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Judge Orders Production of Cell Phone Records in Golden State Case

Posted on July 6th, 2018

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In Ortiz v. Amazon.com LLC, et al, No. 17-cv-03820-JSW (MEJ) (N.D. Cal. May 25, 2018), a California magistrate court ordered the plaintiff to give the defendant, Golden State, his cell phone account holder’s name and address in order for the defendant to subpoena the cell phone records. The plaintiff had failed to provide court-ordered cell phone records because the account was in his wife’s name who refused to provide the information. The Magistrate Judge also ordered the plaintiff to attend a deposition in San Francisco.

On March 7, 2018, the Court ordered the plaintiff to provide his cell phone records to Golden State by April 6, 2018. At the time, the plaintiff said that these records were not in his control or possession because the account for the phone records were under his wife’s name. He claimed he had previously tried to receive the phone records by requesting them from his carrier, but he was unauthorized to do so. He also claimed he couldn’t get the records from his wife, and he did not explain why.

The plaintiff did not tell Golden State that the cell phone records were in his wife’s name and thus unavailable until April 27, 2018, which was three weeks after the deadline the Court ordered. He also refused to provide his wife’s name and address so that Golden State could subpoena the records from her.

Previously, on January 25, 2018, Defendant Golden State asked for the plaintiff’s availability for a deposition. The plaintiff confirmed in the beginning of March and said he could attend on April 23, 2018. The defendant sent a Notice of Deposition on March 7 stating that the deposition would take place at defense counsel’s San Francisco office, but on April 19 the plaintiff canceled the deposition because he had moved to Los Angeles.

Golden State filed two joint discovery dispute letters from which the Court made its ruling. While reviewing the request for the cell phone records, California Magistrate Judge James came to a few conclusions. The plaintiff did not explain his delay on informing Golden State that he did not possess or control the phone records. The plaintiff should have known whose name the account was under, and he gave no further information regarding why the records were not available to him before April 27.

The plaintiff has known since at least March 7 that he needed to produce his cell phone records to the Court. He had stated that “for personal reasons, he wishes to maintain the details of his relationship status, and interactions with his wife, private.” The Court found this argument unpersuasive.

The plaintiff had originally claimed that Golden State had failed to pay him for all of his worked hours and to legally provide him with all meal and rest breaks. He had placed all of his work and phone activities at issue, but given that the account holder’s name and address doesn’t reveal any outstanding information (such as his marital status or interactions), the Judge ordered the name and address so the defendant could subpoena the records from the wife.

The plaintiff also did not inform Golden State that him moving to Los Angeles would cause difficulties until the night before the deposition, which was not taken well by the Court. The judge rejected the plaintiff’s proposition of compromise to have one of Golden State counsel’s Los Angeles attorneys to take the deposition in counsel’s Los Angeles office.

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