United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' OPENING MEMORANDUM REGARDING DISCOVERY DISPUTES [DOC. NO. 355]
WILLIAM V. GALLO, Magistrate Judge.
On November 7, 2014, Plaintiffs filed an Opening Memorandum Regarding Discovery Disputes. (Doc. No. 355.) On November 17, 2014, Defendants filed a Response. (Doc. No. 357.) On November 19, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., the Court held a telephonic Discovery Conference in this case, and a Case Management Conference ("CMC") in the related case of Cohen v. Trump, 13-CV-2519-GPC-WVG. Mr. Jason Forge, Ms. Rachel Jensen, and Ms. Amber Eck participated on behalf of Plaintiffs, and Ms. Nancy Stagg, Mr. Benjamin Morris, and Ms. Jill Martin participated on behalf of Defendants.
II. PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST TO RE-DEPOSE DEFENDANT TRUMP AND MR. SEXTON
A. PLAINTIFFS' ARGUMENT
In 2012, Plaintiffs deposed Defendant Donald Trump ("Defendant Trump") and Mr. Michael Sexton ("Mr. Sexton"), the former President of Trump University. Plaintiffs now seek to re-depose Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton. Plaintiffs argue that before they took these depositions, they requested relevant documents, but Defendants did not produce key documents until after the depositions. (Doc. No. 355 at 5.) Plaintiffs also claim that, to date, Defendants have failed to produce some of the most critical evidence. (Doc. No. 355 at 5.) Plaintiffs assert that they are entitled to question Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton about the subject matter of these later-produced documents and other recent evidence. (Doc. No. 355 at 5.)
Plaintiffs also claim that Mr. Sexton previously testified in his capacity as a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 30(b)(6) witness on behalf of Defendant Trump University, LLC, and they now seek to depose him in his Rule 30(b)(1) personal capacity, or alternatively, to continue his deposition for good cause. (Doc. No. 355 at 13-14.) They argue that good cause exists to re-open his deposition because of the key documents and other evidence requested prior to Mr. Sexton's deposition that were not produced until after his deposition. (Doc. No. 355 at 18.) They also claim that Mr. Sexton submitted a declaration after his deposition that contradicted his earlier deposition testimony, and that they are entitled to cross-examine him on his later-filed declaration. (Doc. No. 355 at 18.)
Plaintiffs argue that they only deposed Defendant Trump on the record for 3 hours and 19 minutes, and they now request to depose him for the balance of their 7 hour time limit. (Doc. No. 355 at 3.) Moreover, Plaintiffs seek 4 hours to examine Mr. Sexton in his personal capacity. (Doc. No. 355 at 15.) Plaintiffs state that they are willing to conduct both depositions on dates and in locations convenient to the deponents to minimize the burden. (Doc. No. 355 at 15-16.)
Plaintiffs argue that, considering the importance of the issues at stake in this action, the amount in controversy, and the needs of the case, the burden on Defendant Trump to sit for the balance of his 7 hours does not outweigh the benefit. (Doc. No. 355 at 16-17.) They also contend that, in light of Defendants' failure to timely produce key documents, it would be manifestly unfair to deprive Plaintiffs of the opportunity to examine Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton as to the evidence that was not produced until after their depositions. (Doc. No. 355 at 13; 15-16, 18.)
B. DEFENDANTS' ARGUMENT
Defendants argue that more than two years after deposing Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton, and just weeks before the extended discovery deadline, Plaintiffs for the first time seek an order allowing them to reopen these depositions. (Doc. No. 357 at 3.) Defendants also argue that Plaintiffs did not inform the Court or Defendants of their intention to re-depose Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton when they requested an extension to the previously scheduled discovery deadline of November 7, 2014. (Doc. No. 357 at 14.) Instead, Defendants contend, Plaintiffs represented to the Court and Defendants that the purpose of the requested discovery extension was so that Plaintiffs could take 10 specifically identified depositions, not to reopen the depositions of Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton. (Doc. No. 357 at 14.)
Defendants contend that it was Plaintiffs' decision to depose Defendant Trump and Mr. Sexton in August and September of 2012. (Doc. No. 357 at 9.) They assert that Plaintiffs were provided with the opportunity to conduct full and fair examinations. (Doc. No. 357 at 9.) Defendants also argue that Plaintiffs took Mr. Sexton's deposition in his personal capacity, and therefore they should not be permitted to re-open his deposition. (Doc. No. 357 at 14.)
1. REQUEST IS NOT ...