Plaintiff Sarah Hernandez’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Protective Order and Monetary Sanctions is granted.

Code of Civil Procedure section 2017.020, subdivision (a) provides in relevant part: “The court shall limit the scope of discovery if it determines that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness of that discovery clearly outweighs the likelihood that the information sought will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

Defendant Recovery Institute of America, LLC (“Defendant”) served second sets of special interrogatories (nos. 141-150) and requests for production (nos. 12-16). Defendant contends the information sought would tend to prove or disprove:

  1. That $65,000 was actually withdrawn from Plaintiff’s account when the personal check she wrote to defendant Daniel Case cleared on or about May 8, 2016;
  2. After the $65,000 was withdrawn, Plaintiff was left without sufficient personal funds to seek professional addiction treatment at another facility, thereby exacerbating her addiction and emotional injuries; and
  3. That Plaintiff’s family, including her four children, have suffered financial hardship and have been unable to pay $20,000 plus worth in bills.

 

The interrogatories at issue ask for information such as, Plaintiff’s primary Wells Fargo banking location, the date her account was opened and closed, and whether any attempts were made to stop payment on the $65,000 check (no. 1018). Similarly, the requests for production ask for documents that would for example, show all withdrawals from, deposits into, and activity on the account during May and June 2016, and the account balance on May 1, 2016, i.e., before check no. 1018 was issued or cashed. The discovery requests are unjustifiably overbroad or would not elicit the information Defendant purportedly needs to prove or disprove the three points listed above.

Plaintiff has already produced the cancelled check at issue, no. 1018, and a redacted bank statement reflecting a withdrawal from the account for check no. 1018.  Moreover, Defendant Case has already admitted in his deposition that he “cashed” the check. It is unclear why Defendant needs further evidence that the $65,000 was actually withdrawn from Plaintiff’s account and what additional documents could be produced that have not already been produced.

Plaintiff has shown good cause for the protective order requested. The discovery at issue constitutes an unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment or burden, not outweighed by the benefits likely to be obtained if they are answered.  It is ordered that Plaintiff Sarah Hernandez is not required to respond Defendant Recovery Institute of America LLC’s (1) Special Interrogatories, Set Two; and (2) Request for Production of Documents, Set Two.

Sanctions in the amount of $1,710 are awarded to Plaintiff Sarah Hernandez and against Defendant, and payable to the Law Offices of M. David Meagher within 30 days of the notice of ruling. ( Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.090, subd. (d), 2031.060, subd. (h).)

Plaintiff shall give notice of the ruling.

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