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Case 4:11-cv-00766-JED-FHM Document 38 Filed in USDC ND/OK on 06/04/13 Page 1 of 3

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA

SUSAN L. EASTER,

Plaintiff,

v.

DIRECTV CUSTOMER SERVICES,
INC.,

Defendant.

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Case No. 11-CV-766-JED-FHM

OPINION AND ORDER

Defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Give Non-Evasive Deposition Testimony

and Motion for Sanctions [Dkts. 28 and 30] are before the court for decision. Plaintiff has

filed a Response [Dkt. 36] and Defendant has filed a Reply [Dkt. 37].

Defendant contends that at Plaintiff’s deposition, Plaintiff gave evasive, non-

responsive answers to nearly all of Defendant’s counsel’s questions, that Plaintiff’s attorney

encouraged Plaintiff’s evasive tactics, and that after several hours it became apparent the

deposition was futile causing Defendant to terminate the deposition. Defendant seeks a

continuation of the deposition before a Magistrate Judge and sanctions against Plaintiff and

Plaintiff’s attorney.

Plaintiff responds that the problems at the deposition were caused by Defendant’s

attorney’s repeated interruptions of the witness and Defendant’s attorney’s attempts to

harass and intimidate the witness.

The court has watched the excerpts of the video of the deposition provided by

Defendant and read the entire transcript of the deposition provided by Plaintiff. Although

there were some difficulties during the deposition, contributed to by the witness and both

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Case 4:11-cv-00766-JED-FHM Document 38 Filed in USDC ND/OK on 06/04/13 Page 2 of 3

attorneys, those difficulties did not rise to the level of bad faith or frustrate the fair

examination of the deponent. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(d).

At times the witness was overly cautious and suspicious of the questions and she

sought to leave some aspects of her answers vague. At times the witness also

gratuitously presented her view of the case as part of her response. But in response to

many questions, the witness was directly responsive.

At times Defendant’s counsel interrupted the witness’s response and argued with

the witness. Defendant’s counsel also engaged in unnecessary argument with Plaintiff’s

attorney.

For his part, Plaintiff’s attorney did not attempt to assist the witness in being more

responsive and unnecessarily insisted on the witness being permitted to complete all of her

responses even when it was clear that the process had gotten off track. Plaintiff’s counsel

also engaged in unnecessary arguments with Defendant’s attorney.

Despite these shortcomings by each of the participants, on the whole, the deposition

was not unproductive. The witness was providing responsive, relevant information and the

attorneys were conducting themselves civilly.

Defendant’s request for a continuation of the deposition before a Magistrate Judge

is denied. There is no reason why the witness and attorneys cannot complete this

deposition by themselves with a good faith effort by all participants.

Defendant’s request for sanctions is also denied. Each of the participants bear

some responsibility for the difficulties at the deposition.

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Case 4:11-cv-00766-JED-FHM Document 38 Filed in USDC ND/OK on 06/04/13 Page 3 of 3

Defendant is permitted to resume the deposition but is limited to the time remaining

from the original 7 hour limitation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(d)(3)(B). Each side will bear their own

fees related to this motion.

IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 4th day of June, 2013.

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