United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO
C. Wells United States Magistrate Judge
matter is referred to the undersigned from Judge Robert
Shelby in accordance with 28 U.S.C. Â§
636(b)(1)(A). Non-party Qualtrics, LLC, seeks to quash
the deposition subpoena issued by Plaintiff United States of
America. Plaintiff seeks to depose Qualtrics “regarding
its role and responsibilities with respect to the surveys
designed by Defendants' expert, Cameron
Steinagel.” The court will deny the motion.
dispute arises in an eminent domain proceeding to determine
the amount of just compensation for property taken within the
U.S. Air Force's Nevada Test and Training
Range.” Qualtrics is a survey research firm that
was retained to conduct online surveys to support claims
“exceeding $100 million.”
Rule of Civil Procedure 45(d)(3), which is cited to by
Qualtrics in its motion, provides:
(3) Quashing or Modifying a Subpoena.
(A) When Required. On timely motion, the court for the
district where compliance is required must quash or modify a
(i) fails to allow a reasonable time to comply;
(ii) requires a person to comply beyond the geographical
limits specified in Rule 45(c);
(iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected
matter, if no exception or waiver applies; or (iv) subjects a
person to undue burden.
argues the subpoena should be quashed for several reasons:
first the deposition is irrelevant and unnecessary; second,
the deposition is duplicative of documents Qualtrics has
provided and of Mr. Steinagel's deposition; finally, the
subpoena is unduly burdensome because it forces the likely
company representative, Harrison Taylor, to take time from
his “revenue-generating activities” and his sales
quotas. Qualtrics notes that it sought to
cooperate with Plaintiff by producing documents, providing
information informally and “agreeing to sit for a
four-hour deposition-from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.-in lieu of
moving to quash.” But, no agreement was reached and this
opposition, Plaintiff asserts the deposition is needed to
evaluate the reliability of the surveys and Qualtrics'
role in their development. Plaintiff asserts that Qualtrics
was more involved in the surveys than what has been
alleged-that Qualtrics merely provided the online platform to
host the surveys approach designed by Defendants. Plaintiff
has also sought to cooperate by reducing the depositions
scope, delaying it to accommodate schedules and offering to
limit the deposition to 3.5 hours “on condition that
Qualtrics' testimony regarding topics 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and
12 proved consistent with counsel's
representations.” Finally, Qualtrics offer of a four-hour
deposition is not workable because it included combined time
for Plaintiffs and Defendants, rather than the separate time
court has reviewed the subpoena and agrees with Plaintiff
that Qualtrics role in the surveys and their reliability are
relevant to the proceedings. Contrary to Qualtrics'
position, the deposition is not irrelevant and unnecessary.
Further, the undersigned is not convinced that the deposition
will be duplicative of documents already offered or Mr.
Steinagel's deposition, because it does not only focus on
Mr. Steinagel's role, but also specifically seeks to test
Qualtrics assertions regarding its role in the survey.
last argument also fails. The burden to demonstrate undue
burden rests with the party resisting
compliance. The burden is not easily met and to
demonstrate undue burden, the subpoenaed party must show that
compliance with the subpoena “would seriously disrupt
its normal business operations.” Here,
Qualtrics has failed to make the required showing.
the court will adopt portions of the proposed solutions
offered by the parties. The court will order a four-hour
deposition of Qualtrics for Plaintiff. Defendant may seek its