United States District Court, D. Kansas
RANDALL A. SCHNEIDER and AMY L. SCHNEIDER Plaintiffs,
CITIMORTGAGE, INC., et. al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CROW, U.S. DISTRICT SENIOR JUDGE.
case comes before the court on the plaintiffs' motion for
review (ECF# 509) of the magistrate judge's order (ECF#
503) filed October 30, 2017. This order denied the
plaintiffs' motion which had asked for the defendant
Citigroup, Inc.'s (“Citigroup's”)
designated corporate representative to be found unprepared
for the Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) deposition that occurred on
June 13, 2017. In seeking review, the plaintiffs argue the
magistrate judge erred, because Mr. Jason Cramer, the witness
designated and produced by Citigroup, lacked personal
experience with Citigroup as a corporation, was not given
full access to Citigroup information, and was acquainted only
with information provided by Citigroup's counsel which
was “publicly available information on financial
statements.” ECF# 510, p. 4. In short, the plaintiffs
argue that Mr. Cramer was not capable of testifying, as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6), “about information
known or reasonably available to the organization, ”
because he lacked experience specific to the plaintiffs'
claims, and because he was not provided with the necessary
preparation and documents so as to testify on the six
magistrate judge's order addressing non-dispositive
pretrial matters is not reviewed de novo, but it is reviewed
under the more deferential standard in which the moving party
must show the order is “clearly erroneous or contrary
to the law.” First Union Mortg. Corp. v.
Smith, 229 F.3d 992, 995 (10th Cir. 2000) (quoting
Ocelot Oil Corp. v. Sparrow Industries, 847 F.2d
1458, 1461-62 (10th Cir. 1988)); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The
clearly erroneous standard governs review of the magistrate
judge's factual findings and requires affirming such
findings unless the court “on the entire evidence is
left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been committed.” See Allen v. Sybase, Inc.,
468 F.3d 642, 658 (10th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). The contrary to the law standard
governs review of the magistrate judge's “purely
legal determinations, ” and authorizes setting aside an
order that fails to apply the correct legal standard or that
misapplies the correct legal standard determined from the
relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedures.
Auman v. State of Kansas, 2017 WL 3977855, at *2 (D.
Kan. Sep. 11, 2017) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). The plaintiffs' motion fails its burden of
showing that the magistrate judge's order is clearly
erroneous or contrary to the law.
order, the magistrate judge outlined the protracted
procedural history that eventually culminated in the
deposition of Mr. Cramer, a director of CitiMortgate, on the
following six topics allowed by the court:
10. The role and relationship of CitiGroup, Inc. to each
(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.
ECF# 503, pp. 4-5). The magistrate judge understood the
plaintiffs' arguments to be that Mr. Cramer was not
prepared to address “many” of the topics, was not
provided sufficient information to answer, was simply
guessing at some answers, and was inaccurate and conflicted
with “actual documents.” Id. at 5.
magistrate judge plainly articulated and applied the correct
Rule 30(b)(6) requirements noting that a designated witness
is “to testify about information known or reasonably
available to the organization, ” that the testimony
“represents the knowledge of the corporation, not of
the individual deponents, ” and that it is the
corporation's duty to designate a witness “who is
knowledgeable in order to provide binding answers on behalf
of the corporation.” Id. at pp. 5-6 (internal
quotation marks and footnotes omitted). The plaintiffs argue
the magistrate judge misapplied these legal standards by only
judging Mr. Cramer's personal efforts rather than
assessing whether Mr. Cramer was knowledgeable on behalf of
Citigroup despite his lack of experience and his limited
contact with corporate knowledge and documents of Citigroup.
There is nothing in the magistrate judge's decision
showing a misapplication of legal standards. Rather, the
decision reflects a reasoned application of the proper legal
With regard to Citigroup's involvement with the servicing
of the loan or the refinance application, Mr. Cramer
testified that Citigroup did not service plaintiffs' loan
or interact with plaintiffs concerning their request for
refinancing. He testified that Citigroup was a bank holding
company, and as such, it is the corporate vehicle for
financial reporting and public disclosures on behalf of
itself and other Citi entities. He confirmed on numerous
occasions that Citigroup does not originate or service
mortgage loans. In making these statements, Mr. Cramer
indicated that he ...