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Jones v. Marcu

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 16, 2018

MARSHALL JONES, Administrator of the Estate of Ashley Ferguson, MARSHALL JONES, AALIYAH JONES, PPA Marshall Jones, and MICHAEL JONES, PPA Marshall Jones, Plaintiffs,
v.
NICHOLAS MARCU, MGR FREIGHT SYSTEM, INC., PLAN BETA, LLC, and TOTAL QUALITY LOGISTICS, LLC, Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         On November 13, 2018, Defendant MGR Freight System, Inc. (“MGR Freight”) moved for a protective order to prevent Marshall Jones, Administrator of the Estate of Ashley Ferguson, Marshall Jones, Aaliyah Jones, PPA Marshall Jones, and Michael Jones, PPA Michael Jones (collectively “Plaintiffs”) from conducting a deposition of MGR Freight's Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), Radomir Dobrosinovic. Motion for Protective Order, dated Nov. 13, 2018 (“Mot.”), ECF No. 50.

         The deposition is currently scheduled to be held on November 19, 2018 at MGR Freight's corporate headquarters in Countryside, Illinois. Memorandum of Law in Support of Mot., dated Nov. 13, 2018 (“MGR Mem.”), ECF No. 50-1, at 1, 3.

         For the following reasons, MGR Freight's motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Facts Relevant to this Dispute

          This action seeks recovery of damages related to a motor vehicle accident on December 1, 2016 on I-95 in Old Lyme, Connecticut. A tractor trailer driven by another Defendant, Nicolae Marcu, allegedly struck and killed Ashley Ferguson Jones. Plaintiffs sued MGR Freight and the other named Defendants in this action for wrongful death, loss of consortium, and bystander emotional distress.

         MGR Freight is alleged to have owned the tractor trailer. Documents produced during discovery, however, have raised questions about ownership of the tractor trailer at the time of the accident: whether MGR Freight, or some related entity controlled by MGR Freight's CEO, Radomir Dobrosinovic, owns the tractor trailer. Similarly, documents produced have raised questions as to whether Mr. Marcu was-as he contends-an independent contractor or an employee.

         On November 8, 2018, Plaintiffs noticed a deposition duces tecum of Mr. Dobrosinovic for November 19, 2018. See Re-Notice of Deposition Duces Tecum, annexed as Ex. A. to Mot., ECF No. 50-3. The deposition sought, inter alia, a “complete inventory of all assets” owned by MGR Freight and by fourteen other entities: MGR Express, Inc., MGR Freight, Inc., MGR Expedited, Inc., MGR Expedited1, LLC, MGR Freight, LLC, MGR Lease, LLC, MGR Auto Lease, LLC, MGR Truck Rental, LLC, MGR Truck Sale, Inc., MGR Logistics, Inc., MGR 016, LLC, MGR 017, LLC, MGR Truck Repair, Inc., and Plainfield 014, LLC. Id. ¶ 15.

         B. Procedural History

         On November 13, 2018, MGR Freight moved for a protective order to prevent the deposition of Mr. Dobrosinovic. Mot. The Court held a telephone conference on the motion on November 14, 2018, and set an expedited briefing schedule for Plaintiffs' opposition. Minute Entry, dated Nov. 14, 2018, ECF No. 54; Notice, dated Nov. 14, 2018, ECF No. 53. Plaintiffs filed an opposition the following day. First Objection to Mot., dated Nov. 15, 2018 (“Pls.' Opp.”), ECF No. 55.

         On November 16, 2018, the Court held a hearing by telephone on the motion. Minute Entry, dated Nov. 16, 2018, ECF No. 57.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When a party moves for a protective order related to discovery in a civil action, “[t]he court may, on good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, ” including “specifying terms, including time and place or the allocation of expenses, for the disclosure of discovery” and ...


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