McNae et al v. ARAG Insurance Company

Filing 32

ORDER granting in part and denying in part Defendant's 22 Motion for Protective Order. Signed by Judge Tana Lin. (MJV)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WILLIAM MCNAE and RONDA MCNAE, husband and wife, v. Plaintiffs, ARAG INSURANCE COMPANY, CASE NO. 2:24-cv-00211-TL ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER Defendant. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 This matter is before the Court on Defendant ARAG Insurance Company’s Motion for Protective Order re Deposition Scheduling. Dkt. No. 22. Having considered Defendant’s motion, Plaintiffs’ response (Dkt. No. 28), Defendant’s reply (Dkt. No. 30), and the relevant record, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant’s motion. I. BACKGROUND Defendant moves the Court to issue a protective order: (1) preventing Plaintiffs’ Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of ARAG from proceeding on July 10 and ordering Plaintiff to re-note it to a ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER - 1 1 date mutually agreeable to ARAG; and (2) preventing Plaintiffs’ deposition from proceeding or, 2 in the alternative, granting ARAG leave to depose Plaintiffs on a subsequent date to be arranged 3 by the parties. Dkt. No. 22 at 2–3. 4 Plaintiffs served their first written discovery on ARAG on March 22, 2024, and 5 circulated topics for ARAG’s Rule 30(b)(6) deposition on April 26, 2024. Dkt. No. 28 at 2, 3. 6 Plaintiff has issued deposition notices for ARAG’s 30(b)(6) deposition for July 10, 2024 (Dkt. 7 No. 23-4), Plaintiff Ronda McNae for July 11, 2024 (Dkt. No. 23-6), Plaintiff William McNae 8 (Dkt. No. 23-7), and ARAG’s counsel Michael Mullaly for July 16, 2024 (Dkt. No. 23-5). Expert 9 reports are currently due October 21, 2024, and discovery closes December 20, 2024. Dkt. No. 10 19. LEGAL STANDARD II. 11 12 A court may issue an order regarding the sequencing of discovery “for the parties’ and 13 witnesses’ convenience and in the interests of justice.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(3). When parties 14 cannot arrive at a mutual agreement, a court has wide discretion to establish the time and place of 15 depositions. Hyde & Drath v. Baker, 24 F.3d 1162, 1166 (9th Cir. 1994). III. 16 17 18 A. DISCUSSION Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition Shortly after Defendant advised Plaintiffs that its designees were not available on July 19 10–12 but offered them for the following week (i.e., July 16–18), Plaintiffs issued their Rule 20 30(b)(6) deposition notice. Dkt. No. 22 at 4. Plaintiffs’ counsel are clearly available during that 21 week as they have scheduled Mr. Mullaly’s deposition for one day during that time period. The 22 Court is disappointed (to state it mildly) that Plaintiffs’ counsel would not work with 23 Defendant’s counsel when they offered a date just six days after the requested date, necessitating 24 motions practice. This is simply not a good use of either the Parties’ or the Court’s time, ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER - 2 1 especially given the close of discovery is over five months away. The Court, however, is 2 sympathetic to Plaintiffs for wanting to move the case forward as expeditiously as possible and 3 that an early Rule 30(b)(6) deposition often helps frame further discovery. Therefore, while the 4 Court will grant Defendant’s request for a protective order preventing Plaintiffs from proceeding 5 with the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition on July 10, 2024, the Court will also order the parties to meet 6 and confer to set a date for this deposition to occur within forty-five (45) days of this Order 7 unless Plaintiffs agree to a date beyond this time frame. 8 B. 9 Depositions of the McNaes Plaintiffs have noted their own depositions for July 11 and 12, which they represent are 10 not preservation depositions (Dkt. No. 28 at 8) but is to “develop the factual record for future 11 motions and expert analysis.” Id. at 3. The Court finds it unusual for a party to note its own 12 deposition other than when it is needed to preserve testimony since the party has access to its 13 own witnesses (here, themselves) and can submit declarations if needed for motions and expert 14 analysis. Normally, parties try to hold all their information as close to their vests as possible for 15 as long as possible. But nothing prevents Plaintiffs from taking their own depositions. 16 Defendant represents—and Plaintiffs do not dispute—it held off serving discovery 17 because it wished to explore resolution without burdening Plaintiffs with discovery or 18 unnecessary attorney’s fees, but Plaintiffs’ counsel preferred to discuss resolution after the 19 current round of discovery. Dkt. No. 22 at 10. The Court finds that Defendant will be prejudiced 20 if forced to proceed with the Plaintiffs’ depositions before receiving discovery. 21 The Court strongly encourages the parties to try and work out a mutually acceptable date 22 for the depositions of the Plaintiffs as, again, the close of discovery is over five months away. 23 Nevertheless, the Court will not interfere with Plaintiffs’ choice to proceed with their own 24 depositions (bearing the cost of their self-noted depositions) should they insist on proceeding on ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER - 3 1 July 11 and 12, although it appears it may be more of a strategic decision or gamesmanship to try 2 to force Defendant to depose Plaintiffs before they have adequate discovery. On the other hand, 3 the Court also will not interfere with Defendant’s right to sequence discovery as it chooses, 4 especially as the discovery cut off is months away. Therefore, if Plaintiffs choose to proceed 5 with their depositions on July 11 and 12, the Court will allow Defendant to depose Plaintiffs at a 6 subsequent time for seven-hour deposition each with Defendant bearing the costs for the 7 subsequent deposition. 8 9 IV. CONCLUSION For these reasons, the Court ORDERS the following: 10 1. The Court GRANTS Defendant’s request for a protective order preventing Plaintiffs 11 from proceeding with the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition on July 10, 2024. The Court 12 further ORDERS the parties to meet and confer to set a mutually agreed upon date for 13 this deposition to occur within forty-five (45) days of this Order. 14 2. The Court DENIES Defendant’s request for a protective order preventing Plaintiffs’ 15 self-noted depositions from proceeding on July 11 and 12. Should Plaintiffs choose to 16 proceed with their depositions on July 11 and 12, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 17 30(a)(2)(A)(ii), the Court GRANTS Defendant leave to depose each Plaintiff at a 18 subsequent time for a seven-hour deposition. 19 20 21 3. The Court ORDERS the parties to utilize the procedure set forth in Local Civil Rule 37(a) for any future discovery disputes. Dated this 5th day of July 2024. 22 23 24 Tana Lin United States District Judge ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER - 4

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?