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Rucker v. Air Ventures Hawaii, LLC

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 27, 2017

KATRINA RUCKER, Plaintiff,
v.
AIR VENTURES HAWAII, LLC, Defendant. STARR ADJUSTMENT SERVICES, INC., Petitioner,
v.
KATRINA RUCKER, Respondent. Misc. No. 17-00133 DKW-KSC

          ORDER GRANTING (1) DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO QUASH PLAINTIFF'S SUBPOENAS DATED APRIL 14, 2017 AND (2) STARR ADJUSTMENT SERVICES, INC.'S MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA DATED APRIL 18, 2017

          KEVIN S.C. CHANG, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court are (1) Defendant Air Ventures Hawaii, LLC's (“Air Ventures”) Motion to Quash Plaintiff's Subpoenas Dated April 14, 2017 and (2) Starr Adjustment Services, Inc.'s (“Starr”) Motion to Quash Subpoena Dated April 18, 2017. These matters came on for hearing on June 27, 2017. Katrina Rucker appeared pro se by telephone;[1] Stephen Dyer, Esq., appeared on behalf of Air Ventures; and Lyle Hosoda, Esq., appeared on behalf of Starr.

         After careful consideration of the Motions, the arguments of Ms. Rucker and counsel, and the applicable law, the Court HEREBY GRANTS the Motions for the reasons stated below.

         BACKGROUND

         Between April 14 and 18, 2017, Ms. Rucker mailed (via certified mail) subpoenas to Air Ventures, [2] commanding the production of documents by April 28, 2017. The subpoenas were addressed to Air Ventures' (1) General Manager Jill Briley; (2) liability insurance company adjuster Shari Thompson; and (3) pilots Eric Johnson, Brian Fitchett, Paul Fulghum, and Harry Dalsay. With respect to Messrs. Johnson, Fitchett, Fulghum, and Dalsay, the subpoenas requested “[a]ll school records (elementary to present), all psychological evaluations, church records, military records, a fifty year employment history list, and all safety training classes attended. Bank records January 2014 to present.” Air Ventures' Mot., Ex. A. The same information was requested of Ms. Briley, along with 39 additional categories of documents. Id. Ms. Thompson was asked to produce “[a]ll files, claims, records, communications, documents, transcripts, emails, electronically stored information, photos, video, and any or all materials related to Air Ventures Hawaii LLC.” Id. The subpoenas were received on or around April 24, 2017.

         By letter dated April 19, 2017, Ms. Rucker requested that the Clerk of Court issue the subject subpoenas. Civil No. 16-00492 KSC, Doc. No. 86. The Clerk of Court issued the subpoena directed to Mr. Fitchett, but returned the remaining five due to deficiencies with the subpoenas. Id., Doc. No. 87.

         The present Motions followed.

         ANALYSIS

         Air Ventures and Starr move to quash the subject subpoenas for the following reasons: (1) they were not signed by the Clerk of Court; (2) they were improperly served by certified mail; (3) the subpoena addressed to Ms. Thompson misidentified Starr; (4) the subpoenas failed to give sufficient time to comply; (5) the requests are unreasonable and oppressive; and (6) the documents requested of Ms. Thompson constitute trial preparation materials.

         Plaintiff did not file a written opposition to either Motion, [3] though she believes the subpoenas are necessary to obtain discovery and that because Air Ventures has requested certain of her personal and medical records, she is entitled to blanket discovery from the subpoenaed individuals. Ms. Rucker's arguments are without merit and are rejected in their entirety.[4]

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 45(a)(3) requires that the Clerk “issue a subpoena, signed but otherwise in blank, to a party who requests it. That party must complete it before service. An attorney also may issue and sign a subpoena if the attorney is authorized to practice in the issuing court.” Fed. R. Civ. 45(a)(3).

         At the hearing, Ms. Rucker complained about the lack of established procedures for pro se litigants regarding the issuance of subpoenas. The Court has already informed Ms. Rucker that it is not the Court's job, nor the job of district court staff, to counsel her and assist with the prosecution of her case. Jacobsen v. Filler, 790 F.2d 1362, 1364 (9th Cir. 1986) (“First and foremost is that pro se litigants in the ordinary civil case should not be treated more favorably than parties with attorneys of record.”). Throughout the course of this litigation, Ms. Rucker has accused the Court and staff of mistreatment, but that is based on her misapprehension that she is entitled to special treatment, as well as assistance and relief not provided for by the rules. The Federal and/or Local Rules set forth the applicable procedures for conducting discovery, including the issuance of subpoenas. Ms. Rucker, like all other litigants, must consult and follow those rules. Local Rule 83.13 (“Pro se litigants shall abide by all local, federal, and other applicable rules and/or statutes.”).

         FRCP 45(a)(3) requires that a subpoena be signed by the Clerk or by an attorney. The subject subpoenas were not signed by the Clerk and given that Ms. Rucker is not an attorney, her signature alone does not validate the subpoena. Curiously, Ms. Rucker mailed the subject subpoenas to the respective individuals before requesting that the Clerk of Court issue the subpoenas.[5] Although the Clerk of Court issued the ...


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