Holland et al v. The Related Companies, Inc. et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-03220

ORDER Re: Joint Discovery Letter by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte.

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 PETER HOLLAND, et al., Case No. 15-cv-03220-JSW (EDL) Plaintiffs, 8 ORDER RE: JOINT DISCOVERY v. LETTER 9 10 THE RELATED COMPANIES, INC., et al., Re: Dkt. No. 68 Defendants. 11 12 On May 4, 2016, the Parties filed a joint discovery letter in which Defendants move to Northern District of California United States District Court 13 quash a subpoena that Plaintiffs served on attorney Shawn Bankson, Defendants' prior counsel. 14 At the May 13, 2016 hearing, Plaintiffs clarified that they wanted to depose Mr. Bankson on what 15 he meant by stating in his May 28, 2015 letter to Plaintiffs' counsel that it was Defendants' 16 position that at that time Plaintiff Peter Holland had sufficiently verified his disability but that his 17 request for accommodation was unreasonable. The Court pointed out that such questions appeared 18 to request attorney-client privileged communications and attorney work product material. 19 Moreover, although Plaintiffs argued that such protections were waived by an advice of counsel 20 defense, Defendants affirmed that they will not rely on an advice of counsel defense based on 21 advice from Mr. Bankson and other members of his law firm and that they will not call Mr. 22 Bankson as a witness at trial. Also relevant to whether to allow the attorney deposition is the 23 availability of other means to obtain the information. See Villaflor v. Equifax Info., 2010 WL 24 2891627, at *2 (N.D. Cal. July 22, 2010) ("[B]efore allowing deposition of opposing counsel, a 25 court should consider: 'the need to depose the lawyer. . . .'" (quoting In re Subpoena Issued to 26 Dennis Friedman, 350 F.3d 65, 72 (2d Cir. 2003))). Defendants stated that Plaintiffs recently 27 served a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition request concerning, in part, the identity of the individuals 28 involved in determining that Plaintiffs' request for accommodation would impose an undue 1 burden as stated in Mr. Bankson's May 28, 2015 letter. Accordingly, Defendants' request to 2 quash the subpoena is granted without prejudice to a possible future subpoena on Mr. Bankson 3 should Plaintiffs' attempts to discover the identity of these individuals fail. Additionally, as stated 4 at the hearing, the Parties are hereby ordered to meet and confer on Plaintiffs' prior interrogatory 5 concerning the identity of these individuals to which Defendants allegedly objected and, if they 6 are unable to resolve any disputes concerning this request, file a joint letter of no more than two 7 pages attaching the interrogatory by May 16, 2016. 8 IT IS SO ORDERED. 9 Dated: May 13, 2016 10 11 ELIZABETH D. LAPORTE 12 United States Magistrate Judge Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2