more in a few moments, but the judge’s magistrate, craig b. schaffer just published his order:
. . .In particular, the court expressed a concern that any method of service would merely precipitate a motion to quash. If those suspicions were correct, it might be more efficient to address as a threshold matter whether an involuntary deposition of the Vice President should go forward on any basis. . . As the following discussion explains, I find that Plaintiff’s motion is premature and should be denied at this time without prejudice. . .
. . .However, that same principle underlies Rule 26(b)(2)(C), which permits this court to limit the methods or extent of discovery otherwise permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure where I find that “the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Cf. Kyle Eng’g Co. v. Kleppe, 600 F.2d 226, 231-32 (9th Cir. 1979) (holding that interrogatories are an appropriate discovery method in lieu of deposing a high ranking government official); Am. Civil Liberties Union v. Gonzales, 237 F.R.D. 120, 122-23 (E.D. Pa. 2006) (allowing plaintiffs to serve contention interrogatories on the Attorney General after finding that plaintiffs had not adequately proven “that oral deposition testimony on the topics listed in their notice of deposition [was] the least intrusive or burdensome means by which to garner discoverable information from defendant”); Alexander v. F.B.I., 186 F.R.D. 1, 5 (D.D.C 1998) (staying the depositions of high-ranking White House staff, but permitting plaintiffs to serve interrogatories as an initial step to determine whether those individuals had any knowledge relevant to the litigation); Cmty. Fed. Sav. and Loan Ass’n v. Fed. Home Loan Bank Bd., 96 F.R.D. 619, 621-22 (D.D.C. 1983) (in denying plaintiff’s request to depose two members of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, found that plaintiff “has not shown that the information it hopes to elicit from them is not ascertainable by way of interrogatories addressed to the Board, the deposition of a single spokesman designated to testify for it, or the testimony of the nine other witnesses whose depositions the Board has not opposed”).
I am not foreclosing, at some future point, the need to depose the Vice President in connection with this case. This court simply finds that Plaintiff has not made a sufficient showing to warrant that deposition at this time. Previous depositions have identified by name and position individuals who apparently have relevant information that might obviate the need to depose the Vice President. Plaintiff has not demonstrated that these individuals cannot provide the information he claims is only accessible through the Vice President. That shortcoming is particularly significant in this case, where Plaintiff’s deposition request is driven, in large part, by speculation on the part of Defendant Reichle. Consistent with my discretion under Rule 26 and the weight of judicial precedents, I will require Plaintiff to pursue discovery from those identifiable sources before the court will consider a request to depose the Vice President or address the specific procedure by which discovery may be obtained from the Vice President.
Accordingly, at this time, I will deny without prejudice Plaintiff Howard’s Unopposed Motion for United States Marshals to Serve Subpoena. . . .
so — the next step will likely
involve steven howards’ lawyers
appealing the magistrate’s decision,
to the full trial court — to judge
wiley y. daniel, in the u.s. district court
of colorado. . . [this means that dick
cheney’s lawyers will not have to file
a brief by april 21, 2008, btw.]
p e a c e