United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
HOBART WHITE as Administrator of the Estate of Cladie Hollis, Deceased PLAINTIFF
WAL-MART STORES EAST, L.P. DEFENDANT
OPINION AND ORDER
King, Magistrate Judge.
Greg N. Stivers referred this matter to Magistrate Judge
Lanny King for resolution of all litigation planning issues,
entry of scheduling orders, consideration of amendments
thereto, and resolution of all non-dispositive matters,
including discovery issues. (Docket # 4). This matter was
reassigned to Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell. (Docket # 11).
Defendant Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P. (“Wal-Mart”)
filed this Motion to Quash Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
Deposition Notice or to Stay Discovery. (Docket # 22).
Plaintiff Hobart White (“Plaintiff”) filed his
opposition and Wal-Mart filed its Reply. (Docket # 28, 29).
This matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons set
forth below, Wal-Mart's Motion to Quash Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure Deposition Notice or to Stay Discovery is
granted in part and denied in part. (Docket # 22).
matter arises from an alleged slip and fall on the property
of Wal-Mart stores. The parties have exchanged written
discovery, and the fact discovery period closed on August 30,
2018 (Docket # 10). On August 17, 2018, Plaintiff filed
Notice of its Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, which was scheduled
to take place on August 20, 2018. (Docket # 16). The initial
30(b)(6) deposition notice listed 34 areas of inquiry and 14
document requests. (Id.). On August 17, 2018,
Magistrate Judge King held a telephonic conference and
granted Wal-Mart's oral motion to quash the 30(b)(6)
deposition notice for August 20, 2018. (Docket # 18). In
light of the discovery deadline on August 30, 2018 (Docket #
10), Magistrate Judge King granted Plaintiff leave to file a
renewed 30(b)(6) deposition notice but required Plaintiff to
limit the matters of examination to those with supporting
authority. (Id.). On August 24, 2018, Plaintiff
filed his renewed 30(b)(6) Notice, which listed eighteen
areas of inquiry and five document requests. (Docket # 19).
On September 4, 2018, Magistrate Judge King held a telephonic
status conference to discuss Plaintiff's renewed 30(b)(6)
deposition notice. (Docket # 26). During the conference,
Plaintiff narrowed his deposition topics to the following
areas of inquiry: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. (Id.).
Plaintiff withdrew the other areas of inquiry.
(Id.). Plaintiff also narrowed his document requests
to items to 1 and 3 and withdrew the other items.
still objects to the narrowed deposition notice and asks the
Court to order that Plaintiff's 30(b)(6) Deposition
Notice of August 24, 2018, be quashed or, in the alternative,
that all discovery be stayed until Defendant files a motion
for summary judgment. In Response to the Motion to Quash,
Plaintiff limited his deposition topics to areas of inquiry
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, and his document request to the
basis for quashing the 30(b)(6) deposition is a two-fold.
First, Wal-Mart contends that it has already provided the
requested information by other means. Wal-Mart asserts that
the taking of the noticed deposition would be unreasonably
cumulative or duplicative, disproportionate, oppressive,
burdensome, and harassing. Second, Wal-Mart contends that
there is a clearly presented legal issue upon which the case
may be resolved on summary judgment. Wal-Mart asserts that
even responding to all of the areas of inquiry in the
30(b)(6) deposition notice will not support Plaintiff's
claim and belief that Ms. Hollis is not the person in the
video that Wal- Mart provided. Thus, Wal-Mart also argues
that discovery should be stayed and Wal-Mart should be
allowed to file a motion for summary judgment.
overarching argument is that the two fact witnesses that
Wal-Mart provided do not bind the corporation the same way
that a 30(b)(6) corporate representative can. Additionally,
Plaintiff argues that the answers provided during
Wal-Mart's fact-witness depositions regarding video
creation, retention and destruction policies were
insufficient because the fact-witnesses either did not know
any answer to the questions or did not provide enough
detailed answers to the questions.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure guides the
evaluation of any discovery request. Rule 26(b) provides that
“[p]arties 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). In assessing whether
the discovery is “proportional to the needs of the
case, ” courts should consider “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.; Advisory Committee Notes 2015 Amendment. The
Rule also directs that “[i]nformation within this scope
of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
26(b)(2) addresses limitations on the frequency and extent of
discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2). Subpart
(b)(2)(A) provides courts with the discretion to alter the
limits in Rule 30 on the number and length of depositions,
and the limits in Rules 34 and 36 on the number of
interrogatories and requests for admissions. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(2)(A). Subpart (b)(2)(C) provides courts with the
discretion to limit the frequency or extent of discovery.
Specifically, Rule 26(b)(2)(C) reads as follows:
(C) When Required. On motion or on its own, the court must
limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed
by these rules or by local rule if it determines that:
(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 ...