United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
C. GRIFFIN, Plaintiff,
UW SYSTEM BOARD OF REGENTS, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
STEPHEN L. CROCKER, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
civil action, pro se plaintiff C. Griffin, a former student
at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is proceeding on a
claim under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against
defendant University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
Before the court are (1) plaintiff's motion to quash the
December 7, 2019 notice of her deposition and request for a
protective order, dkt. 19; and (2) defendant's motion for
an extension of time within which to file dispositive motions
so that they may have time to take plaintiff's
deposition. Dkt. 22. For the reasons below, I am denying
plaintiff's motion and granting defendant's motion.
notice of deposition dated December 4, 2019, defendant
notified plaintiff that her deposition would be taken on
January 10, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. On December 18, 2019,
plaintiff filed a combined motion to quash the deposition
notice and for a protective order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c), arguing that defendant is “attempting to
repeatedly frustrate or prevent legitimate discovery”
and that she needs a protective order with respect to her
deposition “to preclude continued abusive and bad faith
conduct.” Dkt. 19 at 1. Although plaintiff's motion
is confusing, I understand her to be objecting to the fact
that defendant has asked her to appear for her deposition in
Madison instead of in Milwaukee, where she resides. She
explains that she cannot drive, is an inexperienced traveler,
and that arranging public transportation and hotel
accommodations would be unduly burdensome and expensive for
her. Plaintiff asks that the court limit defendant to written
questions or some other “remote means” of taking
the deposition. Plaintiff did not contact defense counsel
about her objections to the deposition before filing her
plaintiff is a party in this lawsuit, defendant may depose
her “by oral questions” without leave of court
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(1), provided that defendant
give plaintiff proper notice under Rule 30(b)(1) and (3),
which defendant did in this case. (Plaintiff's references
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) are not applicable because that
subsection relates to depositions directed to an
organization.) Although a court may order that the deposition
be taken by telephone or other remote means, Fed.R.Civ.P.
30(b)(4), it is not required to do so.
I understand plaintiff's concerns about travel, those
cases in which courts have found that a deposition imposed an
undue burden typically have involved much more significant
impositions on the witness's time or obligations.
Ameritox, Ltd. v. Millennium Health, LLC, 2015 WL
420308, at *2 (W.D. Wis. Feb. 2, 2015) (citing Moore v.
Armour Pharm. Co., 927 F.2d 1194, 1197-98 (11th Cir.
1991) (affirming district court's quashing of subpoena
directed to Centers for Disease Control staff physician
because doctor was needed “in dealing with a national
health crisis”); Jesuits of Missouri Province,
175 F.R.D. 556, 559-60 (D. Kan. 1997) (quashing subpoena
issues on three-days' notice commanding pregnant,
non-party to appear 60 miles from home at 8:00 a.m.); In
re McCorhill Pub. Inc., 91 B.R. 223, 225 (Bankr.
S.D.N.Y. 1988) (quashing subpoena where deponent was in
danger of suffering heart attack or life-threatening
that plaintiff filed her lawsuit in the Western District of
Wisconsin, she should have known that at least some legal
proceedings would necessarily involve her travel to Madison.
While I am sympathetic to plaintiff's proffered stress
about traveling to an unfamiliar city, this does not qualify
as an undue burden that requires quashing the notice of
deposition. There are relatively inexpensive buses running
nonstop between Milwaukee and Madison all day long, with most
Madison stops downtown within a short (and safe) walking
distance of the Wisconsin Department of Justice on the
anticipation of the court's ruling on the motion to
quash, defendant issued an amended notice of deposition for
January 24, 2020 at 10 a.m. If plaintiff has further
concerns, then she should contact defendant's attorney.
Defendant shall make every reasonable accommodation in terms
of location, day of the week and time to ease the burden on
plaintiff, including providing her with an estimate for the
length of the deposition. The parties' January 24, 2020
deadline for filing dispositive motions shall be extended to
February 14, 2020.
Plaintiff C. Griffin's motion for to quash and for a
protective order, dkt. #19, is DENIED.
Defendant UW System Board of Regents's motion for an
extension of the deadline for filing dispositive motions,
dkt. #22, is GRANTED. The parties shall have until ...