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Stein v. Tri-City Healthcare District

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 6, 2014

STEVEN D. STEIN, Plaintiff,
v.
TRI-CITY HEALTHCARE DISTRICT, a California healthcare district, LARRY B. ANDERSON, an individual, Defendants.

ORDER

EDMUND F. BRENNAN, Magistrate Judge.

On April 29, 2014, plaintiff filed a motion to quash a subpoena issued from this court by counsel for defendant Tri-City Healthcare District. ECF No. 1. Defendant Tri-City Healthcare District ("defendant") opposes the motion. ECF No. 3. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion to quash is denied.

I. Background

Plaintiff filed a wrongful termination action against defendants Tri-City Healthcare District and Larry Anderson in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on October 17, 2012. See Stein v. TCHD, Case No. 12-cv-2524-BTM-BGS. On November 18, 2013, the assigned magistrate judge issued a Case Management Conference Order Regulating Discovery and Other Pretrial Proceedings ("CMC Order"). Pl.'s Mot. to Quash, Ex. D. That order provided that:

All fact discovery shall be completed on or before March 31, 2014. " Completed " means that all discovery under Rules 30-36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and discovery subpoenas under Rule 45 must be initiated a sufficient period of time in advance of the cut-off date, so that it may be completed by the cut-off date, taking into account the times for services, notice, and responses as set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."

Id. at Ex. D (emphasis in original). The order further provided that all expert discovery was to be completed by March 31, 2014. Id.

After an initial amendment to the CMC Order, on March 25, 2014, the assigned magistrate judge issued a second amended CMC Order, which set the cut-off date for fact discovery for April 30, 2014, and expert discovery for May 30, 2014. Id. at Ex. F. On April 21, 2014, defendant's counsel served a subpoena on the custodian of records for the California Employment Development Department ("EDD"). Id. at Ex. A. The subpoena requested "[a]ny and all records regarding Steven D. Stein's claim for state disability benefits, including all unemployment and state disability insurance records, job service records, and wages reported by quarter." Id. Responsive documents were to be produced in West Sacramento on May 8, 2014. Id.

Plaintiff now moves to quash the subpoena, arguing that it was improperly issued by the wrong court and that it violates the April 30, 2014 amended CMC Order. ECF No. 1-1 at 1.

II. Discussion

As set forth in the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 26(b)(1), "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense.... Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Relevancy has been construed broadly to "encompass any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978) (citing Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501 (1947)).

Under Rule 45, any party may serve a subpoena on a non-party commanding the production of designated documents for inspection. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(a)(1)(A)(iii). Effective December 1, 2013, Rule 45 was amended to require a subpoena to be issued "from the court where the action is pending." Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(a)(2). However, the rule, as amended, still rests authority to quash or modify a subpoena to the court for the district where compliance is required. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3). "On timely motion, the court for the district where compliance is required must quash or modify a subpoena that: fails to allow a reasonable time to comply; (ii) requires a [non-party to travel more than 100 miles]; (iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no exception or waiver applies; or (iv) subjects a person to undue burden." Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(A). Further, Rule 45(d)(3)(B) provides that "[t]o protect a person subject to or affected by a subpoena, the court for the district where compliance is required may, on motion, quash or modify the subpoena if it requires: (1) disclosing a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information, or; (ii) disclosing an unretained expert's opinion or information...."

Defendant argues that plaintiff's motion to quash should be denied because (1) plaintiff does not have standing to quash the subpoena, (2) plaintiff failed to meet and confer prior to filing the instant motion, and (3) the subpoena does not violate the amended CMC Order. ECF No. 3 at 2-4.

A party has standing to challenge a subpoena served on a third party, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(c)(3), based on a claim that the subpoena infringes upon the movant's legitimate and privileged interests. United States v. Tomison, 969 F.Supp. 587, 596 (E.D. Cal. 1997) (citations omitted); Moon v. SCP Pool Corp., 232 F.R.D. 633, 636 (C.D. Cal. 2005); see also 9A Charles Wright & Arthur Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, ยง 2459 (3d ed. 2010) ("Ordinarily a party has no standing to seek to quash a subpoena issued to someone who is not a party to the action, unless the objecting party claims some personal right or privilege with regard to the documents sought."). "Since standing goes to the jurisdiction of the court, [plaintiff], as the party attempting to invoke the court's jurisdiction, has the burden of demonstrating that [he] has standing." Tomison, 969 F.Supp. at 596 (citing KVOS, Inc. v. Associated Press, 299 U.S. 269, 278 (1936)).

Here, plaintiff has failed to show that he has standing to challenge the subpoena. His only grounds for moving to quash the subpoena are that (1) the subpoena should have been issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, rather than by this court, and (2) that the subpoena seeks discovery in violation of the amended CMC Order. Pl.'s Mot. to Quash at 1. Plaintiff has merely identified procedural defects in the subpoena; he has not raised a personal interest or privilege regarding the documents sought. Therefore, plaintiff has failed to show that he has standing to quash the subpoena.[1] Accordingly, plaintiff's motion is denied.[2]

III. Conclusion

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's motion to quash, ECF No. 1, is denied; and

2. The Clerk is directed to close this miscellaneous action.


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