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Schneider v. Citimortgage, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 21, 2018

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

          ORDER

          K. Gary Sebelius U.S. Magistrate Judge

         This matter presently comes before the court upon plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions Relating to Court-Ordered Deposition of Primerica (ECF No. 516).[1] For the following reasons, this motion is denied.

         I.

         On June 29, 2017, the court granted in part and denied in part plaintiffs' motion contending that defendant Primerica Financial Services Home Mortgages, Inc.'s (“Primerica”) corporate representative was unprepared during his deposition of December 29, 2016.[2] As part of that order, the court allowed plaintiffs to conduct another Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of Primerica's corporate representative on three topics.[3] In the instant motion, plaintiffs seek sanctions because Primerica's corporate representative was not adequately prepared to respond to their questions concerning “CitiQuick, ” what plaintiffs have described as a “streamlined loan renewal program.”

         II.

         In the prior order, the court set forth guidelines for Rule 30(b)(6) depositions as follows:

Rule 30(b)(6) governs deposition notices and subpoenas directed to organizations. The Rule requires the named organization to designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who consent to testify on its behalf. The Rule also requires the designated witnesses to testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization.
The testimony of a Rule 30(b)(6) designee represents the knowledge of the corporation, not of the individual deponents. In a proper Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, “there is no distinction between the corporate representative and the corporation.” A corporation has a duty under Rule 30(b)(6) to provide a witness who is knowledgeable in order to provide “binding answers on behalf of the corporation.”
Rule 30(b)(6) is not designed to be a memory contest. Certain questions may seek details so minute that a witness could not reasonably be expected to answer them. However, a corporation has “a duty to make a conscientious, good-faith effort to designate knowledgeable persons for Rule 30(b)(6) depositions and to prepare them to fully and unevasively answer questions about the designated subject matter.”[4]

         III.

         During a prior meeting with plaintiffs concerning their loan, Ms. Kerry Cobb wrote, inter alia, “Citi Quick” on a page of handwritten notes. Ms. Cobb was deposed by plaintiffs in 2014. Ms. Cobb has been identified as a representative of Primerica.

         During this litigation, plaintiffs submitted various topics for the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of Primerica's corporate representative. One of these topics, Topic 41, sought the following information: “Identify, describe, and explain the terms Smart Loan Center, Smart Solutions, Citi Quick, E-Z Pay, and Timely Rewards, as these applied to the Schneiders' loan.” On December 29, 2016, plaintiffs deposed Primerica's corporate representative, Michael Turnage. Following that deposition, plaintiffs argued that Mr. Turnage was not prepared to respond to several topics, including the term “Citi Quick” contained in Topic 41. The court agreed and allowed plaintiffs to conduct another deposition on the issues where the court found that Mr. Turnage was unprepared. Concerning “Citi Quick, ” the court found that he was unable to define the term and had made no effort to determine the meaning of the term.

         Prior to the deposition, Primerica provided a fact stipulation regarding “Citi Quick.” The proposed stipulation stated:

"Citi Quick" is a mortgage loan processing format that is intended to be streamlined as compared to traditional mortgage loan processing. If a borrower meets certain criteria, instead of requiring the traditional type and extent of credit documentation, a lender would evaluate only certain factors in a borrower's credit profile. The term "Citi Quick" did not apply to or describe the Schneiders' mortgage loan through Citicorp in September 2007 or Citicorp's evaluation of the Schneiders' request to Citicorp in ...

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