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Briggs v. United States Air Force

October 11, 2006

DUCHONNA H. BRIGGS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael R. Merz Chief United States Magistrate Judge

District Judge Walter Herbert

Rice Chief Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO POSTPONE DEPOSITION

This case is before the Court on Plaintiff's letter request for an indefinite postponement of her deposition, now set for October 19, 2006.

This case was filed April 4, 2005, and relates to Plaintiff's efforts to be reassigned from January, 2001, to December, 2002 (Complaint, Doc. No., ¶ 1). On November 15, 2005, the Court entered its Preliminary Pretrial Order which, in accordance with the parties' Rule 26(f) Report, set a discovery cut-off of October 20, 2006. Thus the deposition is set for the penultimate day of the discovery period; it could not be postponed now without disrupting the schedule for the balance of the case.

More importantly, Plaintiff's request is not well supported. She reports that "I am under the care of a physician for a medical problem" and her physician advised that having a deposition at this time could create more severe medical problems. She attaches a note from her doctor which reads in its entirety "Dachonna Briggs has been under my care for her medical problems. Please excuse her from her deposition until this can be resolved." Both of these statements are completely opaque. Neither Plaintiff nor her physician gives the Court any indication of what the medical problem is or how long it will take to be resolved. The Court to reach Plaintiff's physician by telephone but she neither accepted nor returned the call. The Court of course has no desire to exacerbate Plaintiff's medical problems, but it has no explanation of what those problems are, when they are expected to be resolved, or why a simple oral deposition should make them worse.

Plaintiff obviously does not want to submit to deposition. She advises the Court that responding to Defendant's interrogatories and requests for production has already aggravated her condition and opines that should be enough for the Government to prepare for trial. She requests being granted "an alternative approach to an oral deposition examination."

The Court believes Plaintiff has not shown undue burden. Plaintiff will obviously have to testify at trial herself and be subjected to oral cross-examination there; there is no alternative method for trying a case.

If Plaintiff is concerned about being examined alone without a lawyer to defend her, the Court is willing to have the deposition conducted under the Court's personal supervision, to wit, in open court. If that alternative is desired, the parties should notify the Magistrate Judge as soon as possible.

20061011

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