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Tumbling v. Merced Irrigation District

December 15, 2009

LAMONTE TUMBLING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MERCED IRRIGATION DISTRICT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO LIMIT DEPOSITIONS AS MOOT (Documents 43, 46)

Defendant Merced Irrigation District ("Defendant" or "MID") filed the instant motion to limit depositions on November 10, 2009. The matter was heard on December 10, 2009, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Neal Meyers appeared on behalf of Defendant. Dean Gordon and Robert Strickland appeared on behalf of Plaintiff LaMonte Tumbling ("Plaintiff").

RELEVANT BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed the instant employment discrimination action against MID on November 21, 2008. The complaint states causes of action under Title VII, California's Fair Housing and Employment Act and other federal and state statutes based mainly on allegations of race and gender discrimination.

On October 29, 2009, Plaintiff's counsel, Lawrence Murray, faxed a deposition notice of Defendant's Person Most Knowledgeable ("PMK"). The notice set the deposition for November 4, 2009, and identified 28 categories for examination.

Defendant filed a formal objection on October 30, 2009, objecting on the basis that the notice did not provide reasonable notice given the breadth of matters for examination. Defendant sent a more detailed letter to Plaintiff on November 6, 2009, explaining that most of the categories were "either irrelevant or hopelessly lack in the reasonable particularity and the 'painstaking specificity' required by Rule 30(b)(b) and case law." Exh. D, Declaration of Matthew Rancine.

On November 9, 2009, Plaintiff filed an amended deposition notice of Defendant's PMK. The notice set the deposition for November 16, 2009, and identified 22 categories for examination.

Defendant filed the instant motion for protective order on November 10, 2009. Defendant also sent Plaintiff a letter indicating that it would not be making a PMK available.

By letter dated November 12, 2009, Plaintiff informed Defendant that he intended to proceed with the PMK deposition.

On November 16, 2009, Defendant produced Robert Blum as its PMK. Declaration of Neal Meyers, ¶ 3. Mr. Meyers objected to the deposition under Rule 30(d)(3)(A) as oppressive to Defendant and demanded that the deposition be suspended to allow Defendant to obtain a protective order.

DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c), MID seeks a protective order/limiting order requiring Plaintiff to (1) comply with the specificity requirements of Rule 30(b)(b); (2) provide Defendant with at least 21 days' notice to permit it to prepare its PMK; and (3) not seek a PMK on a topic that has already been fully explored during percipient deposition testimony.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c) provides that a "court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, ...


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