United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' EMERGENCY
MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER TO MODIFY PLAINTIFF'S
SUBPOENAS FOR DEPOSITIONS OF DEFENDANTS (ECF NO. 28)
V. Parker, U.S. District Court Judge.
Chad Hayse initiated this lawsuit against Defendants (1) City
of Melvindale, (2) Melvindale City Council, (3) Nicole
Barnes, (4) Wheeler Marsee, (5) Michelle Said Land, (6) Dave
Cybulski, (7) Carl Louvet, and (8) Steven Densmore for
allegedly failing to provide Plaintiff with procedural due
process under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when Defendants
terminated Plaintiff's employment.
before the Court is Defendants' Emergency Motion for
Protective Order to Modify Plaintiff's Subpoenas for
Depositions of Defendants, filed January 26, 2018. (ECF No.
28). Plaintiff filed a response on January 29, 2018. (ECF No.
30.) For the reasons that follow, the Court denies
Relevant Procedural Background
filed this action on October 6, 2017, alleging deprivation of
procedural due process pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On
November 30, 2017, Defendants' counsel sent a Notice of
Deposition for Plaintiff to appear for a deposition at
Plaintiff's counsel's office on a mutually agreeable
date. (ECF No. 28 at Pg ID 269-70.) On December 7, 2017,
Plaintiff's counsel sent a Notice of Deposition to
Defendants for depositions to take place at her office within
the first two weeks of February. (Id. at Pg ID 270.)
December 15, 2017, Defendants' counsel contacted
Plaintiff's counsel to have Defendants' depositions
take place at either Defendants' counsel's office
located in Ferndale or at the Theodore Levin United States
District courthouse in downtown Detroit. According to
Defendants, those locations are closer and more convenient
than Plaintiff's counsel's office located in
Bloomfield Hills. (Id. at Pg ID 270-71.)
Plaintiff's counsel declined changing the location of the
depositions, stating her office was more convenient because
it is where her servers, staff, and case files are located.
of the continued dispute over the location of the
depositions, Plaintiff's counsel personally served the
individual Defendants with subpoenas to appear for the
depositions. Defendants Land Said and Densmore contacted
Plaintiff's counsel on January 8, 2018 and stated they
would appear at her office for their scheduled depositions on
February 13 and February 19. (Id. at Pg ID 457-58.)
Defendant Nicole Barnes' deposition was scheduled for
February 5, 2018, and Defendant Wheeler Marsee's
deposition was scheduled for February 8, 2018. The remaining
Defendants depositions have not occurred but are scheduled to
occur on February 13, 15, and 19.
Rule of Procedure 26(c) allows the court to issue protective
orders for good cause shown to “protect a party or
person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue
burden or expense, including that the disclosure or discovery
not be had or that the disclosure or discovery be limited to
certain matters.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). The party
seeking a protective order has the burden of showing that
good cause exists for the order. Nix v. Sword, 11
Fed.Appx. 498, 500 (6th Cir. 2001). To show good cause, the
movant must articulate specific facts showing “clearly
defined and serious injury resulting from the discovery
sought and cannot rely on mere conclusory statements.”
Id. (citations and internal quotation marks
failed to establish that good cause requires protecting
Defendants from the depositions scheduled to be held at
Plaintiff's counsel's office. “If the deponent
is a party, then the discoverying party may set the place for
the deposition wherever [she] wishes subject to the power of
the court to grant a protective order under Rule 26(c)
designating a different place.” Trans Pacific Ins.
Co. v. Trans-Pacific Ins. Co., 136 F.R.D. 385, 391 (E.D.
Pa. 1991); see also Powerhouse Licensing, LLC v.
CheckFree Servs. Corp., No. 12-cv-13534, 2013 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 155285, at * 3-5 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 20, 2013);
Dempsey v. Bucknell Univ., No. 4:11-cv-1679, 2013
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135199, at *14 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 23, 2013).
The Court has discretion to determine the place as well as
order the opposing party to pay the expenses. See Trans
Pacific, 136 F.R.D. at 393.
it is clear that counsel for both parties have a contentious
relationship, Defendants' counsel has not provided facts
that demonstrate “serious injury” to Defendants
to prevent the depositions from occurring at Plaintiff's
chosen location. Furthermore, two of the six Defendants have
agreed to appear for depositions at Plaintiff's
counsel's office. Plaintiff's counsel's office is
not a substantial distance from where Defendants' counsel
prefers the depositions to take place, and, is therefore, not
an inconvenience to Defendants. Plaintiff's counsel has
also indicated that she will pay Defendants' mileage.
Defendants' depositions shall take place at
Plaintiff's counsel's office in Bloomfield Hills.