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Olivas v. Whitford

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 11, 2014

OSCAR OLIVAS, Petitioner,
v.
BILLY WHITFORD, Port Director of Calexico West Port of Entry, Customs and Border Patrol, PETE FLORES, Director of Field Operations, San Diego Field Office, Customs and Border Protection, R. GIL KERLIKOWSKE, Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security, AND JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State Respondents.

ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO COMPEL [ECF NOS. 57 & 58]

BARBARA L. MAJOR, Magistrate Judge.

Currently before the Court is Petitioner's November 14, 2014 Motion to Compel [ECF No.58-1 ("MTC")], Respondent's November 21, 2014 opposition to the motion [ECF No. 60 ("MTC Oppo.")], and Petitioner's November 25, 2014 reply [ECF No. 61 ("MTC Reply")].

Also before the Court is Respondents' November 14, 2014 Motion for Protective Order [ECF No. 57 ("PO Mot.")], Petitioner's November 21, 2014 opposition to the motion [ECF No. 59 ("PO Oppo.")], and Respondents' November 25, 2014 reply [ECF No. 62 ("PO Reply")].

For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's Motion to Compel is DENIED and Respondents' Motion for Protective Order is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

The above-entitled matter was initiated on June 12, 2014 when Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus and complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. ECF No. 1 ("Pet."). In his petition, Petitioner alleges that he is a natural born United States citizen who was unlawfully exiled to Mexico approximately three years ago. Id. at 1-2. Petitioner is seeking judicial relief to ensure his return to the United States. Id. at 4. On June 12, 2014, Petitioner filed an "Application for Issuance of Order to Show Cause Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243." ECF No. 3. On June 16, 2014, United States District Judge William Q. Hayes issued an order requiring Respondents to show cause why Petitioner's petition should not be granted. ECF No. 5. On July 8, 2014, Respondents filed a "Return to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus" arguing that (1) this Court lacks habeas jurisdiction as Petitioner is not in custody, cannot name a proper Respondent, and has failed to state a constitutional violation, (2) Petitioner should have invoked 8 U.S.C. § 1503 for consideration of his claim of citizenship, (3) the declaratory relief Petitioner seeks is not available here, and (4) the Court does not have jurisdiction "to enjoin denial of admission or detention." ECF No. 12. Petitioner filed a traverse on July 22, 2014 [ECF No. 15], Respondents filed a sur-reply on August 5, 2014 [ECF No. 16], and Petitioner filed a reply to the sur-reply on August 12, 2014. ECF No. 21.

On August 12, 2014, Respondents filed a "motion to dismiss complaint and drop parties." ECF No. 22. Respondents argue that the "complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because P[etitioner] has not stated a waiver of sovereign immunity" and that if the complaint is dismissed, the Secretary of State, Director of Homeland Security, and the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should be dropped as parties to the case as they would not be properly named habeas respondents. Id. at 1-2. Petitioner opposed the motion on September 12, 2014 [ECF No. 31], Respondents replied on September 19, 2014 [ECF No. 33], Petitioner filed a sur-reply on September 25, 2014 [ECF No. 36], and Respondents filed a reply to the sur-reply on October 23, 2014 [ECF No. 41].

The Court held a telephonic Case Management Conference ("CMC") on August 21, 2014 and granted Respondents permission to file a supplemental answer to the petition for writ of habeas corpus. ECF No. 27. On August 29, 2014, Respondents filed their supplemental response to the petition and the Court issued a Case Management Order Regulating Discovery. ECF Nos. 29 and 30.

On November 4, 2014, counsel for the parties jointly contacted the Court regarding a discovery dispute. In regard to the dispute, the Court ordered that Petitioner file his motion to compel and Respondents file their motion for a protective order on or before November 7, 2014, oppositions to the motions be filed on or before November 14, 2014, and replies to the oppositions, if any, be filed on or before November 18, 2014. ECF No. 49. On November 7, 2014, the parties filed a joint motion to continue the dates by one week. ECF No. 53. The motion was granted that same day. ECF No. 54. In accordance with the Court's briefing schedule, the parties timely filed their respective motions and responses.

On November 5, 2014, Respondents filed a supplemental motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and to dismiss the action against the Secretary of State for improper venue. ECF No. 48. Petitioner opposed the motion on November 5, 2014 and Respondents replied on November 13, 2014. ECF Nos. 51 & 56.

PETITIONER'S MOTION TO COMPEL

Petitioner's motion to compel concerns Respondents alleged failure to adequately respond to Petitioner's First Set of Requests for Production ("RFPs") that were served on Respondent Customs and Border Protection's ("CBP") on September 19, 2014 and the alleged failure of CBP and Department of State ("DOS") to produce witnesses pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("FRCP") 30(b)(6) in response to Petitioner's September 25, 2014 notices of deposition. MTC at 3. In response to the discovery requests, Respondent CBP objected stating that the RFPs were "irrelevant, overbroad, unduly burdensome to produce, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, " and that CBP and DOS "are not required to produce 30(b)(6) deponents" as their testimony could only be relevant to Petitioner's constitutional claims. Id.

Petitioner motions the Court for an order requiring Respondents to "(a) produce documents; (b) permit fact witnesses to give testimony; and (c) designate 30(b)(6) deponents regarding the disputed policies and procedures." Id. at 3. Petitioner argues that the motion is necessary because Respondents have failed to produce responsive discovery such as "documents and deposition testimony concerning policies and procedures related to Defendant Customs and Border Protection's ("CBP") processing of citizenship claims and certain applicants for admission at the border, and (2) the designation of person(s) most knowledgeable pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6)." Id. at 2. In support, Petitioner argues that his discovery requests seek information reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id. at 4. Specifically, Petitioner argues that RFPs 3-5 and 10-12 and the 30(b)(6) deposition testimony are relevant to his claim regarding the violation of his Fifth Amendment due process rights. Id. at 5-6. The discovery seeks information regarding policies and procedures for processing (1) claims of U.S. citizenship at the border, (2) notices to appear for individuals who are refused entry into the US, (3) expedited removals involving claims to U.S. citizenship and expedited removal quotas, and (4) the release of individuals into Mexico without effectuating an expedited removal order on a Notice to Appear. Id. at 6.

In further support, Petitioner argues that it is appropriate for discovery to simultaneously proceed on both his habeas and constitutional claims. Id. at 4. Specifically, Petitioner argues that discovery on his constitutional claims should not be stayed pending resolution of Respondents' motion to dismiss because the motion only seeks to dismiss some of Petitioner's claim and, because many of the deponents at issue have information relevant to both Petitioner's habeas and constitutional claims and a stay will only result in a duplication of discovery efforts. Id. at 5. Finally, Petitioner argues that the propounded discovery is not "special or unduly burdensome" and that since the Court has assumed ...


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