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Mims v. B&J Martin Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 24, 2018

HERBERT MIMS
v.
B&J MARTIN, INC., ET AL

         SECTION: “I” (4)

          ORDER

          KAREN WELLS ROBY CHIEF JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Quash (R. Doc. 45) seeking an order from the Court quashing four subpoenas. The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 48. The motion was heard on the briefs.

         I. Background

         The instant action was filed by Plaintiff Herbert Mims on July 31, 2017. Plaintiff alleges that he was on the M/V CHAD MICHAEL, a crew boat, and was being transferred by crew basket to the SP 49 A rig when a large wave hit throwing him off the crew basket and causing injuries. R. Doc. 1, p. 2. Plaintiff alleges that his injuries were the result of the negligence, inattention, and carelessness of the Defendants and their employees, as well as the unseaworthiness of the vessel. Id. at pp. 3-5. The Plaintiff further contends that he is entitled to maintenance and cure, as well as punitive damages and attorney's for the failure to pay maintenance and cure. Id.

         Plaintiff filed the instant motion seeking to quash four subpoenas that were noticed by Defendant B&J Martin, Inc (“B&J”). R. Doc. 45. The subpoenas were sent to Louisiana Central Credit Union, Ally Bank Corporation, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, and OneMain Consumer Loan, Inc. R. Doc. 45-2. Plaintiff argues that the requests seek credit history, records related to loans, as well as loan payments, which have no bearing on the suit are an attempt to “sling mud” at the Plaintiff's character. R. Doc. 45-1.

         Defendant B&J opposes the motion. R. Doc. 48. B&J argues that these records will help determine if the Plaintiff was having financial problems or had other incentives for his “baseless claim.” Id. at p. 1. B&J argue that there are a number of factors which raise the question of whether or not the claim was fabricated for financial incentive. Id. at p. 2. Further B&J states that Plaintiff underwent back surgery and has provided an economic report detailing past and future loss of wages, and without the subpoenaed information the Defendant has no access to these records. Id. at p. 5.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(d)(3) governs the quashing or modifying of subpoenas. The Court must quash or modify a subpoena that “(i) fails to allow a reasonable time to comply; (ii) requires a person to comply beyond the geographical limits specified in Rule 45(c); (iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no exception or waiver applies; or (iv) subjects a person to undue burden.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(A)(i)-(iv). The Court may also modify or quash a subpoena that requires the disclosure of a trade secret or an unretained expert's opinion that does not describe specific occurrences in dispute and results from that expert's study that was not requested by a party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(B).

         Subpoenas under Rule 45 may be served upon both party and non-parties. Petit v. Heebe, No. 15-3084, 2016 WL 1089351, at *2 (E.D. La. Mar. 21, 2016). However, in order to challenge the subpoena, the movant must: be in possession or control of the requested material; be the person to whom the subpoena is issued; or have a personal right or privilege in the subject matter of the subpoena or a sufficient interest in it. See Brown v. Braddick, 595 F.2d 961, 967 (5th Cir. 1979); see also Johnson v. Mixon, No. 13-2629, 2014 WL 1764750, at *4 (E.D. La. May, 2, 2014).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(a)(4) requires that if a subpoena commands “the production of documents, electronically stored information, or tangible things or the inspection of premises before trial, then before it is served on the person to whom it is directed, a notice and a copy of the subpoena must be served on each party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(a)(4).

         Rule 26(b)(1) provides that parties may obtain discovery regarding relevant information to any claim or defense as long as it is nonprivileged. Rule 26(b)(1) specifies that “[i]nformation within the scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discovered.” Rule 26(b)(1) also specifies that discovery must be “proportional to the needs of the case, considering the important of the issues at stake 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.” Id.

         III. Analysis

         First, the issue of standing is not addressed in either the motion or opposition. Plaintiff seeks to quash the subpoenas, however, in order to challenge the subpoena, the movant must: be in possession or control of the requested material; be the person to whom the subpoena is issued; or have a personal right or privilege in the subject matter ...


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