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Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters v. Yoshimura

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

February 17, 2017

HAWAII REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS, AND UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINDERS OF AMERICA, LOCAL 745, Plaintiffs,
v.
LANCE YOSHIMURA, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT LANCE YOSHIMURA'S MOTION TO MODIFY SUBPOENA

          Kevin S.C. Chang United States Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Lance Yoshimura's Motion to Modify Subpoena, filed October 7, 2016. Plaintiffs Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joinders of America, Local 745 filed an Opposition on November 30, 2016. Defendant filed a Reply on December 7, 2016.

         This matter came on for hearing on February 15, 2017. Kurt Klein, Esq. and Jessica Wan, Esq. appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs. James Wade, Esq. and Richard Wilson, Esq. appeared on behalf of Defendant. After careful consideration of the parties' submissions, the applicable law, and the arguments of counsel, the Court HEREBY GRANTS the Motion for the reasons set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs commenced this action against Defendant, alleging that he violated his fiduciary duties and violated the Federal Wiretap Statute. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant stole union records and made secret illegal recordings. Defendant was Plaintiffs' employee from 2000 until March 7, 2014, when he was terminated for violating whistleblowing laws.

         On September 22, 2016, Plaintiffs served subpoenas to produce documents upon AT&T and T-Mobile, requesting Defendant's cell phone records; specifically “a complete call detail report and text messaging from January 1, 2013 to present.”[1] Mem. in Supp. of Mot., Ex. 1. October 14, 2016 was the assigned compliance date for both subpoenas.

         On October 7, 2016, Defendant filed this Motion.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         When a party or attorney issues a subpoena, he or she “must take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on a person subject to the subpoena.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(1). Any order compelling production or inspection following an objection to a subpoena “must protect a person who is neither a party nor a party's officer from significant expense resulting from compliance.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(2)(B).

         A subpoenaed party may move to quash or modify subpoenas on various grounds. On timely motion, a court must quash or modify a subpoena that: “(i) fails to allow a reasonable time to comply; (ii) requires a person to comply beyond the geographical limits specified in Rule 45(c); (iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no exception or waiver applies; or (iv) subjects a person to undue burden.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(A). On the other hand, a court may quash or modify a subpoena if it requires: “disclosing a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(B)(i). “[A] court determining the propriety of a subpoena balances the relevance of the discovery sought, the requesting party's need, and the potential hardship to the party subject to the subpoena.” Am. Broad. Cos., Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., No. CV-12-80300-RMW, 2013 WL 1508894, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 10, 2013).

         DISCUSSION

         Defendant moves to modify the time period set out in the subject subpoenas to relate to the time period relevant to Plaintiffs' claims - “January 1, 2013 to March 7, 2014”. Alternatively, Defendant proposes “January 1, 2013 to June 7, 2014” because he was voted out of union office on June 7, 2014. Defendant asserts the following bases to support modification: 1) once he was terminated (or left union office), he could no longer steal records or make surreptitious recordings; 2) the subpoenas are unduly burdensome; and 3) the subpoenas are designed to harass inasmuch as Plaintiffs have already received relevant records from discovery in state court.

         Plaintiffs counter that Defendant lacks standing to modify the subpoenas; that the requested information is relevant because Defendant continued to make audio recordings even as recently as October 2015; and that the requested phone records ...


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