United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
CAILIN NICOLE SOLOFF Pro Se, DYLAN MICHAEL SOLOFF Pro Se As Beneficiaries of The 1978 Irrevocable Deed Of Trust Meghan Ellen Holtz Soloff, The 1994 Irrevocable Deed of Trust of Meghan Ellen Holtz Soloff, A.M.M.T- A Family Limited Partnership, Custodial Account of Cailin Nicole Soloff, Custodial Account, Plaintiffs,
EDWARD J. AUFMAN, WILLIAM J. GAFFEY, AUFMAN ASSOCIATES, INC. Defendants.
J. Schwab United States District Judge.
the Court are four Motions and Responses. All four will be
addressed, seriatim, below. Because the Court writes
primarily for the benefit of the Parties, no factual
background is necessary.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions and to Compel Discovery
(doc. no. 50) and Defendants'
Response in Opposition (doc. no. 57)
filed a Motion for Sanctions claiming that they are entitled
to documents which are within the Defendants' custody,
but which Defendants have refused to produce. Specifically,
Plaintiffs note that Defendants refused to produce documents
related to, “the 1978 Irrevocable Deed of Trust of
Meghan Ellen Holtz, the 1994 Irrevocable Deed of Trust of
Meghan Ellen Holtz, a Vanguard Account belonging to the
Trust, a Grandchildren's Trust, a PNC agency account
transferred into the Trust, a Family Limited Partnership AMMT
Partners LP, AMM&T Partners LP, Holtz Holdings and
any/all accounts and documents in the name of either the
Holtz or Soloff Family[.]” Plaintiffs cite the portion
of the 1940 Investment Advisors Act, 15 U.S.C. 80b-3, for the
types of documents they expected the Defendants to provide to
responded to this Motion by noting that they have already
produced “over 7, 000 pages of documents in Response to
Plaintiffs' requests for production, records from the
State Court proceeding, and emails dating back to 2012.
Defendants explain that some emails produced include emails
from Plaintiffs' grandfather, notifying Plaintiffs that
their mother wanted to use some money from Plaintiffs'
trust funds. Upon receiving approval from Plaintiffs,
Plaintiffs' grandfather authorized Defendant Aufman to
make the monetary transfer. Defendants explain the
authorization flowed from Plaintiffs to their grandfather,
and not to Defendants. In light of these facts,
“authorizations” were not issued by Defendants,
and they have no documents responsive to such requests, thus
the Court will not production thereof.
Plaintiffs seek documents which belong to other clients of
Defendants. Although those “other clients” happen
to be Plaintiffs' grandparents and corporate entities
which their grandparent(s) control, the Court concurs that
Plaintiffs need to subpoena these documents. They are not
automatically entitled to these documents through discovery.
Similarly, although Plaintiffs presented Defendants with a
release signed by Meghan Ellen Holtz Soloff (Plaintiffs'
mother), Defendants' claim it is the grandparent(s) who
own and control the documents in Defendants' possession.
Thus, this Court that absent an authorization from the
grandparent(s) or a subpoena, Defendants are not required to
produce these documents through discovery.
because the Court finds that Defendants have produced those
documents which must be produced in order to comply with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure concerning discovery, as
well as this Court's Orders on the subject, sanctions are
not appropriate. Therefore, Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel
and for Sanctions (doc. no. 50) will be denied.
Defendants' Motion to Strike Attachment No. 1 to the
Amended Complaint (doc. no. 52)
Plaintiff's Response thereto (doc. no.
Defendants filed a Motion to Strike Attachment no. 1 to the
Amended Complaint. This document is styled “Amended
Answers to Affirmative Defenses.” Plaintiffs do not
need to respond to Defendants' Affirmative Defenses. This
document filed by Plaintiffs will be stricken, and thus
Defendants' Motion will be granted.
Defendants' Motion to Compel (doc. no.
54) and Plaintiff's Response in
Opposition (doc. no. 59)
allege that they have not, to date, received formal Responses
to their Requests for Production of Documents, although
pro se plaintiff, Cailin Soloff, did produce
documents and “informally served a list generally
categorizing [those] documents.” Doc. no. 54,
p. 2. Defendants further allege that they “cannot
determine what documents Plaintiffs actually have in their
possession, custody, and control.” In addition,
Defendants allege that, “Plaintiffs have stated that
they have additional documents and materials in their
possession, custody and control which they have deliberately
refused to produce.” Defendants reference doc. no.
43, filed by Plaintiffs, wherein it appears that
Plaintiffs are filing responses to Defendants' objections
set forth in their discovery responses, probably
Defendants' Responses to Plaintiffs' request for
Production and/or Answers to Interrogatories. Finally,
Defendants suggest that Plaintiffs' alleged withholding
of documentation impedes their ability to have a meaningful
Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”) with attorney,
Court agrees that Plaintiffs must comply with Fed.R.Civ.P.
34(a)(2)(B), and they must supply Defendants with full and
complete written Responses to Defendants' Requests for
Production of Documents. Any Request to which Plaintiffs have
already supplied documents, their Response should so state.
In addition, their Response to each Request should also
indicate (either by Bates number or thorough description)
precisely which document(s) previously produced are
responsive to that Request.
any document(s) that Plaintiffs possess or have control over
which have not yet been produced, should be produced
if they are, in fact, responsive to any one or more of the
Defendants' Requests for Production. Moreover, Plaintiffs
must set forth in their Responses to Defendants' Requests
for Production which new document(s) (either by Bates number
or thorough description), are responsive to which Request(s).
this Court does not agree with Defendants that a
meaningful ENE take place without the production of the
allegedly missing documents. The purpose of this ENE - like
others - is to have a neutral third party with expertise in
the area of law at issue in the case, review the claims and
defenses asserted in the case, and provide the Parties with
an Opinion on the strengths and/or weaknesses of their claims
and defenses. Given that 7, 000 documents have been produced
by Defendants and an unknown number produced ...