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Laird v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 20, 2017

DONNA LAIRD
v.
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY,

          ORDER

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Quash Subpoena (R. Doc. 60) filed on July 19, 2017. The deadline for filing an opposition has not expired. LR 7(f). Because the subpoena facially violates the Court's scheduling order, there is no need for additional briefing.

         The Court set July 12, 2017 as the final deadline to complete all discovery except experts and to file related motions. (R. Doc. 43).[1] The instant motion is timely filed because it was “filed within seven days after the discovery deadline and pertain[s] to conduct occurring during the final seven days of discovery.” LR 26(d)(1).

         On July 12, 2017, counsel for defendant Michael Rojas issued a Rule 45 subpoena directed at the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals Office of Aging and Adult Services, a non-party to this action. (R. Doc. 60-2). The subpoena seeks the production of “[c]ertified copies of any and all records relating to investigations or reports concerning Gloria Garside, DOB: 2/7/1941.” (R. Doc. 60-2 at 1). The subpoena seeks compliance in Gonzales, Louisiana, on August 25, 2017. Plaintiff does not indicate when or if the subpoena was served. Plaintiff does indicate, however, that her counsel received a copy of the subpoena on July 14, 2017. (R. Doc. 60-1 at 1).[2]

         Rule 45 governs discovery from non-parties through the issuance of subpoenas. As “the court for the district where compliance is required, ” this Court has the authority to quash or modify the subpoena at issue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3). The Court also has the authority to issue a protective order to protect a party or person “from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1).

         The Court will grant the instant motion on the basis that the subpoena at issue seeks compliance over one month after the close of discovery. This Court's Local Rules provides that “[w]ritten discovery is not timely unless the response to that discovery would be due before the discovery deadline” and “[t]he responding party has no obligation to respond and object to written discovery if the response and objection would not be due until after the discovery deadline.” LR 26(d)(2). This Court has expressly held that a subpoena served before the discovery deadline is nevertheless untimely if the date of compliance is beyond the discovery deadline. See, e.g., Sandifer v. Hoyt Archery, Inc., No. 12-322, 2015 WL 3465923, at *2 (M.D. La. June 1, 2015) (“Although it was served 4 days before the expert discovery deadline, the subpoena was untimely as it required compliance outside of the March 31, 2015 deadline.”); Dixon v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., No. 13-179, 2014 WL 6474355, at *3 (M.D. La. Nov. 19, 2014) (“Although it was served 6 days before the expert discovery deadline, the subpoena was untimely as it required compliance outside of the September 2, 2014 deadline.”); see also Hall v. State of Louisiana, No. 12-657, 2014 WL at 2560715, at *1 (M.D. La. June 6, 2014) (discovery requests served on party 14 days before discovery deadline were untimely as the party had 30 days to respond to such discovery requests).

         Considering that defendant Michael Rojas did not seek an extension of the non-expert discovery deadline prior to the issuance and service of the instant subpoena, and in advance of the expiration of the applicable deadline, [3] the Court does not find good cause for extending the discovery deadline with regard to the instant subpoena. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4).

         Based on the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Quash Subpoena (R. Doc. 60) is GRANTED. The subpoena served on the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals Office of Aging and Adult Services (R. Doc. 60-2) is QUASHED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that counsel for defendant Michael Rojas shall send a copy of this Order to Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals Office of Aging and Adult Services upon receipt of this Order.

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Notes:

[1] The Court extended the non-expert discovery deadline to August 11, 2017 solely for the limited purpose of completing the deposition of Melanie Fields. (R. Doc. 58).

[2] Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 (a)(4) requires that “before it is served on the person to whom it is directed, a notice and copy of the subpoena must be served on each party.” If the subpoena dated July 12, 2017 was served on Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Aging and Adult Services prior to July 14, 2017, then it appears it would be in violation of Rule 45 and quashed on that basis as well.

[3] As provided in the Scheduling Order, “a motion to extend any deadline set by this Order must be filed before its expiration.” ...


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