United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
Christopher Young seeks to quash defendants' subpoena in
this action, arguing that it is overbroad, seeks privileged
materials, and requires him to independently review the
Complaint and make a “determination as to what
constitutes evidence responsive to the allegations of the
Complaint.” Doc. 56 at 2. Defendants respond that Young
failed to contact them prior to filing the motion to quash, a
conference that could have “perhaps short-circuit[ed]
the need to even file a motion.” Doc. 57 at 1. The
Court agrees. Young's “motion packs a lengthy list
of subpoena requests with routine objections [(i.e.,
“overly broad, unduly burdensome, and not limited in
temporal scope, ” privileged, etc., see, e.g.,
doc. 56 at 3)] that should have been resolved
through a meaningful conference.” Conway v. H&R
Block Eastern Enterp., Inc., 2017 WL 2120074 at *3 (S.D.
Ga. May 15, 2017).
clear from their papers that the parties have not met and
conferred -- much less meaningfully so -- to narrow
the scope of their dispute before seeking court
intervention. C.f. S.D. Ga. Loc. R. 26.5(c)
(“Counsel are reminded that Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) and
37(a)(1) require a party seeking a protective order or moving
to compel discovery to certify that a good faith effort has
been made to resolve the dispute before coming to
court.”). They must do so, and return to this Court
only with narrowed, specific, and supported objections to
defendant's subpoena. Put another way, they shall in good
faith (at least by phone if not in person) attempt to resolve
movant's objections without further Court involvement.
Fees will be assessed for any bad faith shown.
Young's motion to quash the subpoena (doc. 56) is
DENIED without prejudice.
 Requiring meaningful consultation can
lead to informal resolution and thus conservation of court
resources. Avera v. United Airlines, Inc., 465 F.
App'x 855, 858-59 (11th Cir. 2012) (magistrate judge did
not abuse his discretion in denying, without prejudice,
plaintiff's motion to compel discovery where plaintiff
had not sought to resolve his discovery dispute with
defendant before filing the motion); Jo Ann Howard &
Associates, P.C. v. Cassity, 2012 WL 1247271, at *8
(E.D. Mo. Apr. 13, 2012) (rejecting compulsion request in
part because “the failure of the parties to communicate
materially impeded their resolution of this
matter.”) (emphasis added).
 The parties are reminded that
The scope of discovery under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) is
broad and includes discovery regarding any matter, not
privileged, which is relevant to the claims or defense of any
party involved in the pending action. Those resisting
discovery must show specifically how the objected-to request
is unreasonable or otherwise unduly burdensome.
Claims and defenses determine discovery's
scope. Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make
the existence of any fact or consequence more or less
probable than it would be without the evidence.
Daniel Def., Inc. v. Remington Arms Co., LLC,
2015 WL 6142883 at * 2 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 19, 2015) (cites and
“The standard for what constitutes relevant
evidence is a low one.” United States v.
Tinoco, 304 F.3d 1088, 1120 (11th Cir. 2002);
McCleod v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., 2014 WL
1616414 at * 3 (S.D. Ga. Apr. 22, 2014) (“Rule 26,
quite simply, sets forth a very low threshold for
relevancy, and thus, the court is inclined to err in favor of
discovery rather than against it.”). The recent changes
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (in particular, Rule
26), although substantive and substantial, do not change the
definition of relevance. Instead, they reemphasize
and highlight requirements already present in the Rules, like
proportionality. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26, advisory
committee note (2015) (“Restoring the proportionality
calculation to Rule 26(b)(1) does not change the existing
responsibilities of the court and the parties to consider
proportionality. . . .”); Sibley v. Choice Hotels
Int'l, 2015 WL 9413101 at * 2 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 22,
2015) (“While proportionality factors have now been
incorporated into the Rule 26(b)(1) definition, those factors
were already a part of Federal discovery standards, appearing
in Rule 26(b)(2)(C)(iii)”).
Here, Young is a former employee of defendants who
filed a Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health
Administration complaint a month after being terminated. Doc.
57 at 2. During the course of litigation, plaintiffs'
counsel indicated that they “have knowledge of
non-privileged documents that were forwarded to Argos'
in-house counsel that are relevant to [their] claims”
and indicated familiarity with both Young's
“position and responsibilities with Argos” and
his possession of documents relevant to proving their case.
Id. at 3. Plaintiffs notified defendants that they
are deposing Young (and seek no documents to be
produced at that deposition), and so defendants quite
reasonably subpoenaed certain documents they believe may help
them prepare for that deposition. Id. Whether those
requests are ...