United States District Court, N.D. California
SHAUN A. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA, et al., Defendants.
DISCOVERY ORDER Re: Dkt. No. 62
MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge
Shaun Anderson (“Plaintiff”) and Defendants the
County of Contra Costa, Contra Costa Health Services
(“CCHS”), Contra Costa County Sheriff David O.
Livingston (“Livingston”), Dennis McBride, and
Adam Buck (collectively, “Defendants”) filed a
joint discovery letter concerning Livingston's
deposition. Letter, Dkt. No. 62. Having considered the
parties' positions, the relevant legal authority, and the
record in this case, the Court issues the following order.
February 2014, Plaintiff's father, Robert Anderson, was
booked into the Martinez Detention Facility (the
“Jail”). Compl. ¶ 14. On February 27, 2014,
Mr. Anderson was taken to the CCHS-operated Contra Costa
County Regional Medical Center (the “Medical
Center”), where he “reported chest pain, a
painful cough, shortness of breath, yellow sputum with
streaks of blood, nausea and a history of serious health
problems, including [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(„COPD')] and asthma.” Id. (internal
quotation marks and edits omitted). Mr. Anderson remained at
the Medical Center for seven days and “was diagnosed
with community-acquired pneumonia complicated by COPD,
chronic kidney disease, Hepatitis C infection, asthma and
coronary artery disease, among other diagnoses.”
Id. On March 6, 2014, the Medical Center discharged
Mr. Anderson back to the Jail under the care of the Contra
Costa County Sheriff's Office. Id. The Medical
Center provided “significant discharge medication and
medical care instructions (including the provision of
Symbicort, an inhaler used for the treatment of COPD).”
alleges the Jail failed to provide Mr. Anderson with
Symbicort per the Medical Center's instructions.
Id. ¶ 15. Mr. Anderson returned to the Medical
Center on March 17, 2014, where he reported chest pain and
significant pain when he breathed deeply. Id. The
Medical Center discharged Mr. Anderson the same day, noted
“he was not likely to get his Symbicort[, ]” and
instructed Mr. Anderson to follow up with the Jail's
physician. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
alleges the Jail's medical personnel still did not
provide Mr. Anderson with the necessary medication and did
not monitor his condition. On March 23, 2014, Mr. Anderson
was taken to the Medical Center after he fainted in his cell.
Id. ¶ 16. Medical personnel determined that he
fainted due to hypotension and that COPD exacerbation caused
his chest pain. Id. Lab results indicated an
elevated white blood cell count. Id. Medical Center
personnel did not determine whether Mr. Anderson continued to
suffer from a staph infection and/or pneumonia, but
discharged Mr. Anderson to the Jail on March 24, 2014.
Anderson was rushed to the Medical Center on March 30, 2014,
suffering from hypotension and complaining of chest pain.
Id. ¶ 19. Mr. Anderson reported the chest pain
started a few days before, while he was at the Jail.
Id. Mr. Anderson was diagnosed with septic shock due
to severe pneumonia. Id. He died at the Medical
Center on March 31, 2014. Id.
initiated this action on April 13, 2015. See Id. He
asserts three claims: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments; (2)
negligence/wrongful death; and (3) California Government Code
section 845.6. Id. ¶¶ 26-57. Plaintiff
sues Livingston in his individual capacity under a theory of
supervisory liability and his official capacity under a
theory of municipal liability. Id. ¶ 7; Letter
March 8, 2016, Plaintiff requested dates for several
depositions, including Livingston's. Letter at 2. On
September 19, 2016, Defendants objected to producing
Livingston on the ground that Livingston is an
“apex” employee or a high-ranking official.
Id. Defendants offered to allow Plaintiff to depose
a Rule 30(b)(6) witness in lieu of Livingston. Id.
at 3. Two days later, Plaintiff noticed Livingston's
deposition for October 19, 2016. Id. at 2.
Defendants maintained their objection. Id. at 3.
filed a Motion to Compel Livingston's deposition on
November 16, 2016. See Mot., Dkt. No. 53. The
presiding judge in this matter, the Honorable Richard
Seeborg, referred the Motion and all discovery-related
matters to the undersigned on December 2, 2016. Dkt. No. 55.
On December 5, 2016, the undersigned denied the Motion
without prejudice pending the filing of a joint letter. Dkt.
No. 56. The parties filed this Letter on March 6,
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides that a party may obtain
discovery “regarding any nonprivileged matter that is
relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional
to the needs of the case[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
Factors to consider include “the importance of the
issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the
parties' relative access to relevant information, the
parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in
resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of
the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.”
Id. Discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable. Id. However, “[t]he parties
and the court have a collective responsibility to consider
the proportionality of all discovery and consider it in
resolving discovery disputes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory
committee notes (2015 amendments). Thus, there is “a
shared responsibility on all the parties to consider the
factors bearing on proportionality before propounding
discovery requests, issuing responses and objections, or
raising discovery disputes before the courts.”
Salazar v. McDonald's Corp., 2016 WL 736213, at
*2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2016); Goes Int'l, AB v. Dodur
Ltd., 2016 WL 427369, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 4, 2016)
(citing advisory committee notes for proposition that parties
share a “collective responsibility” to consider
proportionality and requiring that “[b]oth parties . .
. tailor their efforts to the needs of th[e] case”).
26(c) “confers broad discretion on the trial court to
decide when a protective order is appropriate and what degree
of protection is required.” Seattle Times Co. v.
Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36 (1984). “The court may,
for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person
from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense, ” including by (1) prohibiting disclosure or
discovery; (2) conditioning disclosure or discovery on
specified terms; (3) ...