 11 participate in the discussion. All other persons are silent observers, just as a person in the back of 12 a courtroom during trial would be. The support persons may not interrupt the questioning, coach 13 the witness, or otherwise interject themselves into the record of the proceeding. “The court may 14 impose an appropriate sanction - including the reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred 15 by any party - on a person who impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of the 16 deponent.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(2). 17 The Court finds no justification for and expressly forbids the presence of any sort of 18 weapon at a deposition under this cause number. The Court also finds no justification for 19 opening the depositions to the public. As specified in this order, only the court reporter/officer, 20 the parties, the witness, his or her support person, and counsel of record shall be permitted to 21 attend the depositions. All depositions in this matter shall occur in the United States District 22 Courthouse at 700 Stewart Street. The parties shall contact the judicial assistant, Teri Roberts, at 23 (206) 370-8810, prior to issuing a notice of deposition to schedule an available date and location 24 for the depositions. 25 26 ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER -3- 1 5. The Reverend Perryman recently notified the Court that his son has left the district and 2 is seeking employment in Dallas, TX. He states that his son intends to pursue this lawsuit, but 3 has no firm plans to return to the area. The statements appear to be incompatible. Defendants 4 have noted Sean’s deposition and are only awaiting resolution of the protective order issues to 5 proceed. Expert reports are due on January 3, 2018, and discovery must be completed by March 6 4, 2018. Plaintiff shall, within seven days of the date of this Order, file a status report notifying 7 the Court whether he will make himself available for discovery pursuant to the existing case 8 management schedule or whether he would prefer that this action be stayed for a specified 9 period of time.3 10 11 Dated this 13th day of December, 2017. 12 A Robert S. Lasnik 13 United States District Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 3 This information must come directly from plaintiff, Sean Perryman. His father is not permitted to represent him in this matter, and any attempt to relay Sean’s wishes would constitute hearsay. ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER -4-

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