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MNM Investments, LLC v. HDM, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

September 17, 2019

MNM INVESTMENTS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
HDM, INC. and DEREK MCCLOUD, Defendants. HDM, INC., Counterclaim-Plaintiff,
v.
MNM INVESTMENTS, LLC, KANSAS MOTORCYCLE WORKS, LLC, And MATTHEW MOORE, Counterclaim-Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

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

         Now before the Court is Plaintiff MNM Investments, LLC (“MNM”) motion seeking a protective order “quashing in part defendants' amended notice of deposition to plaintiff.” (Doc. 96.) Defendants have responded (Doc. 102), but Plaintiff chose not to file a reply and the time to do so has expired. D. Kan. Rule 6.1(d)(1). Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED for the reasons set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         The motion now before the Court arises from a case alleging breach of contract and trademark infringement. (Doc. 4, at 15-19.) Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), Plaintiff seeks a protective order “quashing in part the notice of deposition issued by Defendants HDM, Inc. and Derek McCloud.” (Doc. 97, at 1.) Defendants seek to depose a representative of MNM under Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) as to the “identification of Design Information and allegedly protectable elements thereof.” (Doc. 81-1, at 4.)

         Plaintiff argues that the topic is “overbroad, seeks information that is outside of the permissible scope of discovery, and the burden and expense that would be imposed upon MNM by furnishing the requested discovery far outweighs its benefit.” (Doc. 97, at 1.) Defendants oppose the motion “because the topic is relevant to the parties' claims and defenses, and MNM has repeatedly asserted the protectability of Design Information in pleadings, discovery, motions and testimony.” (Doc. 102, at 3.) As such, Defendants contend that the proposed deposition topic “falls clearly within the scope of relevance under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26.” (Id.)

         ANALYSIS

         I. Legal Standard

         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 both nonprivileged and relevant to be discoverable. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) governs protective orders and 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 ...

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