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Banga v. Kanios

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 19, 2019

NAVJEET SINGH BANGA, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS GUS KANIOS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON DISCOVERY LETTER BRIEFS RE: DKT. NOS. 253, 254

          Donna M. Ryu, United States Magistrate Judge

         Pro se Plaintiff Navjeet Singh Banga filed a unilateral discovery letter brief on December 9, 2019. [Docket No. 253.] Defendants filed a unilateral discovery letter brief in response. [Docket No. 254.] The issues raised in the parties’ letters are suitable for resolution without a hearing. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b).

         I. BACKGROUND

         The issues raised in the parties’ unilateral discovery letter briefs overlap with the court’s orders in three discovery hearings held in November and December 2019. Accordingly, the following is a summary of the relevant portions of those orders.

         The court held a discovery hearing on November 26, 2019 on the parties’ unilateral discovery letter briefs regarding their disputes about deposition scheduling and the subjects for Plaintiff’s Rule 30(b)(6) depositions of Defendants National University and John F. Kennedy University (“JFKU”). [See Docket Nos. 238, 243, 246, 248 (Nov. 26 Minute Order).] At the hearing, the court ordered Plaintiff and defense counsel to appear in person at the Oakland courthouse on December 4, 2019 to meet and confer regarding Plaintiff’s depositions of National University and JFKU, and ordered Plaintiff to “identify the subjects for these depositions with sufficient particularity so that Defendants may identify the relevant individuals to testify.” Nov. 26 Minute Order. Given the approaching December 6, 2019 discovery cutoff, and noting that Plaintiff was responsible in part for the delays in scheduling the depositions and that he should have been deposed “months ago,” the court also set a schedule for Plaintiff’s deposition and the depositions of five defense witnesses. In relevant part, the court ordered Plaintiff’s depositions of Defendants Gus Kanios, Dean Barbieri, Eleanor Armstrong, Debra Bean, and defense witness Doreen Alfaro to take place on separate days on the following dates: December 6, 9, 10, 11, and 13, 2019. The court ordered the parties to “make their best efforts to have both the individual and [person most knowledgeable, “PMK”] portions of the depositions of these witnesses occur on the designated date for each witness.” Id. Finally, the court noted that the discovery cutoff was December 6, 2019, which was less than two weeks away, and that the Honorable Richard Seeborg had authorized her to extend the deadline for limited purposes as appropriate. Therefore, the court extended the December 6, 2019 discovery cutoff “solely for the purpose of completing the depositions of these five individuals in their individual and PMK capacities.” Id.

         On December 4, 2019, the court held an emergency discovery hearing during the parties’ court-ordered meet and confer regarding the Rule 30(b)(6) depositions of National University and JFKU. [Docket No. 250 (Dec. 4 Minute Order).] At the hearing, the court granted Defendant Debra Bean permission to appear by telephone for her deposition on December 6, 2019, and ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding the locations of the depositions of the remaining witnesses. The court also ordered that the depositions must take place within the Northern District of California. Finally, after Plaintiff stated that there were outstanding disputes about his Rule 30(b)(6) deposition topics, the court ordered the parties to file any joint letter regarding that subject by December 9, 2019. Id.

         The court held a third discovery hearing on December 5, 2019 on two joint discovery letter briefs and Plaintiff’s motion to quash various subpoenas. [Docket No. 252 (Dec. 5 Minute Order).] In relevant part, the court granted in part Plaintiff’s motion to quash Defendants’ subpoena to South of Market Mental Health for Plaintiff’s mental health records. The court granted Defendants leave to enforce their subpoena for the time period January 1, 2015 to the present, “as Plaintiff has placed his mental condition at issue in this litigation with respect to both his claimed disability and his claim for emotional distress.” Id.

         On December 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed the present unilateral discovery letter brief in which he challenges the court’s ruling on his motion to quash; lists nine topics for his Rule 30(b)(6) depositions of National University and JFKU; and requests permission to notice Defendant Bean’s deposition. [Docket No. 253 (Pl.’s Letter).] Defendants filed a response on December 10, 2019. [Docket No. 254 (Defs.’ Letter).] The court addresses each issue in turn.

         II. SUBPOENA FOR MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS

         Plaintiff first takes issue with the court’s December 5, 2019 ruling on his motion to quash Defendants’ subpoena for his mental health records, arguing that he “should not be compelled to release [his] psyche [sic] record because [his] mental condition is not at issue.” Pl.’s Letter 1. He also argues that Defendants should not have access to his medical records “to re-determine whether [he] was a qualified disabled individual.” Id. These arguments amount to an improper request for reconsideration of the court’s order. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-9, a party may seek leave to file a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order at any time before judgment. Civ. L.R. 7-9(a). A motion for reconsideration may be made on one of three grounds: (1) a material difference in fact or law exists from that which was presented to the court, which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, the party applying for reconsideration did not know at the time of the order for which reconsideration is sought; (2) the emergence of new material facts or a change of law; or (3) a manifest failure by the court to consider material facts or dispositive legal arguments presented before such order. Civ. L.R. 7-9(b)(1)-(3). The moving party may not reargue any written or oral argument previously asserted to the court. Civ. L.R. 7-9(c).

         Here, Plaintiff has not requested leave to file a motion for reconsideration of the court’s December 5, 2019 order. He also has not shown that any of the three grounds for reconsideration are present, and instead re-argues the merits of his motion to quash. Accordingly, his request for reconsideration is denied.

         III. RULE 30(B)(6) DEPOSITION TOPICS

         Plaintiff next lists nine topics for his Rule 30(b)(6) depositions of National University and JFKU. Pl.’s Letter 2. He does not describe the status of the parties’ meet and confer on this subject or explain whether there is any remaining dispute(s) regarding the topics.

         In response, defense counsel states that Plaintiff failed to meet and confer about the topics, and that after she “made several suggestions as to how the categories could be rephrased to be comprehensible,” Plaintiff told her that “he could not agree to anything on December 4 and ‘needed to think about it.’” Defs.’ Letter 1. Defense counsel states that she advised that “‘today is the day’ to make the decisions,” but that Plaintiff refused to make decisions or agree to categories. Id. According to defense counsel, Plaintiff first sent her the list of topics at ...


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