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Jadwin v. County of Kern

August 8, 2008

DAVID F. JADWIN, D.O., PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF KERN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Theresa A. Goldner United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF"S MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITIONS AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS (Doc. 168)

Plaintiff's motion to compel depositions and request for sanctions (Doc. 168) came on regularly for hearing before United States Magistrate Judge Theresa A. Goldner on August 6, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. in the United States District Court courtroom at 1300 18th Street, Suite A, Bakersfield, California. Eugene S. Lee appeared for Plaintiff and Mark A. Wasser appeared for Defendants. The Court ruled from the bench and 1) granted the motion for an order to compel depositions, 2) denied the request for sanctions, and 3) instructed counsel to submit a proposed form of order after hearing. This order constitutes the Court's written order after hearing.

The Court has read and considered the motion pleadings and the arguments of counsel, and makes the following ruling.

I. Legal Standards

A. Discovery Overview

The purpose of discovery is to make trial "less a game of blind man's bluff and more a fair contest with the basic issues and facts disclosed to the fullest extent possible," United States v. Proctor & Gamble, 356 U.S. 677, 683, 78 S.Ct. 983 (1958), and to narrow and clarify the issues in dispute, Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501, 67 S.Ct. 385 (1947).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) defines the general scope of discovery, and provides that:

Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense - including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. All discovery is subject to the limitations imposed by Rule 26(b)(2)(C). "The party who resists discovery has the burden to show that discovery should not be allowed, and has the burden of clarifying, explaining, and supporting its objection." Oakes v. Halvorsen Marine Ltd., 179 F.R.D. 281, 283 (C.D. Cal. 1998); Nestle Foods Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 135 F.R.D. 101, 104 (D. N.J. 1990).

B. Deposition Standards

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(a)(1) authorizes depositions, including those of parties, "without leave of court." However, absent leave of the court, the parties may take no more than ten depositions per side. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(2)(A); see Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Aon Risk Services, Inc. of Minn., 187 F.R.D. 578, 586 (D. Minn. 1999); Andromiro U.S.A. v. Konami Amusement of America, Inc., 2001 WL 535667, *2 (C.D.Cal. 2001).

C. Expenses and Sanctions

When a motion for an order compelling discovery is granted, "the court must, after giving an opportunity to be heard, require the party or deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion, the party or attorney advising that conduct, or both to pay the movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including attorney's fees. But the court must not order this payment if: . . . (ii) the opposing party's nondisclosure, response, or objection was substantially justified; or (iii) other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. Fed. R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A). Additionally, when the conduct "impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of the deponent, the court may impose further "appropriate sanctions," including "the reasonable expenses and attorney's fees incurred by any party." Fed. R. Civ.P. 30(d)(2). What constitutes reasonable expenses and appropriate sanctions is a matter for the Court's discretion. See Biovail Laboratories, Inc. v. Anchen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 233 F.R.D. 648, 654 (C.D.Cal. 2006).

II. ...


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