United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
L. Christensen, Chief District Judge United States District
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Compel
Discovery (Doc. 34) and Motion for Extension of Time to File
Damage Expert Disclosures (Doc. 41). Plaintiffs oppose these
motions. Nevertheless, the Court will grant the motions and
order Plaintiffs to appear for oral depositions in Montana at
a time and place convenient to counsel for Defendants.
mentioned, Defendants move to compel Plaintiffs Richard and
Valerie Stamey to appear for depositions in Montana, the
venue in which Plaintiffs filed their Complaint. Plaintiffs
oppose the motion and move in return for a protective order
allowing them to appear by video teleconference. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c) (“The court may, for good cause,
issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense.”). Plaintiffs, who presumably reside in South
Carolina,  offer three reasons in support of
depositions by teleconference: (1) convenience; (2) the
possibility that Plaintiff Valerie Stamey will be harassed by
the news media at her deposition; and (3) the possibility
that the juror pool will be prejudiced by the resulting
negative news coverage.
Rule of Civil Procedure 30 allows for deposition by oral
questions. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(1). Generally, a
“plaintiff will be required to make himself available
for examination in the district in which he has brought
suit.” Detweiler Bros., Inc. v. John Graham &
Co., 412 F.Supp. 416, 422 (E.D. Wash. 1976) (quoting
Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and
Procedure vol. 8A, §2112, 527-528 (3d ed., West
2012). “The basis for requiring plaintiff to come to
the forum for the taking of his or her deposition in most
cases is that plaintiff has selected the forum.” Wright
et al., Federal Practice and Procedure at 531.
However, this is merely a general rule, “and is not
adhered to if plaintiff can show good cause for not being
required to come to the district where the action is
pending.” Id. at 528. Examples of good cause
include: (1) the plaintiff is physically or financially
unable to come to the forum; (2) undue hardship to the
plaintiff; and (3) when it would be simpler and fairer to
take the deposition at the plaintiff's place of
residence. Id. at 528-530.
aside from convenience to the Stameys, the Court finds
Plaintiffs' arguments in opposition to the motion to be
entirely speculative and lacking in good cause. First, it is
unclear to the Court how the news media would learn of the
location of Plaintiffs' deposition. Undoubtedly, this
information would be kept confidential by the parties. Thus,
there is little risk that Plaintiffs will be harassed by the
news media at their depositions. Second, any resulting media
exposure as a result of this litigation can be dealt with
through juror selection and screening. The Court sees no
evidence that requiring Plaintiffs to appear for their
deposition will prejudice the juror pool. Further, any
convenience to the Stameys in allowing their deposition by
video conference is outweighed by the benefits of a live
deposition. The Court agrees with Defendants that an
in-person deposition will allow defense counsel to
“evaluate the Plaintiff, facilitate examination of
documents and cross-examine without fear that someone outside
the view of the camera is prompting answers to
questions.” (Doc. 40 at 3.) The Court will thus grant
Defendants motion, deny Plaintiffs' motion for a
protective order, and compel Plaintiffs Richard and Valerie
Stamey to appear for deposition in Montana at a time and
place convenient to counsel for Defendants.
Defendants also move to extend the time for disclosure of
their damage experts. Defendants request an extension of 30
days following Plaintiffs' depositions. The basis for
this motion is that, as discussed above, Defendants have been
unable to depose Plaintiffs and thus have not yet been able
to retain or prepare a damage expert. Consequently,
Defendants request that they be allowed to disclose their
damage experts 30 days after Plaintiffs have been deposed.
Court finds good cause for the motion and will grant it.
However, the Court stresses that it is only granting an
extension for disclosure of Defendants' damages expert.
Plaintiffs, who have apparently failed to comply with the
Court's deadline of August 1, 2017, for disclosure of
Plaintiffs' damages experts (Doc. 33), have not joined in
this motion or otherwise moved for an extension to this
deadline. Because this deadline has come and gone, and no
extension was sought, none will be given to Plaintiffs.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' Motion for Discovery (Doc.
34) is GRANTED and Plaintiffs' Motion for a Protective
Order (Doc. 37) is DENIED. Plaintiffs Richard and Valerie
Stamey are COMPELLED to appear for oral deposition in Montana
at a time and place convenient to counsel for Defendants.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Motion for Extension of
Time to File Expert Disclosure (Doc. 41) is GRANTED.
Defendants shall file their expert disclosure thirty (30)
days after Plaintiffs have been deposed.
 Though Plaintiffs' Second Amended
Complaint alleges diversity subject matter jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), it fails to expressly name the
state in which Plaintiffs reside and only alleges that the
parties are “citizens of different states . . .
.” (Doc. 27.) Further, a civil cover sheet filed at the
time of the original Complaint vaguely states that the
Plaintiffs reside in the county of “Greenvile.”
(Doc. 1-1.) Thus, the record is unclear as to Plaintiffs'
exact residence. However, a newspaper article cited in
Plaintiffs' response to the Motion for Discovery states
that Defendant ...