United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. NYE CHIEF DISTRICT.
before the Court are Defendant Idaho Pacific
Corporation's (“IPC”) Rule 43 Motion (Dkt.
205) and third-party Angela Thibert's Motion to Quash
Subpoena to Appear and Testify at a Hearing or Trial in a
Civil Action (Dkt. 216). Having reviewed the record and
briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments
are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of
avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the
decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral
argument, the Court will decide the Motions without oral
argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B).
September 2019, IPC subpoenaed Angela Thibert, who works for
Liberty Mutual and assisted in Ross Hathaway's claims, to
testify. Thibert, who acts as a primary caregiver to her
husband due to his serious medical needs, informed IPC that
she could not travel from where she lives (Middleton) to
where trial will be held (Pocatello), about 218 miles as the
crow flies. Because there are no family or friends who can
care for her husband, Thibert states that she must always be
within a half hour of her home. Though she works full-time,
Thibert spends half of her time working from home so she can
tend to her husband's medical needs.
Thibert's duties as a caregiver, IPC filed the pending
Rule 43 Motion seeking an alternative way to present
Thibert's testimony other than having her appear for
trial in Pocatello. Thibert also filed a Motion to Quash her
subpoena. Trial is set to commence on October 28, 2019.
are multiple remedies available when a witness would have
trouble testifying at trial. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
43 states in part that “[f]or good cause in compelling
circumstances and with appropriate safeguards, the court may
permit testimony in open court by contemporaneous
transmission from a different location.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
43(a). Similarly, when a subpoenaed person can show that
testifying at trial would subject her to undue burden, a
court must quash or modify the subpoena. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(3).
preliminary matter, the Court finds that Thibert's
testimony is relevant. Hathaway challenges any testimony she
may provide as irrelevant because he is not making any claim
against Liberty Mutual and that any testimony concerning
Liberty Mutual's process for handling claims does not
affect his claims against IPC. Hathaway is overlooking the
fact that IPC sent Thibert an email stating that it did not
know how to handle Hathaway's claim, and that IPC
attached multiple documents to the aforementioned email,
including a doctor's report supporting Hathaway's
shoulder injury claim. Thibert's testimony on her
interactions with IPC and how she handled the discrepancy
between IPC's report, which excluded information about
Hathaway's shoulder injury, and the documents attached to
the email, is therefore relevant.
now to the practical difficulty regarding any testimony
Thibert may provide, based on the briefing and affidavits
contained in the two pending motions, the Court finds that
requiring Thibert to attend trial in Pocatello would subject
her to an undue burden. As such, the Court will not require
Thibert to travel to Pocatello for trial and hereby quashes
the Court declines to require Thibert to testify through a
contemporaneous transmission from the federal courthouse
located in Boise, Idaho. Though that location is much closer
to Thibert's home and husband, the Court would like to
avoid overseeing one trial simultaneously taking place in two
places hundreds of miles apart-it is difficult enough to
oversee trial in just one location.
that being said, the Court will provide a way to introduce
Thibert's testimony. The Court will allow IPC to take a
video deposition of her for use at trial. The parties must
work together to determine the date, time, and location of
the deposition. The deposition must occur within 40 miles of
Thibert's residence. The parties may then use
Thibert's testimony, to the extent it is admissible and
relevant, at trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 32 and any other applicable rules. It will be
IPC's responsibility to serve a subpoena if needed to
ensure the witness's attendance.