United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge
the Court are two Motions to Quash and for a Protective Order
filed by Defendant Edwy G. Craft (“Mayor Craft”)
and Movant Concordia Bank & Trust Co. (“Concordia
Bank”). (Docs. 41, 43). Plaintiffs oppose the Motions
(Doc. 42). The Motions seek quashal of a subpoena requiring
production of Mayor Craft's personnel records by
Concordia Bank, Mayor Craft's former employer.
Court held a hearing on March 3, 2017, and thereafter
conducted a thorough in camera review of the disputed
records. Because the records are beyond the proper scope of
discovery, and because production of the records would not be
proportional to the needs of the case, the Motions are
- all former employees of the City of Vidalia - allege Mayor
Craft terminated them because they supported Mayor
Craft's opponent in the 2016 mayoral race. Plaintiffs
claim their terminations were acts of unconstitutional
political retaliation. (Doc. 1, p. 3).
issued a Subpoena to Produce Documents (the
“Subpoena”) to Mayor Craft's former employer,
Concordia Bank, seeking disclosure of the following:
“Entire personnel records of Edwy G. Craft and all
documents pertaining to Mr. Craft's
termination/resignation, including any severance
agreements.” (Doc. 41-2). Subsequent briefing and
argument has made clear that Plaintiffs seek information
related to Mayor Craft's departure from Concordia Bank
approximately 13 years ago.
allege that Mayor Craft was terminated after more than 20
years of employment with Concordia Bank. During Mayor
Craft's deposition in this case, counsel for Plaintiffs
asked Mayor Craft questions about his departure. According to
Plaintiffs, Mayor Craft “balked” during
questioning. (Doc. 42, pp. 2-3). Plaintiffs argue that the
Subpoena may reveal evidence that Mayor Craft was terminated
for engaging in self-dealing and dishonest behavior. Such
evidence, according to Plaintiffs, may reveal his character
for untruthfulness. (Doc. 42, p. 1). Plaintiffs further argue
that any evidence of improper patronage in the business
sector is relevant to their claims of improper political
Craft counters that production of his entire personnel
records is overly broad, and would expose confidential
information. (Doc. 41-1, pp. 2, 3). Mayor Craft also claims that
the information sought is not within the scope of discovery,
but is instead a “fishing expedition, ” and that
Plaintiffs' suspicions are not enough to justify further
inquiry into a confidential matter. (Doc. 41-1, p. 5). Mayor
Craft states that the circumstances surrounding his departure
from Concordia Bank in 2004 are not probative of his
motivations for terminating Plaintiffs in 2016. (Doc. 41-1,
Bank opposes production of the records, stating that most are
privileged, confidential, or include protected customer
information, personal identifying information, and protected
competitive information. Concordia Bank additionally states
that the Severance Agreement with Mayor Craft contains a
confidentiality provision, which should be observed in this
litigation. (Doc. 43-1, pp. 1-2).
Law and Analysis
Mayor Craft and Concordia Bank have standing to challenge the
subpoena issued to Concordia Bank under Fed.R.Civ.P. 45.
See Richardson v. Axion Logistics, LLC, Civ. No.
13-302-BAJ-RLB, 2013 WL 5554641 (M.D. La. Oct. 7, 2013)
(“[A] party does not have standing to oppose a subpoena
unless the party is ‘in possession of the materials
subpoenaed' or has ‘alleged any personal right or
privilege with respect to the materials
subpoenaed.'” (citations omitted)).
The Governing Standard: Discoverability, Not
Motion to Quash, Mayor Craft quotes Rice v. Reliastar
Life Ins. Co., for the proposition that the information
sought by the Subpoena must be relevant and admissible.
See 11-44 (M.D. La. 11/10/11), 2011 WL 5513181, at
*2 However, Rice refers to the Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure and the criminal subpoena power
of Fed. R. Crim. P. 17. That rule of criminal procedure,
however, erects a higher burden, and uses a narrower
standard, than its civil counterpart, which does not require
evidence sought in discovery to be admissible.
the information sought by the Subpoena must be
“discoverable, ” but not necessarily ...