United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
HEATHER R. OBERDORF and MICHAEL R. OBERDORF, her husband, Plaintiffs,
AMAZON.COM, INC., a Washington Corporation, Defendant.
Matthew W. Brann, United States District Judge
May 30, 2017, Plaintiffs Heather Oberdorf and Michael
Oberdorf (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant Motion
to Compel. This Motion has since been fully briefed
and is ripe for disposition.
this Motion, Plaintiffs ask the Court to compel the
deposition of an Amazon.com representative capable of
providing information on the “Seller Assent to Business
Solutions Agreement” (“Agreement”). In
support thereof, Plaintiffs aver that Defendant
Amazon.com's (“Defendant”) Rule 30(b)(6)
deponent, Mr. Nicholas Denissen, was unprepared to speak
about this document at his May 2, 2017
response, Defendant avers that Plaintiffs' May 30, 2017
Motion, while styled as a Motion to Compel, is in fact a
motion to reopen a discovery period which closed on May 3,
2017. Defendant further argues that the Court
lacks “good cause” to reopen discovery because
Plaintiffs failed to include the Agreement as a topic to be
discussed in its Notice of the Deposition. As such, Mr.
Denissen cannot be deemed an unprepared Rule 30(b)(6)
“It is well established that the scope and conduct of
discovery are within the sound discretion of the trial court
. . . and that after final judgment of the district court . .
. our review is confined to determining if that discretion
has been abused.” Marroquin-Manriquez v.
I.N.S., 699 F.2d 129, 134 (3d Cir. 1983) (Aldisert, J.).
“To find such abuse it is usually necessary to conclude
that there has been an interference with a substantial right
. . . or that the discovery ruling is seen to be a gross
abuse of discretion resulting in fundamental unfairness in
the trial of the case.” Id. Thus, the United
States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has forewarned
litigants that it “will not interfere with a trial
court's control of its docket except upon the clearest
showing that the procedures have resulted in actual and
substantial prejudice to the complaining litigant.”
In re Fine Paper Antitrust Litig., 685 F.2d 810,
817-18 (3d Cir. 1982) (Aldisert, J.). 5. Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 16(b)(4) provides that a scheduling order may
be modified “for good cause and with the judge's
consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). “This authority
extends to requests to reopen discovery.” In Re
Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation, 2013 WL
3873225, *2 (M.D. Pa. July 25, 2013) (Connor, J.) (citing
Aamco Transmissions, Inc. v. Marino, 1991 WL 40336 (E.D.
Pa. Mar. 19, 1991)). This standard is significantly more
stringent than the standard in Rule 15(a)(2) which provides
that courts should “freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.” Race Tires Am., Inc. v.
Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 614 F.3d 57, 84 (3d Cir.
2010) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2))). A
movant's “due diligence” is essential in
establishing good cause. Race Tires, 614 F.3d at 84;
see also Brown v. American Sintered Technologies,
2015 WL 917293 (M.D. Pa. March 3, 2015) (Brann, J.) (the
“good cause standard hinges on diligence of the
movant.” Venetec Inter., Inc. v. Nexus Med.,
LLC, 541 F.Supp.2d 612, 618 (D. Del. 2008)).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) provides that
[A] party may name as the deponent a public or private
corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental
agency, or other entity and must describe with reasonable
particularity the matters for examination. The named
organization must then designate one or more officers,
directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who
consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the
matters on which each person designated will testify. A
subpoena must advise a nonparty organization of its duty to
make this designation. The persons designated must testify
about information known or reasonably available to the
Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6). A Rule 30(b)(6) corporate designee
must “take a conscientious good faith endeavor to
designate the persons having knowledge of the matters sought
. . . and to prepare those persons in order that they can
answer fully, completely, unevasively, the questions posed .
. . as to the relevant subject matters.” Costa v.
County of Burlington, 254 F.R.D. 187, 189(D.N.J.
2008)(quoting Harris v. New Jersey, 259 F.R.D. 89,
92 (D.N.J. 2007)). This duty “goes beyond matters
personally known to the designee or to matters in which the
designee was personally involved, and if necessary the
deponent must use documents, past employees or other
resources to obtain responsive information.”
Harris, 259 F.R.D. at 92-93.
Having reviewed the submissions of both parties, I find that
Plaintiffs have failed to show “good cause”
necessary to reopen the discovery period, and in turn modify
a prior scheduling order. First, I specifically note that
Plaintiffs' Rule 30(b)(6) Notice of Deposition outlined
the following topics for examination at Mr. Denissen:
a. Nature of the relationship between Defendant Amazon.com
and individuals and entities who sell products through
Amazon.com pursuant to an Amazon ...