United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
SCHANZLE-HASKINS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE:
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion to Compel
Additional Deposition Time and Costs in Response to Improper
and Obstructive Objections; Expedited Ruling Requested (d/e
160) (Motion). On November 30, 2017, Plaintiffs took the
personal deposition of Ted Lindenbusch, Plant Manager of the
Edwards Power Plant operated by Illinois Power. Plaintiffs
will also depose Lindenbusch as a representative of Illinois
Power in a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition later in December 2017.
Plaintiffs assert that Defense counsel obstructed the
November 30 deposition. Plaintiffs ask the Court to direct
Defendant Illinois Power Resources Generating, LLC (Illinois
Power), to make Lindenbusch available for an additional
half-day (3.5 hours) of individual deposition in Chicago,
Illinois no later than December 19, 2017; pay $2, 130 for the
expected court reporting costs for the additional deposition,
and for the incremental costs the Plaintiffs incurred to
obtain a rush transcript for this Motion; and order Illinois
Power's counsel to refrain from improper objections and
comments during depositions. For the reasons set forth below,
the Motion is ALLOWED IN PART.
are generally limited to 7 hours, but can be lengthened if
additional time if needed to fairly examine the deponent or
if the deponent, another person, or any other circumstance
impedes or delays the examination. Fed.R.Civ.P. (d)(1).
Opposing counsel may object during a deposition. An objection
must be stated concisely in a non-argumentative and
nonsuggestive manner. A person may instruct a deponent not to
answer only when necessary to preserve a privilege, to
enforce a court ordered limitation, or to present a motion to
terminate or limit an examination. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(c)(2).
See Specht v. Google, Inc., 268 F.R.D. 596, 599
(N.D. Ill. 2010).
Plaintiffs argue that defense counsel improperly made
argumentative and suggestive objections that impeded the
deposition. Plaintiffs further complain that defense counsel
improperly directed Lindenbusch not to answer a question. The
Court has carefully reviewed the 370-page transcript of the
deposition attached to the Motion. Motion, attached
Declaration of Ian Fisher, Exhibit A, Final
Transcript of Deposition of Ted Lindenbusch dated November
30, 2017 (Transcript) (d/e 162) (filed separately under
seal). The Court identified six instances in which
defense counsel made improper argumentative objections.
Plaintiffs' counsel was Ms. Kyle, and Defendant's
counsel was Mr. Hyman. On page 32, defense counsel Hyman made
the following argumentative objection:
2 Q. The annual budgeting process.
3 If there is different processes for
4 different kinds of budgets, let me know and we
5 can talk about --
6 MR. HYMAN: Don't let her know.
7 You need to ask him questions that he
8 can understand and answer directly, please.
9 So, I think there is a question
10 pending that seemed like one those.
11 If you could read it back, I would
12 appreciate it.
14 (Record read as
17 MR. HYMAN: So, the question that
18 you asked, what's the annual budgeting process,
19 is that what you want to know?
20 MS. KYLE: Yes.
21 MR. HYMAN: Thank you.
Transcript, at 32:21. Counsel continued his
argumentative objections on pages 33 and 34:
15 Q. I mentioned earlier that I realize there
16 may be different budgets or categories within
17 budgets at the plant. So, for example, does the
18 plant have a capital budget?
19 MR. HYMAN: Objection, form of the
21 What you realize isn't important.
22 Please ask him a question without the commentary.
1 BY MS. KYLE:
2 Q. Sir, I realize that you know more about
3 this budgeting process than I do. So, if I am
4 asking about something that has several
5 components, I just want to make sure that you
6 know that, like --
7 MR. HYMAN: No. Excuse me, that's
8 not how it works.
9 If you have a question, ask him a
10 question. But what I'm objecting to is the
11 predicate to some of the questions imposes upon
12 him an opinion or a statement that may or may not
13 be true and is not part of the record.
14 I think what you should do, and would
15 prefer, if you just ask him a question without the
17 MS. KYLE: I would prefer there to
18 be an end to speaking objections.
19 MR. HYMAN: It is not a speaking
20 objection. It's a suggestion that would make
21 this go more smoothly. And I think you ...