Monday, January 22, 2007

Baron Financial Corp. v. Natanzon (Maryland U.S.D.C.)

Decided December 13, 2006 – Opinion of Judge Susan K. Gauvey

Plaintiff had sued the named Defendant in the above caption above and multiple other defendants and filed a Second Amended Complaint in that case ("the 2004 case"), one of defendants (an attorney, "Rombro") had obtained a dismissal of all counts against him. Plaintiff subsequently filed a new complaint against Rombro ("the 2006 case"), for which Rombro intended to seek a dismissal or summary judgment due to collateral estoppel or res judicata. The general subject matter of both suits was Plaintiff's claims of tortuous and contractual harm arising out of Plaintiff's claims of security interests in certain merchant accounts of one of the Defendants.

After Rombro's dismissal from the 2004 case but before service of process on Rombro of the 2006 case Complaint, Plaintiff sought to depose Rombro as a non-party witness regarding the 2004 case, and Rombro sought a protective order against such deposition, on the grounds that it was inter alia, a mere "fishing expedition" and an attempt to "sidestep" the terms of his dismissal as a defendant from the 2004 case.

After a teleconference with counsel, the Court held that Rombro had not met the burden of "good cause" to merit a general protective order against a non-party witness deposition under Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("FRCP"), noting that the burden was a high burden, that protective orders were to be granted sparingly and cautiously and that Rombro was likely to have considerable information relevant to the 2004 case. The Court passed an order allowing the deposition to proceed but set conditions and limits as to its promptness and duration.

The full opinion and order are available in PDF.

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