United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
LIFE TREE TRADING, PTE. LTD., Plaintiff,
WASHAKIE RENEWABLE ENERGY, LLC, Defendant.
J. Shelby District Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
M. WARNER, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Judge Robert J. Shelby referred this case to Chief Magistrate
Judge Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Before the court are (1) Defendant
Washakie Renewable Energy, LLC's (“Washakie”)
motion for a protective order and to quash
subpoenas;(2) a motion to quash and for protective
order filed by WRE Truck Stop 100 LLC; WRE Chemical and
Pharmaceutical, LLC; WRE Feed and Mill, LLC; and WRE Real
Estate Holdings, LLC (collectively, “WRE
Parties”); and (3) Plaintiff Lifetree Trading, Pte.
Ltd.'s (“Lifetree”) motion for order of
contempt. The court has carefully reviewed the
written memoranda submitted by the parties on the
above-referenced motions. Pursuant to Civil Rule 7-1(f) of
the Rules of Practice for the United States District Court
for the District of Utah, the court has concluded that oral
argument is not necessary and will decide the motions on the
basis of the written memoranda. See DUCivR 7-1(f).
The court will address the motions in turn.
Washakie's Motion for a Protective Order and to Quash
Washakie seeks to quash four deposition subpoenas Lifetree
served upon the WRE Parties. Washakie argues that Lifetree
did not provide notice to Washakie concerning the depositions
before issuing the subpoenas, as required by Rule 30(b)(1).
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(1) (“A party who
wants to depose a person by oral questions must give
reasonable written notice to every other party.”).
Washakie also contends that when Lifetree did not provide
notice of the depositions to Washakie, Lifetree also failed
to comply with Rule 30(b)(2), which requires that “[i]f
a subpoena duces tecum is to be served on the deponent, the
materials designated for production, as set out in the
subpoena, must be listed in the notice or in an
attachment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(2). Washakie further
asserts that Lifetree's counsel failed to confer with
Washakie's counsel concerning the scheduling of the
depositions before issuing the subpoenas.
subpoenas in question scheduled the four depositions of the
WRE Parties for June 28 and 29, 2018. As of the date of this
order, those dates have passed and, according to Lifetree,
the depositions did not occur on those dates. Accordingly,
there is no need to quash the subpoenas. Therefore,
Washakie's motion is moot.
court notes that Lifetree subsequently issued deposition
subpoenas to the WRE Parties, with notice to Washakie,
rescheduling the four depositions for dates in July 2018
(collectively, “Subpoenas”). The court is
unaware whether those depositions went forward as scheduled.
In its reply memorandum in support of its motion, Washakie
argues that Lifetree's counsel failed to consult with
Washakie's counsel regarding the scheduling of those
depositions and, accordingly, the Subpoenas should be
quashed. Importantly, however, Washakie has not filed a
separate motion to quash the Subpoenas. The court will not
entertain Washakie's request without a separate motion.
Nevertheless, Lifetree's counsel is hereby notified that
for any future depositions, it shall endeavor to consult with
Washakie's counsel concerning the scheduling of
depositions, as required by the Utah Standards of
Professionalism and Civility. See DUCivR 83-1.1(g)
(adopting the Utah Standards of Professionalism and Civility
for attorney conduct in cases and proceedings in this court).
final matter, the court notes the parties' apparent
disagreement as to whether Washakie is permitted to attend
the depositions of the WRE Parties. Because it is unclear
whether Washakie has indeed been prevented from participating
in those depositions, that issue is not ripe for court
consideration. If either party feels that issue needs to be
resolved, that party should file an appropriate motion with
WRE Parties' Motion to Quash and for Protective
WRE Parties seek to quash the Subpoenas. The WRE Parties
argue that the Subpoenas subject them to an undue burden.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(d)(3)(A)(iv) (requiring the
court to quash or modify a subpoena that “subjects a
person to undue burden”). In support of their motion,
the WRE Parties present several arguments as to why
compliance with the Subpoenas is unduly burdensome. The court
will address those arguments in turn.
the WRE Parties assert that they are no longer in business
and have ceased operations. The court is unable to see how
that argument supports a showing of undue burden. Moreover,
as argued by Lifetree, if the WRE Parties are in fact out of
business, the need for a response to the Subpoenas is crucial
before documents are potentially lost, individuals become
unavailable, or assets are potentially dissipated.
the WRE Parties contend that they have no assets. Lifetree
correctly notes that it is unclear whether the WRE Parties
are seeking relief because they cannot afford to respond to
the Subpoenas or because they have no assets to satisfy the
underlying judgment in this case if they are found to be
liable for the judgment. Regardless of the reason, the court
concludes that the WRE Parties have failed to show that the
Subpoenas impose an undue burden. It appears that the cost of
responding to the Subpoenas would be minimal. Additionally,
the fact that the WRE Parties may have insufficient assets to
satisfy a judgment does not excuse them from complying with
the WRE Parties assert that they have very limited
information that is responsive to the Subpoenas. That
argument does nothing to demonstrate undue burden. To the
contrary, if the WRE Parties have ...