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In re a Subpoena Issued to United States Postal Service

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

October 29, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF A SUBPOENA ISSUED TO UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE IN CASE NO. C-662234, 21/D BY 19TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF EACH BATON ROUGE, STATE OF LOUISIANA

          RULING ON MOTION TO QUASH

          ERIN WILDER-DOOMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the United States' Motion to Quash Subpoena (the “Motion to Quash”).[1] As no timely opposition or other response to the Motion to Quash has been filed, the Motion to Quash is considered unopposed.[2] For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion to Quash is granted.

         On September 6, 2019, the United States of America (the “United States”) file d a Notice of Removal removing “the proceedings on the subpoena issued to the United States Postal Service in the matter entitled Christopher Brinson versus Freddie J. Campbell, Progressive Waste Solutions of LA, Inc., and ACE American Insurance Company, Docket No. C-662234, Section 21, Division D, 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana” (the “State Court Action”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1).[3] The United States asserts that defendants in the State Court Action have served a subpoena on the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) “seeking to have the Supervisor of the Baton Rouge USPS facility, a federal non-party, appear and testify at a deposition….”[4]

         Following removal, the United States file d the Motion to Quash, asserting that “the USPS is not a party to the underlying state court civil action, and per its valid Touhy[5] regulations, the USPS has withheld authorizing its USPS supervisor to provide testimony in response to the state court subpoena”[6] and that the “subpoena must be quashed on the independent ground of sovereign immunity.”[7] “In the Fifth Circuit, it is well established that because the United States Government has not expressly waived its sovereign immunity with respect to state court-issued subpoenas, federal courts must quash subpoenas issued to federal officers removed from state court to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1442.”[8]

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the United States' Motion to Quash Subpoena[9] is GRANTED.

         The Clerk of Court is INSTRUCTED to close this miscellaneous action.

---------

Notes:

[1] R. Doc. 3.

[2] See, Local Civil Rule 7(f).

[3] R. Do c . 1.

[4] R. Doc. 1, ¶ 1. The United States only removed the state court proceedings related to the subpoena. See, 28 U.S.C. § 1442(d)(1) (“The terms ‘civil action' and ‘criminal prosecution' include any proceeding (whether or not ancillary to another proceeding) to the extent that in such proceeding a judicial order, including a subpoena for testimony or documents, is sought or issued. If removal is sought for a proceeding described in the previous sentence, and there is no other basis for removal, only that proceeding may be removed to the district court.”); State of La. v. Sparks, 978 F.2d 226, 229, n. 6 (5th Cir. 1992) (“Removal was limited to the state court proceedings relating to Gsell's subpoenas. The underlying death penalty case itself, including Sparks' motion for a new trial, remains pending in the Louisiana courts.”).

[5] United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951) (subordinate federal officer cannot be held in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena in ...


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