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Pipeline Productions, Inc. v. The Madison Companies, LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 13, 2018

PIPELINE PRODUCTIONS, INC., BACKWOOD ENTERPRISES, LLC, OK PRODUCTIONS, INC., and BRETT MOSIMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE MADISON COMPANIES, LLC, and HORSEPOWER ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          K. Gary Sebelius U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         This matter comes before the court upon plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Completion of Walker Deposition (ECF No. 160) and defendants' Motion to Terminate or Limit Deposition of Robert Walker (ECF No. 164). For the following reasons, these motions are granted in part and denied in part.

         I.

         On May 18, 2018, plaintiffs took the deposition of Robert Walker, chief financial officer for defendant The Madison Companies, LLC, in Aurora, Colorado. After two hours, defendants ended the deposition, contending that plaintiffs' counsel had engaged in improper questions, and had essentially conducted a debtors' examination under Fed.R.Civ.P. 69.

         In their motion, which was filed a week after the termination of the deposition, plaintiffs seek an order compelling the completion of the deposition. Plaintiffs' counsel contends that he sought relevant information on the “status and business purpose of Madison and Madison-related entities.” He further contends that Mr. Walker became nervous and could not (1) provide information on the sale of certain Madison assets, (2) recall whether his share of proceeds from the sale of Madison assets was invested in other Madison-related entities or put in his own bank account, and (3) provide a copy of an organizational chart of the Madison-related companies. He notes that, prior to terminating the deposition, defendants' counsel made no effort to contact the court. He requests that the court compel defendants to produce Mr. Walker for the remainder of his deposition within seven days.

         In their motion, which was not filed until eleven days after the termination of the deposition, defendants seek an order terminating or limiting Mr. Walker's deposition. Defendants' counsel argues that, despite repeated objections during the deposition, plaintiffs' counsel sought to conduct a Rule 69 judgment debtor exam. Counsel notes that opposing counsel spent the entirety of his time on (1) Mr. Walker's personal finances, (2) the nature and location of Madison's assets and investments, (3) the ownership of related entities, (4) Madison's real estate holdings, (5) the sale and disposition of Madison's assets, (6) whether proceeds from the sale of assets were reinvested with Madison-related entities, (7) financial transactions involving other entities unrelated to this lawsuit, and (8) all businesses for which Mr. Walker does taxes and accounting work. Counsel suggests that after “two hours of harassing, irrelevant, and improper judgment debtor type inquiry, the deposition was adjourned pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.P. 30(d), and plaintiffs' counsel was informed that defendants would bring this motion.”

         II.

         Rule 30 governs counsel's behavior during a deposition. Rule 30(c) provides:

(1) The examination and cross-examination of a deponent proceed as they would at trial under the Federal Rules of Evidence ...
(2) An objection at the time of the examination-whether to evidence, to a party's conduct, to the officer's qualifications, to the manner of taking the deposition, or to any other aspect of the deposition-must be noted on the record, but the examination still proceeds; the testimony is taken subject to any objection. A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation ordered by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(3).[1]

Rule 30(c) further provides that:

Any objection during a deposition must be stated concisely and in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive manner. A person may instruct a deponent not to answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation directed by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)(4).[2]

Rule 30(d)(3) provides as follows:

At any time during a deposition, the deponent or a party may move to terminate or limit it on the ground that it is being conducted in bad faith or in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses, or oppresses the deponent of party. The motion may be filed in the court where the action is pending or deposition is being taken. If the objecting deponent or party ...

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