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Williams v. LVNV Funding LLC

June 29, 2010

DEBRA WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LVNV FUNDING LLC, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tucker, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Compel the Depositions of Corporate Representatives of Defendants, LVNV Funding LLC ("LVNV") and Abrahamsen & Associates, P.C. ("Abrahamsen"), and to Compel Full and Complete Responses to Discovery from Defendant Abrahamsen (Doc. 13); Defendants' Responses in Opposition thereto (Docs. 14 & 16); Defendant Abrahamsen's Motion for Protective Order (Doc. 17); and, Plaintiff's Response in Opposition thereto (Doc. 19). For the reasons set forth below, this Court will grant in part Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and deny Defendant Abrahamsen's Motion for Protective Order.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Debra Williams ("Plaintiff"), an individual consumer, has brought this action for damages against Defendants, Abrahamsen and LVNV, for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq., and various laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. On January 29 and February 1, 2010, Plaintiff served Defendants, Abrahamsen and LVNV, respectively, with Notices of Deposition pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6). (Pl.'s Mot. ¶¶ 2-3.) The depositions were originally noticed for March 23 and March 24, 2010, but were later rescheduled to May 4, 2010. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶¶ 2-3.) In addition, Plaintiff served written discovery requests, including Interrogatories and Document Requests, on Defendant Abrahamsen on January 29, 2010. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 4.)

On February 25, 2010, Defendant Abrahamsen provided responses to Plaintiff's discovery requests, objecting to several of those requests on the grounds that they are irrelevant, overly broad, burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to discoverable evidence. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 4.) On April 1, 2010, Plaintiff's counsel wrote to Defendant Abrahamsen's counsel seeking full and complete responses to Plaintiff's discovery requests. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 5.) On April 21, 2010, Defendant Abrahamsen's counsel responded that it stood by its objections and would produce certain documents only with a confidentiality agreement. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 5.)

Plaintiff provided Defendants with a settlement demand and offered to postpone the depositions and refrain from filing a motion to compel pending the settlement discussions. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 6.) But, when Plaintiff did not receive any settlement offers from Defendants, Plaintiff's counsel wrote to defense counsel requesting full and complete discovery responses by May 12, 2010, and subsequently agreed to extend that deadline until May 17, 2010. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 7.) When that deadline passed, Plaintiff still had not received a settlement offer, full and complete responses to her discovery requests, or any make-up dates for the depositions. (Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 8.) Therefore, on May 20, 2010, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel based on Defendants' failure to produce corporate representatives for depositions and Defendant Abrahamsen's failure to provide full and complete discovery responses.

DISCUSSION

In her Motion to Compel, Plaintiff seeks an order from the Court compelling: (1) Defendants, Abrahamsen and LVNV, to produce corporate representatives pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b); and (2) Defendant Abrahamsen to provide full and complete responses to Plaintiff's Interrogatories and Document Requests. In response, Defendant LVNV stated that it is willing to set a date for the deposition of its corporate representative, but argues that the deposition should be limited to certain topics in Plaintiff's Notice of Deposition. In addition, Defendant Abrahamsen asserted that it has provided deposition dates to Plaintiff, but maintains objections to some of Plaintiff's discovery requests. The Court will discuss, first, whether Defendant LVNV's corporate representative may be deposed on all of the topics in Plaintiff's Notice of Deposition; and, then whether Defendant Abrahamsen must provide full and complete responses to all of Plaintiff's discovery requests.

I. Deposition of Defendant LVNV's Corporate Representative

Defendant LVNV stated that it will provide proposed dates for the deposition of its corporate representative, but contends that a number of the topics listed in Plaintiff's Notice of Deposition are overly broad, unduly burdensome, oppressive, harassing, irrelevant, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. (LVNV's Resp. ¶ 2.) According to Defendant LVNV, topics 8, 9, and 10 should be excluded from the deposition. Those three topics pertain to collections and court actions brought on behalf of Defendant LVNV in the past five years which were filed in error, filed outside the applicable statute of limitations, or voluntarily terminated. (Pl.'s Mot., Ex. A.) Specifically, those topics concern the following:

(8) all collection and/or court actions brought on behalf of LVNV in the past five years which were filed in error against the incorrect debtor or against a consumer who did not actually owe the debt being collected, (9) all collection and/or court actions brought on behalf of LVNV in the past five years which were filed outside the applicable statute of limitations or which were time-barred, (10) all collection and/or court actions brought on behalf of LVNV in the past five years which were voluntarily terminated or withdrawn. (Pl.'s Mot., Ex. A.) Defendant LVNV also noted that, on May 28, 2010, Defendants provided a settlement offer in response to Plaintiff's demand, and as of June 3, 2010, they have not received a response.

Pursuant to Rule 26(b)(1), a party is entitled to discovery of "any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter in the pending action." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Rule 26(b)(1) also states that the information sought need not be admissible at trial so long as it appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id. Here, the topics listed in Plaintiff's Notice of Deposition concern information that is relevant to the subject matter in this action and not privileged. Specifically, this action arises out of allegations of unlawful debt collection practices. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants brought a time-barred lawsuit against her in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on August 29, 2008 in connection with a disputed debt, and then withdrew the suit several months later after they failed to produce any evidence that the debt belonged to Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶¶ 9, 15-16.)

The disputed topics in the Notice of Deposition pertain to similar collections and court actions brought on behalf of Defendant LVNV in the past five years, which were filed in error, filed outside the applicable statute of limitations, or voluntarily terminated. That information is relevant to the subject matter because it would tend to prove or disprove the allegations supporting Plaintiff's claims for relief. For example, it may be relevant to Plaintiff's allegations that Defendants' acts were done with malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton, and negligent disregard for Plaintiff's rights. (Compl. ΒΆΒΆ 33, 40.) The Court makes no determination as to whether that information would be admissible at trial. It is sufficient for the purpose of a motion to compel that the information appear reasonably calculated to lead to the ...


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