The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Mitchell D. Dembin U.S. Magistrate Judge
ORDER ON JOINT MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF DISCOVERY DISPUTE RE: EXECUTIVE DEPOSITIONS
[ECF NO. 180]
This case arises from Plaintiff Moyle's former employment with Golden Eagle Insurance Company and later with Liberty Mutual Insurance, which acquired Golden Eagle in 1997. Plaintiff was employed by Golden Eagle in 1988 and was discharged by Liberty Mutual in 2002. In this lawsuit, among other things, Plaintiff asserts that he was misled regarding the extent to which his service at Golden Eagle would be attributed to Liberty Mutual and has sued for improperly withheld benefits.
Before the Court is a joint motion of the parties for the determination of a discovery dispute. The motion was filed on October 23, 2012. (ECF No. 180). Plaintiffs seek to depose four of Defendant's current and former executive officers: David Long, the current Chief Executive Officer and President of Liberty Mutual; Tim Sweeney, the current Executive Vice President of Liberty Mutual; Geoff Hunt a former Executive Vice President of Liberty Mutual; and Ray Mundt, a former
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member of the Liberty Mutual Board of Directors and member of that board's Compensation Committee. Plaintiffs have noticed the depositions of Long, Sweeney and Hunt and have stated their intention to notice the deposition of Mundt. Defendants claim the depositions are inappropriate because: (1) the executives Plaintiffs want to depose are protected by the "apex doctrine;" and, (2) Plaintiff will exceed the 10 deposition limit of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(a)(2).
David Long is the current Chief Executive Officer and President of Liberty Mutual Insurance. In 1997, Mr. Long was a member of the Board of Directors of Golden Eagle. Golden Eagle then-CEO Fred Marziano, who gave deposition testimony in this case, described Mr. Long as his "right-hand man." Citing to other deposition testimony, Plaintiff claims that Mr. Long "had discussions with other executives at Liberty Mutual specifically about whether or not the transitioning Golden Eagle employees would be credited with their prior years of service for the purpose of benefit accrual under the retirement plan." Plaintiff further claims that "Mr. Long also knew that Golden Eagle employees were under (the apparently mistaken) impression that they would receive credit for the purposes of accrual, yet for reasons that Mr. Long can perhaps elaborate on, those misconceptions were never clarified."
Defendant claims that Mr. Long's participation in the Golden Eagle transaction is not relevant to the instant action, that Mr. Long lacks personal knowledge relevant to the instant action, and that less burdensome means of discovery have not been exhausted.
Tim Sweeney is the current Executive Vice President of Liberty Mutual Insurance and the President of Liberty Mutual's Personal Insurance division. In 1997, Mr. Sweeney worked under Mr. Long and Mr. Marziano.
Plaintiffs, again relying upon deposition testimony obtained in this case, contend that, like Mr. Long, Mr. Sweeney had discussions with his colleagues relating to Golden Eagle employee benefits and "knew there was confusion about what credits would be offered, yet failed to address it." Plaintiff's claim that Mr. Sweeney helped Mr. Marziano interpret and understand the terms of the 1997 Rehabilitation Agreement that Plaintiff's believe is a key document in the instant action. Plaintiff claims that Mr. Sweeney worked directly on documents analyzing Golden Eagle's employee staffing and benefits. Plaintiff also claims that Mr. Sweeney was directly involved in an August 1997 meeting explaining how employee benefits would be effected by the Liberty Mutual transaction.
Defendant claims that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that Mr. Sweeney had any involvement related to pension benefits in the 1997 transaction, that even if he had involvement such involvement is irrelevant, and that Plaintiff has not ...