United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER (DOCKET NO. 51)
J. KOPPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to quash
Defendants' March 1, 2019, non-party subpoenas. Docket
No. 51. The Court has considered Plaintiff's motion,
Defendants' response, and Plaintiff's reply. Docket
Nos. 51, 59, 60. The Court finds the motion is properly
resolved without a hearing. See Local Rule 78-1. For
the reasons discussed below, the motion to quash is hereby
instant case involves a dispute over a business agreement
between Plaintiff and Defendants, whereby Defendants agreed
to perform consulting services and Plaintiff agreed to pay
for those services. Docket No. 1-1 at 5. The agreement
stipulated that Defendants would provide Plaintiff, a mobile
games company, with services related to various business
objectives such as opening or acquiring an off-shore
development studio, servicing products and features, and
establishing infrastructure required to host a team of
off-shore developers. Id.
motion currently before the Court involves subpoenas served
by Defendants on 27 non-party individuals. Docket Nos.
51-2-51-28. The subpoenas require the production of certain
documents no later than March 14, 2019. Id.
Plaintiff's counsel submits that it has been retained not
only to represent Plaintiff and its current employees, but
also to represent seven other individuals served with
subpoenas; six former employees and one individual who shares
office space with Plaintiff. Docket No. 51 at 2.
Plaintiff's counsel certifies that it has conferred in
good faith with Defendants regarding the issues at hand,
including numerous telephone conversations between March 11,
2019, and March 18, 2019. Docket No. 51-1 at 2-3. Plaintiff
objects to Defendants' subpoenas on the grounds that: (i)
there is no legitimate basis for the breadth and scope of the
subpoenas; (ii) there are significant personal privacy
interests of non-party individuals at stake that need
judicial protection; and (iii) it is impossible to gather and
deliver the sheer volume of documents requested in the time
given to comply. Docket No. 51 at 2.
discretion is vested in the trial court to permit or deny
discovery.” Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732,
751 (9th Cir. 2002); see also Crawford-El v.
Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 598 (1998). Parties are entitled
to discover non-privileged information that is relevant to a
party's claim or defense and is proportional to the needs
of the case, including consideration of the importance of the
issues at stake in the action, the parties' relative
access to relevant information, the parties' resources,
the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1); see
also ATS Prods., Inc. v. Champion Fiberglass, Inc., 309
F.R.D. 527, 530 (N.D. Cal. 2015) (the scope of third-party
discovery is subject to the same limitations). The discovery
process should be cooperative and largely unsupervised by the
court. Sali v. Corona Reg. Med. Ctr., 884 F.3d 1218,
1219 (9th Cir. 2018).
governs the issuance of subpoenas requiring non-parties to
produce designated documents. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
45(a)(1)(A)(iii). A court must grant a timely motion to quash
or modify a subpoena that fails to allow reasonable time to
comply, requires a person to comply beyond the geographical
limits, requires disclosure of privileged or other protected
matter, if no exception or waiver applies, or subjects a
person to undue burden. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
45(d)(3)(A). The movant seeking to quash a subpoena bears the
burden of persuasion. Green v. Baca, 226 F.R.D. 624,
653 (C. D. Cal. 2005). Whether a subpoena is unduly
burdensome depends on the facts of each specific case.
Id. Additionally, “courts have incorporated
relevance as a factor when determining motions to quash a
subpoena, particularly when considering whether there is an
undue burden.” Bird v. PSC Holdings I, LLC,
2013 WL 12108107, at *1 (S. D. Cal. Nov. 20, 2013) (internal
quotations and citation omitted).
is a general rule that only the party to which a subpoena is
directed has standing to challenge that subpoena. E.g.,
Paws Up Ranch, LLC v. Green, 2013 WL 6184940, *2 (D.
Nev. Nov. 22, 2013). The undersigned has noted that there is
a split of authority whether an exception exists to this rule
when the movant has a personal right or privilege in the
information sought. See id.; see also Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A. v. ANC Vista I, LLC, 2015 WL 557069, *2
n.6 (D. Nev. Feb. 11, 2015); Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v.
Iny, 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 62381, *3-4 (D. Nev. May 6,
judges in this District have interpreted the plain language
of Rule 45 as dictating that “only the party subject to
the subpoena may bring a motion to quash.” In re:
Rhodes Cos., 475 B.R. 733, 740-41 (D. Nev. 2012)
(expressly declining to adopt a “personal right or
privilege” standing rule) (Pro, J.); see also Salem
Vegas, L.P. v. Guanci, 2013 WL 5493126, *2-3 (D. Nev.
Sept. 30, 2013) (Hoffman, J.).
other hand, several judges have recognized an exception to
the general standing rule when the movant has a personal
right or privilege in the subpoenaed material. See, e.g.,
Dinkins v. Schinzel, 2017 WL 4183115 (D. Nev. Sept. 19,
2017) (Foley, J.); In re MGM Mirage Securities
Litig., 2014 WL 6675732, *9 (D. Nev. Nov. 25, 2014)
(Ferenbach, J.); Painters Joint Committee v. Employee
Painters Trust Health & Welfare Fund, 2011 WL
4573349, *4 (D. Nev. Sept. 29, 2011) (Leen, J.), amended
on other grounds, 2011 WL 5854714 (D. Nev. Nov. 21,
2011); Copper Sands Home Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Copper
Sands Realty, LLC, 2011 WL 112146, *2 (D. Nev. Jan. 13,
2011) (Leavitt, J.); Diamond State Ins. Co. v. Rebel Oil
Co., 157 F.R.D. 691, 695 (D.Nev.1994) (Johnston, J.).
addition, even assuming there is an exception to the standing
rule when the movant has a personal right or privilege in the
subpoenaed materials, courts are split on whether the
exception allows the movant to advance only objections
directly corresponding to that personal right or privilege.
Compare Diamond State, 157 F.R.D. at 695, with
Copper Sands, 2011 WL 112146, at *2.
subpoenaed current and former employees, as well as
Playstudios' executives Paul Mathews and Andrew Pascal,
to produce documents and communications in response to seven
requests. Docket Nos. 51-2-51-28. These subpoenas seek a
variety of documents and communications related to any
exchanges between the individuals and Plaintiff's
executives, as well as documents or communications related to
a variety of topics, including Plaintiff's business