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General Electric Company v. Thomas Wilkins

January 20, 2011

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMAS WILKINS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S

(Doc. 112)

I. INTRODUCTION.

Plaintiff General Electric Company("Plaintiff") proceeds with an action against Defendant Thomas Wilkins ("Defendant") for damages and injunctive relief.

On October 18, 2010, during a hearing on Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, the court orally ruled that Defendant was precluded from offering his own testimony in opposition to Plaitniff's motion due to Defendant's obstructive conduct at his court-ordered deposition. (Doc. 88 at 2).

On November 30, 2010, Defendant filed a document entitled "Reservation of Rights Brief as Requested by Court on October 18, 2010 and Request for Reconsideration" ("Defendant's November 30 Brief"), as well as a declaration signed by Defendant. (Doc. 112). *fn1 Defendant's November 30 Brief asks the court to reconsider its decision to bar Defendant from offering testimony in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction.

Plaintiff filed opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration on December 3, 2010. (Doc. 118). Defendant filed a reply to Plaintiff's opposition on December 14, 2010. (Doc. 123).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

On October 5, 2010, the court ordered that certain witnesses be deposed regarding the issues raised by Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. (Doc. 55). Defendant Thomas Alexander Wilkins was one of the witnesses subject to the court's October 5 order. Due to the parties inability to agree on logistics, on October 12, 2010, Defendant appeared at the United States District Court in Fresno for his deposition, accompanied by his attorney. Defendant identified himself as "Thomas Alexander Wilkins on behalf of Thomas Wilkins." (Doc. 99, Ex. B at 5)(emphasis added). When the court reporter attempted to administer the standard witness' oath *fn2 to Defendant, Defendant responded by asking the deposition reporter and videographer to agree to "full commercial liability." The following exchange took place:

Reporter Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Defendant Without prejudice and a full reservation of rights, I will hold all parties here, all agents and groups of agents, in their full commercial liability, including you. What is your name and who do you work for? What is your name and who do you work for. Reporter I'm not here to answer questions. I'm just swearing you in, doing my job.

Defendant Okay. Are you the court reporter?

Reporter: Yes.

Defendant Okay. Do you agree to do your job under full commercial liability?

Reporter Yes Defendant Thank you. Do you agree to do your job under your full commercial liability? And please state your name.

Videographer I do. Dillon Wasserman.

Defendant Thank you Dillon.

Mr. Hanlon Mr. Wilkins, you're here to give a deposition pursuant to court orders. I don't have to make any agreements to you to proceed with that deposition, and I decline to do so.

Defendant Are you referring to me?

Mr. Hanlon I am referring to you, sir. How would you like me ...


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