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Gragossian v. Cardinal Health Inc.

July 21, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Leo S. Papas U.S. Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff Seda Gragossian has filed a motion to quash pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 45(c)(3) directed to subpoenas that were issued to her former employers by Defendants Cardinal Health Inc., Cardinal Health 303, Inc., Cardinal Health Resources, LLC. Defendants oppose the motion. A hearing was held on July 17, 2008. In attendance were Scott McMillan, Esq. and Evan Kalooky, Esq. on behalf of Plaintiff and Frederick Kosmos, Esq. and Jeremy Horowitz, Esq. on behalf of Defendants. After due consideration of the parties' briefs, evidentiary submissions, and oral argument by counsel and, as set forth below, the Court DENIES in part and GRANTS in part Plaintiff's motion to quash. The Court further finds limited relief is appropriate in the form of a protective order pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 26(c). This order is made without prejudice to the rights of the recipients of the subpoenas to assert objections or seek relief pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 45 and applicable law should they do so.


Plaintiff was employed by Defendants for three and a half years before terminating her employment. She now claims she was forced to leave her job due to Defendants' misclassification of her position and a hostile work environment in which she was discriminated against, sexually harassed and wrongfully denied advancement to management. She alleges she sustained economic damages as well as emotional and mental distress. Defendants propounded subpoenas to six entities that Plaintiff has identified as having employed her between 1991 and 2003, the twelve year time frame immediately preceding her employment with Defendants. None of the employers are located within the jurisdiction of this Court and, therefore, all of the subpoenas were issued out of other District Courts.

Plaintiff initially filed motions to quash with the issuing District Courts. Although Plaintiff is represented by counsel here, the out of district motions were filed identifying Plaintiff as a pro se litigant in order to avoid the cost of Plaintiff's counsel making appearances pro hac vice in each court. This strategy caused confusion in at least two of the courts, which denied the motions without prejudice primarily due to concerns Plaintiff was attempting to circumvent her own counsel and this Court. The Eastern District of Virginia denied Plaintiff's motion on the merits and Defendants voluntarily withdrew one of the subpoenas so only four subpoenas are still at issue. Of these four, one court has transferred jurisdiction to over Plaintiff's motion to this Court. For ease of reference, the varying outcomes of these motions and the current status of each subpoena are summarized in the chart below.

Prior Employer Employment Originating District Ruling on Prior Motion to Quash Term Court

AT&T 91 - 95 E.Dist. Virginia Denied Disclosure, Inc. 9/96 - 3/97 Maryland Denied without prejudice to refile Oracle Corp. 4/97 - 8/98 N.Dist. California Denied without prejudice to refile Magnustics, Inc. 4/00 - 9/00 Maryland Denied without prejudice to refile Sony Electronics 9/98 - 6/03 S.Dist. New York Transferred jurisdiction to S.Dist California Spirient Unknown Unknown Subpoena was withdrawn by Def.


Plaintiff moves to quash the subpoenas pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 45(c)(3), contending Defendants' notice was untimely and the subpoenas seek information that is irrelevant and protected by California's right to privacy.


Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c)(3) specifically contemplates motions to quash or modify a subpoena being filed in the court from which the subpoena was issued. Of the four subpoenas still at issue, only one has been transferred here for disposition of Plaintiff's objections. Plaintiff contends, without any citing corroborating authority, her motion can be appropriately heard in this District because the dispute is between the parties - and does not address any objections by the prior employers. Defendants do not address the jurisdiction question.

With the exception of the subpoena to Sony Electronics, jurisdiction to quash the subpoenas remains with the issuing courts. However, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1)(D) upon a showing of good cause, this Court may issue a protective order to limit the scope of discovery to certain matters to protect the party from "annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense." Although the Court is loath to consider issues that may impinge on another court's jurisdiction, due the confusion that has resulted from Plaintiff's attempt to circumvent other court's pro hac vice requirements, and because the dispute is limited to the parties and Defendants do not object to this Court's intervention on the matter, in the interest of economy, the Court will consider Plaintiff's arguments with regard to the remaining three subpoenas under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1)(D).


Plaintiff contends Defendants did not provide adequate notice of service of the subpoenas and, therefore, the subpoenas should be quashed. Pursuant to Rule 45(b)(1), "(i)f the subpoena commands the production of documents... then before it is served, a notice must be served on each party." See ...

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