United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Daly, United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Quash. (Doc. 34.) On
February 22, 2017, Plaintiff commenced this action in this
Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, alleging state
law claims of negligence in connection with a motor vehicle
accident. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff and Defendant Ricky Urhahn were
the drivers of the vehicles involved in the accident, and
Defendant Taylor & Hall Transport, LLC (“Taylor
& Hall”), employed Defendant Urhahn.
October 20, 2017, Plaintiff served subpoenas seeking
Defendant Urhahn's driver qualification files and notices
of deposition to Defendant Urhahn's two former
employers.(Doc. 34-1.) On October 25, 2017,
Defendants moved to quash subpoenas and notices of
depositions on the basis of relevance and privacy concerns.
(Doc. 34.) On November 2, 2017, the Court held a discovery
dispute conference, and the parties presented arguments on
the motion to quash. (Doc. 38.)
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “parties may
obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is
relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional
to the needs of the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(1).
“Information within this scope of discovery need not be
admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
Id. “Rule 26 vests this Court with broad
discretion in determining the scope of discovery, which the
Court exercises mindful that the standard for discovery under
Rule 26(b)(1) is widely recognized as one that is necessarily
broad in its scope in order to allow the parties essentially
equal access to the operative facts.” Scott v.
Edinburg, 101 F.Supp.2d 1017, 1021 (N.D. Ill. 2000). The
Seventh Circuit has recognized a trial court's
“broad discretion over discovery matters.”
Spiegla v. Hull, 371 F.3d 928, 944 (7th Cir. 2004).
complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Taylor & Hall
negligently hired Defendant Urhahn, and specifically alleges
that Defendant Taylor & Hall failed to investigate
Defendant Urhahn's safety record with his previous
employers as required by federal regulations. (Doc. 1 at 16.)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires
prospective employers to investigate a driver's safety
performance history with the driver's employers during
the preceding three years. 49 C.F.R. § 391.23. Plaintiff
requests the driver qualifications files and presumably seeks
to depose the prior employers regarding Defendant
Urhahn's safety record. Driver qualifications files are
files that motor carriers are required to maintain for each
driver they employ and include:
(1) The driver's employment application;
(2) Motor vehicle records from each State at the time of
(3) The driver's road test certificate or any equivalent
certificate or license;
(4) Motor vehicle records from each State on an annual basis;
(5) Documentation of annual review of the driver's
(6) A list or certificate relating to violations of motor
vehicle laws; and
(7) The medical examiner's certificate.
49 C.F.R. § 391.51.
argue that these discovery requests are irrelevant because
Defendants have produced the driver qualifications file from
Defendant Urhahn's employment with Defendant Taylor &
Hall, which includes documents demonstrating that Defendant
Taylor & Hall conducted the investigation as required by
regulation. Defendants note that this file includes a safety
performance history record request completed and sent by
Defendant Urhahn's prior employer. However, the
information sought by Plaintiff, although potentially
duplicative, will allow Plaintiff to independently verify
Defendant Urhahn's ...