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Benitez v. Lopez

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

March 14, 2019, Decided; March 14, 2019, Filed

17-CV-3827-SJ-SJB

Opinion

ORDER

BULSARA, United States Magistrate Judge:

Defendants have filed a motion to compel seeking two separate items—(1) an order directing Plaintiff to sit for more than 7 hours of deposition testimony; and (2) documents concerning litigation financing that Plaintiff received for this lawsuit and his prior Court of Claims action. Both aspects of the motion are denied.

With respect to the motion to obtain additional deposition time, the motion is denied because it is premature. Without the deposition proceeding first, the Court has no basis on the present record to conclude there exists good cause to permit more than 7 hours of questioning. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1); Margel v. E.G.L. Gem Lab Ltd., No. 04-CV-1514, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41754, 2008 WL 2224288, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. May 29, 2008) ("[F]actors relevant [*2]  to the determination of good cause would ordinarily include whether the time previously afforded for the deposition was used efficiently and whether there are additional relevant areas of inquiry. Since it does not appear that defendants can make the appropriate showing with respect to either, their application to continue van Schoonbeek's deposition is denied."). A renewed request may be made following the completion of the deposition of Plaintiff.

As to the litigation funding documents, Defendants fail to establish that such discovery is "relevant to any party's claims or defense." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Defendants contend that they should be able to inquire about any financing "and the motives behind it," because it "goes directly to plaintiff's credibility and is grounds for impeachment at trial." (Mot. to Compel dated Mar. 1, 2019, Dkt. No. 67 ("Mot.") at 2). These claims are without merit. Defendants do not explain how any litigation funding impacts Plaintiff's credibility or how it could be used to impeach his trial testimony.

In this case, the financial backing of a litigation funder is as irrelevant to credibility as the Plaintiff's personal financial wealth, credit history, or indebtedness. That [*3]  a person has received litigation funding does not assist the factfinder in determining whether or not the witness is telling the truth. Furthermore, "[w]hether plaintiff is funding this litigation through savings, insurance proceeds, a kickstarter campaign, or contributions from the union is not relevant to any claim or defense at issue." Yousefi v. Delta Elec. Motors, Inc., No. 13-CV-1632, 2015 WL 11217257, at *2 (W.D. Wash. May 11, 2015); cf. Brown v. Walter, 62 F.2d 798, 800 (2d Cir. 1933) ("While it is quite true that there are jurisdictions which allow the inquiry, we cannot agree. There can be no rational excuse, except the flimsy one that a man is more likely to be careless if insured. That is at most the merest guess, much more than outweighed by the probability that the real issues will be obscured."). No amount of this evidence would be probative of Plaintiff's credibility or the merits of his claims in this civil rights lawsuit.

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64532 *; 2019 WL 1578167

RICARDO BENITEZ, Plaintiff, -against- RAUL LOPEZ, FRANK LIBRETTO, SERGEANT STAMM, TINA GRILLO, CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendants.

Prior History: Benitez v. City of New York, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99251 (E.D.N.Y., June 13, 2018)

CORE TERMS

credibility, funding, discovery, documents, funder, deposition, financing