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Santiago v. Meyer Tool, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

January 15, 2020

REBECA SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
MEYER TOOL, INC., Defendant.

          McFarland, J.

          ORDER

          Karen L. Litkovitz, United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion to quash a subpoena under Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3) issued by plaintiff to Spooner Incorporated ("Spooner") (Doc. 42), plaintiffs response in opposition (Doc. 51), defendant's reply memorandum (Doc. 55), and plaintiffs supplemental memorandum opposing defendant's motion to quash (Doc. 65).

         I. Background

         On November 27, 2019, defendant filed a motion to quash the subpoena issued by plaintiff to Spooner Incorporated, which is a third-party administrator of records for Meyer Tool. (Doc. 42). Defendant argues that the subpoena is overly broad and outside the scope of discovery as it requests information related to "any and all employees of Meyer Tool, Inc. who applied for FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] leave since 2014." (Id. at 5) (citing Subpoena, Exh. A, Doc. 42-1 at 4, ¶ 10). Defendant also raises potential confidentiality and privacy concerns related to these requests. (Id.). Plaintiff subsequently filed a response in opposition and defendant filed a reply memorandum. (Docs. 51, 55). On December 10, 2019, the parties discussed the Spooner subpoena with the Court during an informal discovery conference. After the conference, the Court ordered plaintiff to share her theory regarding her FMLA claims and supporting case law with defendant and explain why the information requested in the Spooner subpoena is relevant to the existing claims in this case. (Doc. 57). The Court indicated that it would rule on the parties' briefings if the issue was not resolved. (Id.). This matter is now ripe for the Court's review. In addition to the briefings, the Court also considers the email correspondence between the parties involving the Spooner subpoena, which was submitted as an exhibit to plaintiffs supplemental memorandum. (Doc. 65-1, 65-2, 65-3). The email correspondence indicates that defendant does not oppose the subpoena to Spooner with respect to the records involving plaintiff Rebeca Santiago. Defendant indicates that it has requested that Spooner produce these records. However, defendant continues to oppose the remaining requests in the Spooner subpoena that involve employees other than Ms. Santiago. Therefore, the Court's review is limited to defendant's motion to quash Spooner subpoena request Nos. 2, 5, 8, and 10:

2. Please provide the first and last initials, employee identification number, age, sex, race, and position of any and all employees of Meyer Tool, Inc. who applied for FMLA leave since 2014[.]
5. Please provide any and all documentation relating to your policies relating to and regarding the calculation of intermittent FMLA leave.
8. Please provide any and all instructions from Meyer Tool, Inc. relating to and regarding the calculation of intermittent FMLA leave.
10. Please provide any and all communication and documents relating to and regarding the calculation of the intermittent FMLA leave of any and all employees of Meyer Tool, Inc. who applied for FMLA leave since 2014.

(Subpoena, Ex. A, Doc. 42-1).

         II. Resolution

         Plaintiff argues that defendant lacks standing to challenge the subpoena directed at Spooner. (Doc. 51 at 2-3). When a subpoena is directed at a nonparty, the Court must first decide whether or not the party moving to quash the subpoena has standing. Schaumleffel v. Muskingum Univ., No. 2:17-cv-463, 2019 WL 3071851, at *2 (S.D. Ohio July 15, 2019). Generally a party has no standing to quash a subpoena directed at a nonparty unless the party seeking to quash claims "a personal right or privilege with regards to the documents sought." Id. (quoting 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)). Only a party to whom a subpoena is directed has standing to oppose it. Waite et a!., 2013 WL 146362, at *5.

         Here, the subpoena issued by plaintiff is directed towards Spooner, a nonparty, and Spooner has not attempted to oppose or quash the information sought in the subpoena. Defendant was not the party that was served with the subpoena, and it has not articulated a personal right or privilege regarding the information sought in the Spooner subpoena. The party seeking to quash a subpoena bears a heavy burden of proof that a personal right or privilege over the documents sought exists and must make more than a conclusory assertion of an interest or privilege. Schaumleffel, 2019 WL 3071851, at *2 (internal quotations omitted). In its reply brief, defendant solely argues that the subpoena to Spooner was served in violation of the discovery deadline and does not directly address whether or not it has standing to quash the subpoena. (See Doc. 55). In any event, all issues involving the discovery deadline are now moot given that the Court has ordered that the discovery deadline is extended. (See Doc. 57). Defendant has not met its burden of showing it has standing to quash the subpoena directed toward Spooner, a nonparty.

         Even if defendant did have standing to move to quash the Spooner subpoena, the Court concludes that the information sought in the subpoena is relevant and discoverable under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). "Rule 45 does not list irrelevance or overbreadth as reasons for quashing a subpoena. Courts, however, have held that the scope of discovery under a subpoena is the same as the scope of discovery under Rule 26.” Hendricks v. Total Quality Logistics, LLC,275 F.R.D. 251, 253 (S.D. Ohio 2011) (quoting Barrington v. Mortage IT, Inc., No. 07-61304, 2007 WL 4370647, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 10, 2007)). Under the federal rules, parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is ...


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