United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Protective Order [Doc. No. 164]. The Court held a hearing on
the motion on October 16, 2019, at which counsel presented
their arguments. For the reasons stated below, the motion is
was served with a Rule 30(b)(6) Notice of Deposition.
Plaintiff objected to many of the noticed topics, and the
parties have resolved a number of the disputed topics. A
revised Notice reflecting the revisions was sent. The
remaining issues are whether Defendants may probe into
Plaintiff's relationship with any of its other suppliers
and whether Defendants may inquire into Plaintiff's
ownership and efforts to sell or transfer any ownership
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 sets forth the scope of discovery
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1).
parties and the court have a collective responsibility to
consider the proportionality of all discovery and consider it
in resolving discovery disputes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26
advisory committee's notes to 2015 amendment).
standard of relevance in the context of discovery is broader
than in the context of admissibility” but “[s]ome
threshold showing of relevance must be made before parties
are required to open wide the doors of discovery and to
produce a variety of information which does not reasonably
bear upon the issues in the case.” Hofer v. Mack
Trucks, Inc., 981 F.2d 377, 380 (8th Cir. 1992).
“The party who served the discovery must show why the
information is important to the issues and the party opposing
... must quantifiably explain the burden of providing the
requested information.” Vallejo v. Amgen,
Inc., 903 F.3d 733, 740 (8th Cir. 2018) (quoting
magistrate judge's order).
26(b)(2) provides that a court “may alter the limits in
these rules on the number of depositions and interrogatories
or on the length of depositions under Rule 30.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(A). “By order or local rule, the
court may also limit the number of requests under Rule
36.” Id. In addition, “[o]n motion or on
its own, the court must limit the frequency or extent of
discovery otherwise allowed by these rules or by local rule
if it determines that ... the proposed discovery is outside
the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P.
party seeks a protective order, “[t]he court may, for
good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from
... undue burden or expense, including one or more of the
following ... (A) forbidding the disclosure or discovery; (B)
specifying terms, including time and place or the allocation
of expenses, for the disclosure or discovery; (C) prescribing
a discovery method other than the one selected by the party
seeking discovery; (D) forbidding inquiry into certain
matters, or limiting the scope of disclosure or discovery to
certain matters ....” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1).
burden is on the movant to show the “good cause”
required for issuance of the protective order. Gen.
Dynamics Corp. v. Selb Mfg. Co., 481 F.2d 1204, 1212
(8th Cir. 1973). “To make this showing, the moving
party cannot rely on broad or conclusory allegations of
harm.” Northbrook Digital, LLC v. Vendio Servs.,
Inc., 625 F.Supp.2d 728, 757 (D. Minn. 2008) (citing
Gulf Oil Co. v. Bernard, 452 U.S. 89, 102 n.16
(1981)). Information is generally discoverable “unless
it is clear that the information sought has no bearing upon
the subject matter of the action.” Sinco, Inc. v. B
& O Mfg., Inc., Civ. No. 03-5277, 2005 WL 1432202,
at *1 (D. Minn. May 23, 2005)). The Eighth Circuit has held,
nonetheless, that the proponent of the discovery must make a
“threshold showing of relevance ... before parties are
required to open wide the doors of discovery, ” in
order to limit “fishing expeditions in
discovery.” Hofer v. Mack Trucks, Inc., ...