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D.M. v. Wesley Medical Center LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 14, 2019

D.M., a minor, by and through his next friend and natural guardian, KELLI MORGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
WESLEY MEDICAL CENTER LLC d/b/a WESLEY MEDICAL CENTER-WOODLAWN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

          HON. KENNETH G. GALE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Now before the Court is the Motion for Protective Order (Doc. 234) filed by Defendant Wesley Medical Center, LLC regarding the 30(b)(6) deposition notice served by Plaintiff (Doc. 234-1). Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, Defendant's motion (Doc. 234) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part for the reasons set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, through his natural guardian and next friend, filed her federal court Complaint on April 9, 2018, alleging claims under Kansas medical malpractice laws and under the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. The claims result from the medical care D.M. received on March 5 and 6, 2017. Plaintiff alleges that on March 6, 2017, D.M. “suffered a catastrophic and medically-preventable stroke that left him with right-side paralysis, neurological damage and other debilitating physical injuries that permanently changed his and his parents' lives.” (Doc. 1, at 5.)

         The present motion results from the amended notice Plaintiff served as to the deposition of Defendant's corporate representative, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6). The parties conferred regarding the issues presented herein, which resulted in the amended notice.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Legal Standards for Discovery.

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) states 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, considering the importance of the issues at state 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. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

         As such, the requested information must be nonprivileged, relevant, and proportional to the needs of the case to be discoverable. Holick v. Burkhart, No. 16-1188-JTM-KGG, 2018 WL 372440, at *2 (D. Kan. Jan. 11, 2018).

         B. Rule 30(b)(6) Depositions.

         A Rule 30(b)(6) deposition allows an opposing party to question a corporate defendant by noticing the deposition of the corporation's representative as to certain designated topics. Pursuant to the rule,

[a] party may in [its deposition] notice ... name as the deponent a public or private corporation ... and describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested. In that event, the organization so named shall designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf, and may set forth, for each person designated, the matters on which the person will testify. … The persons so designated shall testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the organization.

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6). “In a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, there is no distinction between the corporate representative and the corporation.” Sprint Communications Co. L.P. v. Theglobe.com, Inc., 236 F.R.D. 524, 527 (D. Kan. 2006).

         As such, “to allow [Rule 30(b)(6)] to effectively function, the requesting party must take care to designate, with painstaking specificity, the particular subject areas that are intended to be questioned, and that are relevant to the issues in dispute.” Id., at 528. Thereafter, the responding party is required to “make a conscientious good-faith endeavor to designate the persons having knowledge of the matters sought by [the deposing party] and to prepare those persons in order that they can answer fully, completely, unevasively, the questions posed by [the deposing party] as to the relevant subject matters.” Id. (citing Prokosch v. Catalina Lighting, Inc., 193 F.R.D. 633, 638 (D.Minn.2000) (quotations omitted)).

         C. Standards for Protective Orders.

         Protective Orders are governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), “which confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide when a protective order is appropriate and what degree of protection is required.” Layne Christensen Co. v. Purolite Co., 271 F.R.D. 240, 244 (D. Kan. 2010) (quoting Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36 (1984)). See also Thomas v. IBM, 48 F.3d 478, 482 (10th Cir. 1995); Terry v. Unified Gov't of Wyandotte Co., No. 09-2094-EFM-KGG, 2011 WL 795816 (D. Kan. March 1, 2011). The rule provides, in relevant part:

A party or any person from whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order in the court where the action is pending.... The motion must include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with other affected parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action. The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following:
(A) forbidding the disclosure or discovery;
(B) specifying terms, including time and place, for the disclosure or discovery;
(D) forbidding inquiry into certain matters, or limiting the scope of disclosure or discovery to certain matters; ....

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). In this context, the Court will analyze Plaintiffs' 30(b)(6) deposition notice and Defendant's objections thereto.

         II. Deposition ...


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