Court denies to quash subpoenas to QVC in competing broom case

By Elizabeth Alt | May 22, 2018

SAN DIEGO – HISC Inc.’s motion to quash subpoenas to QVC in a case involving HISC Inc. and Franmar International Importers LTD's competing brooms marketed by both on QVC was denied by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

SAN DIEGO – HISC Inc.’s motion to quash subpoenas to QVC in a case involving HISC Inc. and Franmar International Importers LTD's competing brooms marketed by both on QVC was denied by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo wrote the order denying motions by HISC and amending the protective order for QVC on May 7. HISC filed a motion in to quash subpoenas ordered by Franmar for QVC and for a protective order to prevent the depositions.

“It is clear that plaintiffs’ opposition to the subpoena duces tecum is motivated by a desire to prevent the depositions of the QVC employees rather than to protect any interest they have in the documents defendants seek,” the order states.

The motions arose from an agreement that counsel from HISC and Franmar made after the February depositions to discuss with each other before contacting any of the other’s business contacts, the order states.

The order states Franmar reached out to QVC in April to arrange for employee depositions without contacting the plaintiffs and after speaking to QVC’s in-house counsel, agreed to instead subpoena the QVC custodian of records. HISC asked for Franmar to withdraw all pending subpoenas, including the depositions, and HISC would instead give Franmar documents.

When Franmar did not agree to withdraw the depositions, HISC filed the motions to quash the subpoenas and amend the protective order to include QVC.

Gallo stated that the court did not have authority to quash the subpoenas as the issuing court and that HISC lacked standing to motion to quash the subpoenas for QVC as a third party. Gallo further noted that even if HISC had shown any protectable interest in the documents, “the merit of such interest would be highly questionable.”

HISC claims that Franmar violated the agreement between its counsel and Franmar’s counsel to contact each other before reaching out to QVC or contacting HISC before serving the notice. Gallo stated that the agreement is not in consideration here as “the parties are bound by existing legal doctrine anchored in statutes, rules, and case law. They cannot create additional reasons for quashing subpoenas through private agreements...”

The motions to quash were denied, and the motion to amend the protective order to include QVC was granted.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California case number 3:16-CV-480-BEN (WVG)

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