United States District Court, D. Maryland
reviewed the Motion for Protective Order and For Order to
Quash Subpoena to Kent Center (“the Motion”)
filed by Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). ECF 31. I have also reviewed the
opposition filed by Defendant Dolgencorp, LLC
(“Dolgencorp”), ECF 33, and EEOC's reply, ECF
34. No. hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D.
Md. 2018). For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion will
case, EEOC alleges that Dolgencorp, through its Dollar
General store manager, Darrel Moses, created a sexually
hostile work environment and constructively discharged an
assistant store manager, Amber Jacobs. ECF 1. According
to the parties' representations, at the deposition of Ms.
Jacobs, she testified that during her tenure working as a
Certified Nursing Assistant (“CNA”), prior to her
employment at Dollar General, she performed work at the Kent
Center, Inc. (“Kent Center”), a nonprofit in
Chesterton, Maryland. ECF 33 at 1-2. During the deposition of
Mr. Moses, he testified that his wife had worked at the Kent
Center along with Ms. Jacobs, and told her husband that Ms.
Jacobs “was trouble.” Id. Following the
depositions, Dolgencorp sent a subpoena to Kent Center
requesting, “Any and all records maintained in the
ordinary course of business with respect to Amber Denise
Olsen, ” including but not limited to Ms. Jacobs's
personnel file, disciplinary records, and any complaint or
investigation records. ECF 31-2.
seeks to quash the subpoena, on the grounds that the records
it seeks are (1) disproportional; (2) irrelevant; and (3)
intended to harass and embarrass Ms. Jacobs. ECF 31.
Considering the criteria in Fed.R.Civ.P. 26, I agree. See
Cook v. Howard, No. 11-1601, 2012 WL 3634451, at *6 (4th
Cir. Aug. 24, 2012) (noting that Rule 45(c) factors for
quashing a third-party subpoena “are co-extensive with
the general rules governing all discovery that are set forth
in Rule 26.”).
bears the burden to establish that the subpoena should be
quashed. See Finley v. Trent, 955 F.Supp. 642, 648
(N.D.W.Va. 1997) (“The burden is on the person
objecting to discovery . . . to show that discovery should
not be allowed.”). That burden is met here. The
subpoena is extremely broad, asking Kent Center for every
record it maintains in connection with Ms. Jacobs. While
prior employment records can be relevant and discoverable as
they bear on a party's credibility, the party seeking the
records must demonstrate a “legitimate, good faith
basis for Plaintiff's lack of credibility.”
Singletary v. Sterling Transp. Co., 289 F.R.D. 237,
243 (E.D. Va. 2012). Although Ms. Jacobs's credibility
will be important in this case, as it is in most cases,
Dolgencorp has not proffered how Kent Center's records
could inform the factfinder about Ms. Jacobs's
credibility. Contrary to Dolgencorp's contention, ECF 33
at 2, it does not appear that Ms. Jacobs
“omitted” Kent Center from her job application to
Dolgencorp. Her application reflects her work as a CNA
between 1997 and 2016, ECF 34-2, and her testimony made clear
that she worked as an independent CNA contractor, during that
lengthy window, at a number of facilities. The evidence does
not reflect, then, that Ms. Jacobs intended to conceal
employment at Kent Center or at any of the other facilities
at which she performed the duties of a CNA during the almost
the only fact leading Dolgencorp to believe Kent Center's
records might contain discoverable information is a
secondhand assertion from Mr. Moses's wife that Ms.
Jacobs “was trouble.” ECF 4. As far as I am
aware, Dolgencorp took no actions to delve into the meaning
of that statement by engaging in a more appropriate form of
discovery by, for example, interviewing or deposing Mrs.
Moses about the basis for her alleged assertion. There is no
reason to assume that Mrs. Moses's statement indicated
that Ms. Jacobs had made prior allegations of sexual
harassment or had any unpleasant interactions with Mrs. Moses
directly. See ECF 33 at 4 (“Although it is
unclear what occurred at the Kent Center, possible prior
unsubstantiated allegations of harassment made at the Kent
Center could show Ms. Olsen's propensity to fabricate
such claims.”). Moreover, Dolgencorp's assertion
that she may have a “motive” to fabricate her
claims, ECF 33 at 4, is entirely speculative. Absent further
information, the unsubstantiated and unexplained assertion
that Ms. Jacobs “was trouble” has no relevance to
the instant action, particularly because in the instant case
it is uncontroverted that Ms. Jacobs was a good employee.
See, e.g., ECF 34:1 at 81:11-13 (Mr. Moses's
deposition testimony that Ms. Jacobs's job performance
light of the analysis above, the records sought from Kent
Center are overbroad, irrelevant, and carry the potential to
embarrass Ms. Jacobs by revealing, for example, complaints
about her nursing skills entirely unrelated to the instant
action. Because the subpoena is a quintessential
“fishing expedition, ” I will grant the requested
protective order and quash the subpoena.
reasons set forth above, EEOC's Motion for Protective
Order and For Order to Quash Subpoena to Kent Center, ECF 31,
is GRANTED. Despite the informal nature of this letter, it
should be flagged as an Opinion and docketed as an Order.
Stephanie A. Gallagher United States District Judge.
 Ms. Jacobs has married since the case
was filed using her maiden name, Amber ...