United States District Court, N.D. California
ROBERT C. K. PENG, Plaintiff,
NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO., Defendant.
ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE RE: DKT. NOS. 25, 26,
ILLSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
insurance action, plaintiff Robert C. K. Peng alleges claims
for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good
faith and fair dealing against defendant Northwestern Mutual
Life Insurance Company for its handling of his claims for
benefits under three “regular occupation”
disability insurance policies. Amended Complaint (Dkt. No.
12). Plaintiff seeks inter alia an award of past
disability benefits, future disability benefits until his
policies terminate, and emotional distress damages. Dkt. No.
24-1 at 5-6. Among other affirmative defenses, defendant
alleges that plaintiff “fraudulently misrepresented and
or concealed material information in his application for the
insurance coverage issued by Northwestern Mutual such that
the coverage is subject to rescission.” Answer (Dkt.
No. 17). Specifically, defendant claims that plaintiff
“denied any psychiatric diagnosis and any mental health
treatment in the past ten years” on his February 8,
1996 application for a disability insurance policy. Dkt. No.
26-1 at 2-4.
before the Court is the parties' first discovery dispute,
which was discussed during the July 7, 2017 case management
conference. Dkt. Nos. 25, 26, 27. Plaintiff seeks to quash or
modify several subpoenas served by defendant on non-party
Kaiser Permanente. Dkt. No. 25. According to the parties,
these subpoenas seek “all psychiatric documents,
” “all psychological, psychotherapy and/or
counseling records, ” “all medical records,
” “all medication and prescription records,
” “all communications, ” and “billing
and payment records” related to plaintiff from
“January 1, 2012 to the present, ” and
“from on or prior to February 8, 1996.” Dkt. No.
25 at 2; Dkt. No. 26-1 at 1.
discovery is ordinarily ‘accorded a broad and liberal
treatment.'” Shoen v. Shoen, 5 F.3d 1289,
1292 (9th Cir. 1993). “Parties 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 . . . . Information within this scope of discovery
need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). A court must limit the scope of
(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or
duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that
is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;
(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to
obtain the information by discovery in the action; or
(iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted
by Rule 26(b)(1).
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(a)(1)(C), a party may
serve upon a non-party a subpoena, commanding the non-party
to produce documents. Upon receipt of the subpoena, the
non-party may file a motion to quash or modify the subpoena
with the issuing court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3); S.E.C. v.
CMKM Diamonds, Inc., 656 F.3d 829, 832 (9th Cir. 2011).
“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.”
Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc., 717 F.Supp.2d
965, 973 (C.D. Cal. 2010). Under Rule 45(d)(3), the district
court must quash or modify a subpoena that:
(i) fails to allow a reasonable time to comply;
(ii) requires a person to comply beyond the geographical
limits specified in Rule 45(c);
(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). The party seeking to quash a
subpoena bears the “burden of persuasion.” In
re Apple Inc., No. 12-mc-80013 JW, 2012 WL 1570043, at
*1 (N.D. Cal. May 2, 2012); Moon v. SCP ...