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Schneider v. Citimortgage, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 30, 2017

RANDALL A. and AMY L. SCHNEIDER, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITIMORTGAGE, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          K. GARY SEBELIUS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the court upon plaintiffs' Motion for Finding of Violation of Rule 30(b)(6)(ECF No. 419). Plaintiffs contend that Citigroup. Inc.'s (“Citigroup's”) designee as a corporate representative under Fed. R. Civ. 30(b)(6) was unprepared for the deposition that occurred on June 13, 2017. For the following reasons, this motion is denied.

         I.

         Plaintiffs, Randall A. Schneider and Amy L. Schneider, bring claims against defendants, CitiMortgage, Inc. (“CitiMortage”); Citibank, National Association (“Citibank”); Citigroup; and Primerica Financial Services Home Mortgages, Inc. (“Primerica”), for breach of contract and for violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The claims involve defendants' alleged misconduct in handling the Schneiders' residential mortgage loan, and their 2010 loan refinance. The Schneiders allege that they were wrongfully assessed overcharges and fees and they were denied a loan refinance for which they were qualified.

         The court has previously detailed the difficulties in discovery in this case. The court will only address the problems that relate to the instant deposition. In August 2014, plaintiffs served their Rule 30(b)(6) notices.[1] The defendants responded with a motion to quash the deposition notices.[2] On September 29, 2014, the court conducted a telephone conference on this motion and other matters in the case. As a result of the telephone conference, plaintiffs agreed to withdraw the Rule 30(b)(6) notices. The court then denied the motion to quash as moot.[3] On March 12, 2015, plaintiffs again filed Rule 30(b)(6) notices.[4] Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Conference to address the disputes concerning the Rule 30(b)(6) topics.[5] Defendants then filed another motion for protective order and/or to quash plaintiffs' deposition notices.[6] Defendants again raised issues of overbreadth, undue burden and relevance.

         On January 28, 2016, the court denied plaintiffs' motion for conference, finding that a telephone conference would not aid the parties.[7] In ruling on that motion, the court noted that “[t]hroughout this litigation the parties have failed to cooperatively resolve disputes.”[8] The court directed the parties to resolve their disputes about plaintiffs' topics with some additional guidance provided in the order. The court ordered plaintiffs to file corrected Rule 30(b)(6) notices that complied with the court's directives by February 22, 2016.[9] The court directed plaintiffs to narrowly tailor their topics to comply with the “reasonable particularity” requirements of Rule 30(b)(6).[10] The court also found that plaintiffs' notice violated the court's prior orders to limit discovery to the claims still at issue in the case.[11] The court noted that if the defendants still sought a protective order after the plaintiffs' renewed notice, the parties were to confer and promptly seek to resolve their dispute. The court stated:

Only after the parties have conducted this second, good-faith discussion will the court consider any additional motion on the issue. If briefing is necessary, the defendants shall list the topics for which they seek a protective order by number. Then for each topic they shall be required to show good cause why the court should issue a protective order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)'s enumerated categories: annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.[12]

         Conferences were held by the parties after the court's order of January 28, 2016. The parties conferred in excess of six hours in conferences on February 22, 2016, and March 2, 2016. After the first conference, plaintiffs provided a revised list, which the parties discussed at the second conference. On March 3, 2016, plaintiffs served another list of topics which included a number of new topics.

         On April 7, 2016, plaintiff filed a notice to take the Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) deposition of Citigroup's corporate designee on April 25, 2016.[13] The notice listed 20 topics for examination.[14] On April 22, 2016, Citigroup filed a motion for protective order and a motion to quash.[15] Citigroup sought protection from and to quash certain topics in plaintiffs' notice.[16] On May 9, 2016, the court stayed the case after the parties sought mediation.[17] Mediation occurred on June 23, 2016. On July 6, 2016, the court was advised that the mediation was unsuccessful.[18]

         On October 31, 2016, the court granted Citigroup's motion in part and denied it in part.[19]The court quashed fourteen of the topics designated in plaintiffs' notice. The court denied Citigroup's motion concerning the following topics: 10, 42rr, 43ss, 44tt, 45uu and 46vv. The court directed the parties to complete the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition by December 31, 2016.[20] On November 14, 2016, plaintiffs filed a motion to review. The parties then consented to an extension of time to extend the Rule 30(b)(6) depositions. On December 19, 2016, the court granted the extension and allowed the parties until forty-five (45) days following a ruling by the district court on the aforementioned motion for review and other matters to complete the Rule 30(b)(6) depositions.

         On February 17, 2017, Judge Crow denied plaintiffs' motion for review. Various problems again arose in the efforts to schedule the deposition of Citigroup's representative.[21]Upon the motion of the parties, the court allowed until May 31, 2017, to complete the deposition.[22] The deposition was subsequently scheduled for May 30, 2017.[23] The deadline was then extended to June 15, 2017, upon motion of the parties.[24] The deposition was scheduled for June 13, 2017.[25]

         Citigroup produced Jason Cramer as its Rule 30(b)(6) representative. Mr. Cramer is a director of CitiMortgage. He reports to the chief operating officer of CitiMortgage.

         The deposition proceeded on the following six topics:

10. The role and relationship of CitiGroup, Inc. to each Defendant (CitiMortgage, CitiBank, f.k.a. CitiCorpTrust Bank, Primerica) and CitiAssurance (the PWP administrator or the a.k.a., American Health and Life Insurance Company) during the time of the Schneider's 2007 loan or 2010 refinance.
42rr. Whether and, if so, what involvement Citigroup had in the servicing of the Loan.
43ss. Whether and, if so, what involvement Citigroup had in communicating with the Schneiders following their application in or around May 2010 to refinance the Loan with Citibank.
44tt. Whether and, if so, what involvement Citigroup had in evaluating the Schneiders' application in or around May 2010 to refinance the Loan with Citibank.
45uu. The corporate structure as between CitiMortgage, Citibank, and Citigroup, and Primerica in 2007 through 2010.
46vv. All sources of direct and indirect revenue and total amount of revenue anticipated to be received by Citigroup in connection with the Schneiders' initial refinance loan application to Citibank in or around May 2010, if the application had been approved, and the percentage of income to be derived from the approved application.

         II.

         In their motion, plaintiffs raise a variety of arguments. Plaintiffs suggest that Mr. Cramer was not prepared to address “many” of the topics. They further suggest that he was not provided with sufficient information to answer their questions and, in some cases, was simply “guessing” at the answers. Finally, they contend that “much” of what Mr. ...


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