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Jackson v. Gogel

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington

May 29, 2015

J. RANDY JACKSON, Movant,
v.
ANDREA GOGEL, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

DAVID L. BUNNING, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge J. Gregory Wehrman's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. # 16), wherein he recommends that Movant J. Randy Jackson's Motion to Quash Subpoena (Doc. # 1) be denied. Jackson having filed specific Objections (Doc. # 19) thereto, Respondent Andrea Gogel having responded (Doc. # 22), and the Court having conducted an in camera review[1] of the subpoenaed documents, this matter is now ripe for review. For reasons set forth herein, Jackson's Objections are sustained in part and overruled in part and Judge Wehrman's R&R is adopted in part and rejected in part.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Gogel is currently pursuing a Title VII discrimination and retaliation action against her employer, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. ("Kia"), in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. (Doc. # 15-1). Gogel alleges, inter alia, that Kia failed to promote her to a Head of Department position because she was American and female and later retaliated against her for filing complaints. (Doc. # 13-1). Jackson, who served as Gogel's supervisor at Kia, is not a party to that action. ( Id. ). However, he is implicated in several of the underlying factual allegations. ( Id. ).

During discovery, Gogel suggested that Kia include several explicit search terms in their e-discovery process. (Doc. # 1-4 at 19-20). She explained that she had reason to believe such explicit terms would appear in e-mails: "For example, we are aware that Randy Jackson circulated offensive pornographic materials on his computer" while employed with Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. ("Toyota").[2] ( Id. ). Kia adamantly denied the allegations against Jackson, which ""appear[] to have been included solely to harass [him] and compromise his standing with his current employer." ( Id. at 23). Gogel then subpoenaed Toyota's corporate designee to testify at a deposition in Covington, Kentucky. (Doc. # 1-3). The subpoena further required the corporate designee to produce the following documents:

1. J. Randy Jackson's complete personnel file and/or other files or compilations of documents, including but not limited to all applications for employment, offer letters, performance appraisals, credentials, resumes, commendations, reprimands, warning letters, correspondence relating to employment, resignation letters, and all other documents contained therein for the time period of 1996 through 2003.
2. Any e-mail sent or forwarded by J. Randy Jackson during his employment with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), for the period of 1999 through 2003 that was considered offensive, pornographic in nature or sexual in nature, and/or derogatory towards women.
3. The Separation Notice TEMA filed with the Department of Labor regarding the end of J. Randy Jackson's employment.
4. Any separation agreement or severance agreement between J. Randy Jackson and TEMA.

( Id. at 5). Jackson promptly filed his Motion to Quash the Subpoena (Doc. # 1) in this Court.

II. Standard of Review

While "[a] motion to quash a subpoena is usually a nondispositive matter, " courts have treated them as dispositive "where, as here, the decision would dispose of the entire matter at issue in this case." Luppino v. Mercedes-Benz Financial Servs. USA, LLC, No. 13-50212, 2013 WL 1844075, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 11, 2013); see also EEOC v. Nestle Prepared Foods, Civ. A. No. 11-358, 2012 WL 1888130, at *4-5 (E.D. Ky. May 23, 2012) ("Because the EEOC's motion to enforce the subpoena sets forth all of the relief requested in this matter, the Court views it as a dispositive motion."). Thus, a magistrate judge entertaining such a motion must proceed by report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(1) and 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1)(B). If a party objects to the report and recommendation, the district court must then review the contested portions of the decision de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2), (3); see also Luppino, 2013 WL 1844075, at *3 (reviewing the magistrate judge's decision on a motion to quash a subpoena de novo ).

III. Analysis

The scope of discovery in civil cases is ...


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