United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
C. Smith, Judge
OPINION & ORDER
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Quash
Subpoena Duces Tecum. (Doc. 81). For the reasons that follow,
that Motion is DENIED.
Court, elsewhere, has provided a detailed review of the
allegations in this case. (See, e.g., Doc. 43).
Briefly, Plaintiff Jason Schaumleffel attended Muskingum
University (“Muskingum”) before being expelled
for allegations of sexual misconduct. (Doc. 1, ¶ 3).
Plaintiff also served on the Board of Education for
Tri-Valley Local Schools (the “Local School
Board”) but alleges that he was “forced” to
resign after board members became aware of the allegations
against him. (Id., ¶ 5). On May 29, 2017,
following his expulsion and board resignation, Plaintiff sued
Muskingum; the superintendent of the Local School Board, Mark
Neal; Macey Zambori, a current Muskingum
student; Mackenzie Dickerson, a former Muskingum student; and
five unnamed Defendants (“Does 1-5”).
(Id., ¶¶ 19-20). Muskingum was later
dismissed as a Defendant in this lawsuit. (Doc. 77).
here, Plaintiff's claims for defamation and intentional
infliction of emotional distress remain pending against Ms.
Zambori and Ms. Dickerson. (Doc. 1 at 71-89). The Court
dismissed Plaintiff's claims for negligent infliction of
emotional distress on March 6, 2018. (Doc. 43). Plaintiff
seeks money damages against Ms. Zambori and Ms. Dickerson,
alleging that they “made false allegations of sexual
misconduct” against Plaintiff after each engaging in
“consensual sexual activity” with him. (Doc. 1,
¶¶ 1, 2).
turn, Ms. Zambori and Ms. Dickerson brought counterclaims
against Plaintiff. (Docs. 45, 46). Ms. Zambori alleges abuse
of process and intentional infliction of emotional distress,
(Doc. 45); and Ms. Dickerson alleges, among other things,
battery/sexual assault, false imprisonment, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress. (Doc. 46 at 65-70).
Relevant here, Ms. Zambori asserts that Plaintiff filed this
lawsuit in an effort to embarrass her and pressure her to
withdraw her claims against him. (See,
e.g., Doc. 45 at 2-3).
regarding Plaintiff's claims and Ms. Zambori's and
Ms. Dickerson's counterclaims is underway. As part of her
case, Ms. Zambori subpoenaed Muskingum on May 3, 2019.
Roughly two weeks later, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion
to Quash. (Doc. 81). Muskingum has not objected to the
subpoena but rather has stated its intent to comply.
(See Doc. 82 (requesting only that the Court stay
Muskingum's response to the subpoena pending resolution
of the Motion to Quash, explaining that it “is
presenting no further argument for or against its response to
the subpoena and will leave the ruling in the Court's
discretion.”)). The Motion to Quash is fully briefed
and ripe for resolution. (See Docs. 81, 87, 89,
STANDARD OF REVIEW
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs subpoenas and
provides that the court must, upon motion, quash or modify a
subpoena if it fails to allow a reasonable time to comply,
requires a nonparty to travel more than 100 miles, requires
disclosure of privileged or protected material, or subjects a
person to undue burden. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(A).
subpoena is directed at a nonparty, like the one here, the
court must first decide whether the party moving to quash the
subpoena has standing. Generally, a party has no standing to
quash a subpoena directed at a nonparty, but an exception
exists where the party seeking to quash claims a
“personal right or privilege with regard to the
documents sought.” Waite, Schneider, Bayless &
Chesley Co. L.P.A. v. Davis, No. 1:11-cv-0851, 2013 WL
146362, at *5 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 14, 2013). (quotation marks and
citation omitted). But a mere claim of personal right or
privilege does not automatically confer standing. Indeed,
“[t]he party seeking to quash a subpoena bears a heavy
burden of proof.” Ajuba Int'l, LLC v.
Saharia, No. 1:11-CV-12936, 2014 WL 4793846, at *2 (E.D.
Mich. Sept. 25, 2014). To meet that heavy burden, the movant
must make more than “conclusory” assertions of an
interest or privilege. See Hamm v. Cunningham, No.
1:12CV124, 2012 WL 13027079, at *1 (N.D. Ohio May 16, 2012)
(finding that “conclusory” assertions of
confidentiality failed to satisfy heavy burden of proof).
Without standing, a party may not challenge the subpoena on
any ground, including undue burden or relevance. See
Riding Films, Inc. v. John Does 129-193, No. 2:13-CV-46,
2013 WL 3322221, at *6 (S.D. Ohio July 1, 2013) (collecting
basis for Ms. Zambori's subpoena is a document titled,
“Response to Official Report, ” that Plaintiff
filed as an exhibit to his Complaint. (Doc. 1-37). In this
document, Plaintiff alleges that he was physically assaulted
by two individuals associated with Muskingum-Jessica Edge, a
Muskingum student-activities director, as well as a Muskingum
professor. (Doc. 81-1 at 12). He explains that, following the
allegations of sexual misconduct against him, he contacted
Ms. Edge, whom he once considered a “trusted
advisor.” (Doc. 1-37 at 12). However, according to
Plaintiff's account, the relationship between the two
soured following a confrontation in December 2016.
(Id.). This confrontation, according to Plaintiff,
is why he did not tell investigators about his conversation
with Ms. Edge:
During the hearing Stacey (Jess's boss) asked me why I
didn't tell the investigators about my conversation with
Jess, I brought up how I didn't feel like she would be
truthful because of, ‘the situation that has occurred
in December.' Stacey quickly dropped the issue knowing
what that referred to. On Thursday December 8th 2016 there
was an incident involving Jess Edge and myself [that] caused
me many issues. Every Thursday night during the semester
Student Senate (whom I was President of) would have a campus
organization host ‘Brewed Awakenings' this is an
event from 9-11 pm. However, this was the last brewed of the
semester so Senate was hosting it . . . When I showed up that
Thursday the 8th of December, Jess was in a really bad mood
and normally when she is like that, students know just to
simply leave her alone and let her calm down. However, she
kept barking orders at me to take the trash out and wash