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Casun Invest, A.G. v. Ponder

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 4, 2019

CASUN INVEST, A.G., a Swiss corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL H. PONDER, LEZLIE GUNN, and NVWS PROPERTIES, LLC, a Nevada limited liability company, Defendants.

          ORDER

          GEORGE FOLEY, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Compel Production of Documents from Non-Parties Weil & Drage, and Christine E. Drage (ECF No. 175), filed on April 24, 2019. Also before the Court is Weil & Drage and Christine E. Drage's Motion to Quash Subpoenas (ECF No. 185) and Motion for Sanctions (ECF No. 186) on May 6, 2019.

         BACKGROUND

         This action concerns the transfer of real property located in Woodside, California that was formerly owned by Plaintiff Casun Invest A.G. (“Casun”). Complaint (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Michael Ponder was an employee and director of Casun and had full authority to convey real property controlled by or belonging to Casun that was located in the United States. On April 17, 2013, Ponder executed a deed purporting to transfer the subject property to NVWS Properties, LLC (“NVWS”), an entity that was formed by Defendant Lezlie Gunn only three weeks before the transfer. Ponder allegedly transferred the property in exchange for $1, 500, 000. Ponder, however, never informed Casun of the transfer or delivered the sales proceeds to it. Plaintiff alleges, on information and belief, that Ponder and Gunn have a close personal relationship. It notes that in addition to forming NVWS in March 2013, Gunn also filed articles of incorporation for Woodside Gate LLC in March 2013, and Ponder serves as a manager of Woodside Gate LLC. Plaintiff alleges claims for constructive trust, equitable lien, and unjust enrichment against NVWS and Gunn. It alleges claims for breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud against Ponder, and a claim for aiding and abetting Ponder's breach of fiduciary duty against NVWS and Gunn. Plaintiff also alleges a claim for civil conspiracy against Ponder, NVWS and Gunn. Defendant Gunn has alleged a Third Party Complaint against Hans-Peter Wild (“Dr. Wild”) for express indemnity pursuant to an agreement that Dr. Wild entered into on April 22, 2015.

         The Court is aware from other actions that Lezlie Gunn filed against Dr. Wild in this district (which were dismissed based upon lack of personal jurisdiction over Dr. Wild), as well as documents filed in this action, see Findings and Recommendation (ECF No. 96), that Ms. Gunn and Dr. Wild were involved in a long term personal and business relationship that ended some time prior to December 21, 2015. Christine E. Drage is an attorney at law, who has served as legal counsel to Dr. Wild and his companies, and who also acted as counsel for Lezlie Gunn prior to the termination of her business and personal relationship with Dr. Wild. Ms. Drage has since become involved in a personal relationship with Dr. Wild, which allegedly did not begin until after the end of Ms. Gunn's personal relationship with Dr. Wild.

         Discovery in this action began in early 2017. The discovery period has been extended three times, due in substantial part to the need to depose Dr. Wild in Switzerland. On March 20, 2019 (fifteen days prior to the close of discovery on April 4, 2019), Defendants obtained the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum directed to attorney Christine Drage and her law firm Weil & Drage which demanded production of the following documents:

1. All documents pertaining to or regarding in any way, Lezlie Gunn, Michael H. Ponder, NVWS Properties, LLC, Casun Invest A.G., and/or the property located at 140 Josselyn Lane, Woodside, California 94062, including but not limited to telephone records, electronic mail, invoices, bills, payments, and/or passport records.
2. All documents pertaining to or regarding in any way, the assets of Lezlie Gunn, Michael H. Ponder, NVWS Properties, LLC, Casun Invest A.G., and/or the property located at 140 Josselyn Lane, Woodside, California 94062, including but not limited to telephone records, electronic mail, invoices, bills, payments, and/or passport records.
3. All documents regarding communications with Hans Peter Wild that pertain to or mention Lezlie Gunn, Michael H. Ponder, NVWS Properties, LLC, Casun Invest A.G., and/or the property located at 140 Josselyn Lane, Woodside, California 94062, including but not limited to emails or electronic communications, such as text messages.
4. All documents regarding communications with Hans Rudolph Wild that pertain to or mention Lezlie Gunn, Michael H. Ponder, NVWS Properties, LLC, Casun Invest A.G., and/or the property located at 140 Josselyn Lane, Woodside, California 94062, including but not limited to emails or electronic communications, such as text messages.
5. All documents regarding communications with Donna DiMaggio.
6. All documents regarding communications with Donna DiMaggio that pertain to or mention Lezlie Gunn, Michael H. Ponder, NVWS Properties, LLC, Casun Invest A.G., and/or the property located at 140 Josselyn Lane, Woodside, California 94062, including but not limited to emails or electronic communications, such as text messages.
7. All emails that Christine Drage drafted, wrote, received or reviewed, in whole or in part, on behalf of Hans Peter Wild.
8. All emails that Christine Drage drafted, wrote, received or reviewed regarding or mentioning in any way Lezlie Gunn, Michael H. Ponder, NVWS Properties, LLC, Casun Invest A.G., and/or the property located at 140 Josselyn Lane, Woodside, California 94062.
9. All documents pertaining to or regarding in any way, Casun Invest, A.G. or the lawsuit styled Casun Invest, A.G. v. Michael H. Ponder, Lezlie Gunn, and NVWS Properties LLC, Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-02924-JCM-GWF, presently pending in ...

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