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Douglas v. Shasta County

March 3, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge


Pending before the court is Defendants' motion to compel Plaintiff's attendance at a deposition (Doc. 15). The court granted Defendants' request to hear the motion on shortened time (Docs. 12, 19). A hearing on the motion to compel was held on February 24, 2010, before the undersigned in Redding, California. Attorney Orestes Cross appeared telephonically for plaintiff; defense counsel, Gary Brickwood, appeared in person.


The parties have summarized the background of this case as follows:

Plaintiff's case arises out of a domestic dispute wherein the Shasta County Superior Court had ordered that third party Rivera be allowed to remove belongings from the home of plaintiff, Shirley Douglas without the presence of plaintiff Douglas' son who was the domestic partner of Rivera. Shasta County Sheriff's Deputies acted as a form of civil standby to enforce the Court Order. Plaintiff alleges that the deputies violated her civil rights by allowing others to commit assault and battery. Defendants contend that they acted pursuant to Court Order and are immune from liability. Defendants further deny any assault against plaintiff. (Joint Status Report, Doc. 10 at 1-2).


Defendants bring this motion to compel Plaintiff's attendance at a deposition pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37.


In the motion, Defendants argue that on December 3, 2009, following a conversation with Plaintiff's counsel, they noticed Plaintiff's deposition for January 25, 2010. Defendants, believing Plaintiff resided in Redding based on the allegations in her complaint, noticed her deposition for Redding. On January 19, 2010, Plaintiff requested that the deposition be rescheduled to February, but did not object to the location. On January 20, 2010, Defendants re-noticed the deposition for February 8, 2010, again in Redding. On February 2, 2010, Plaintiff's attorney called and requested a change of location, closer to San Francisco. Defense counsel did not agree to the change of location, but did agree to discuss the issue further. That same afternoon, Defense counsel called back, but was able to connect with Plaintiff's counsel.

The following day (February 3, 2010), Defense counsel contacted Plaintiff's counsel about the possibility of conducting the deposition on February 9, 2010, in Sacramento, as Defense counsel would be there for another hearing. Plaintiff was unavailable on February 9, 2010, so no agreement was reached as to an alternate date or location.

On February 4, 2010, Defendants received a fax letter from Plaintiff indicating an agreement to hold the deposition in Williams. Defendants responded by fax that no agreement had been reached to hold the deposition in Williams, the original date had been moved at Plaintiff's request, Plaintiff did not previously object to the location, and Defendants were unwilling to alter the deposition date again or the location thereof. Plaintiff responded that they would not accept the February 8, 2010, deposition in Redding and requested Defendants re-notice for another date. Defendants state there was no further communication between counsel on this issue. Plaintiff did not appear for her February 8, 2010, deposition.

In addition, Defendants noticed the deposition of Plaintiff's doctors for February 25, 2010. Defendants state they wanted to conduct Plaintiff's deposition first, but given the approaching discovery deadline, they went ahead and scheduled the doctors' depositions. Plaintiff objected to the doctors' depositions, as to both date and location.

Defendants are requesting a 60 day extension of the discovery cutoff in order to complete the depositions. They are also requesting an order requiring Plaintiff to appear at a deposition in Redding and for sanctions. As to the location, Defendants argue the claim arose in Redding, Plaintiff alleges in her complaint that she resides in Redding, and it is the most convenient location. They argue there is no merit to Plaintiff's contention that the deposition should be conducted between Redding and San Francisco simply because counsel is located in San Francisco.

As for sanctions, Defense counsel is requesting four hours, at $150 per hour, for the preparation of the motion and ...

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