United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA; DENYING AS
MOOT MOTION TELEPHONIC APPEARANCE AND FOR PERMISSION FOR
ELECTRONIC CASE FILING Re: Dkt. Nos. 87, 89, 90
William H. Orrick United States District Judge
Michael Singer moves to quash a subpoena issued by plaintiff
Genus Lifesciences Inc. (“Genus”) to produce
documents relating to Singer's former employment with
defendant Lannett Company Inc. (“Lannett”).
Singer requests that the subpoena be quashed because it would
result in a significant expense, could subject him to
sanctions from Lannett for producing privileged or
confidential information, and is unduly burdensome because
the requested documents are also in Lannett's possession.
Genus has not requested the documents from Lannett. I agree
with Singer, particularly regarding the burden Genus seeks to
impose on him before seeking the same documents from a party
to the litigation, and GRANT his motion to quash. His
subsequent motions for telephonic appearance and permission
for electronic case filing are DENIED as moot.
sued defendants, competitors in the market of cocaine
hydrochloride nasal spray, for falsely advertising, marketing
and promoting their product and unfairly competing with it in
ways that violate the law. See First Amended
Complaint [Dkt. No. 54]. On September 12, 2019, Genus served
a document subpoena on non-party Michael Singer, a former
salesperson for defendant Lannett who specialized in
marketing and selling Lannett's products. See
Declaration of Jason N. Haycock in Support of Plaintiff Genus
Lifesciences Inc.'s Response to Michael Singer's
Motion to Quash Subpoena or for Protective Order
(“Haycock Decl.”) [Dkt. No. 93] ¶ 3 &
Ex. 1 (copy of document subpoena served on Michael Singer).
back and forth between the parties, as detailed below, Singer
filed this motion to quash subpoena and/or for a protective
order. See Notice of Motion and Motion to Quash
Subpoena and for Protective Order and Memorandum of Points
and Authorities in Support of Motion for Protective Order
(“Mot.”) [Dkt. No. 87]. Although his motion was
not noticed for a hearing date, Singer requests telephonic
appearance. Dkt. No. 89. Because Singer is proceeding pro
se, he also seeks permission for electronic case filing.
See Dkt. No. 90.
responded to Singer's motion on October 29, 2019.
See Plaintiff Genus Lifesciences, Inc.'s Brief
in Response to Michael Singer's Motion to Quash or for
Protective Order (“Oppo.”) [Dkt. No. 92]. Lannett
has not filed a response to this motion.
document subpoena requests three categories of documents: (i)
agreements Singer has, or had in the past, with Lannett,
including employment agreement(s); (ii) promotional
literature, advertisements, and training materials related to
cocaine hydrochloride; and (iii) communications with Lannett,
doctors, pharmacists, surgery centers, or other customers
related to cocaine hydrochloride. Haycock Decl., Ex. 1.
September 24, 2019, Singer acknowledged receipt of the
subpoena and proposed a plan to respond. See Haycock
Decl., Ex. 2 (copy of letter from Singer to Genus); Affidavit
of Michael Singer Regarding Motion for Protective Order [Dkt.
No. 88], Ex. 1 (same). Singer proposed that he would review
his files, make a list of documents in his possession, and
then submit the list to Genus and Lannett. Id. He
requested that Genus and Lannett review the list to determine
which documents should be produced under the Protective
Order. Id. He requested $0.45 per copy and $250 per
hour for his time. Id.
September 28, 2019, Genus responded, providing Singer with
more time to comply with the document subpoena, agreeing to
compensate him up to $500 in photocopying costs and $1, 000
for his time, and offering to designate all produced
documents as “Highly Confidential” under the
Protective Order so as to avoid any issue about
confidentiality. See Haycock Decl., Ex. 3.
September 30, 2019, Singer told Genus he was afraid that
Lannett would sue him if he produced the documents in his
possession, and reiterated his initial proposal to provide a
list of documents to Genus and Lannett so that they could
determine what should be produced. Id., Ex. 4.
Singer also expressed concerns about Genus's
reimbursement caps, stating that “If you cap it, then I
will work to the time of the caps and then stop.”
October 2, 2019, Lannett informed Genus and Singer that the
documents in Singer's possession “may implicate
Lannett's attorney-client (or other) privilege.”
Haycock Decl., ¶ 7 & Ex. 5. Lannett demanded that it
review the documents prior to production “to ensure
that privileged documents are not produced.”
Id. Lannett suggested that Genus instruct Singer
“to provide all potentially responsive documents to
Lannett's counsel, ” and then Lannett ...