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Burrai v. Southwest Capital Bank

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

February 23, 2018

KHPALWAAK BURRAI, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHWEST CAPITAL BANK, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PROTECTION AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES

          GREGORY B. WORMUTH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Protection from Continuous Discrimination and Verbal Abuse. Doc. 45. The Court construes Plaintiff's Motion as seeking a protective order under Rule 26(c), a request spurred by interactions that occurred during Plaintiff's deposition of Ms. Saavedra. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c).[1] For the following reasons, Plaintiff fails to demonstrate good cause for the Court to grant his motion.

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, conducted a deposition of Lorin Saavedra on January 3, 2018, in connection with his employment discrimination case against Ms. Saavedra's employer, Defendant Southwest Capital Bank. See doc. 45 at 1. A review of the deposition transcript reveals that Plaintiff became frustrated as he deposed Ms. Saavedra and began asking her improper questions, such as, “[y]ou're proud of the discriminatory actions you took against me. You are proud of that, correct?” Doc. 53-1 at 1, Saavedra Dep. 7:14-15. He further inappropriately pressured the witness by repeatedly asking her for answers to questions to which she had already responded by explaining she did not know the answers, and by threatening to call the police, sheriff's department, and FBI. See generally docs. 53-1-53-5. At one point, Plaintiff asked Ms. Saavedra whether she sent people to follow him from December 15, 2016 through January 2017. Doc. 53-5 at 1, Saavedra Dep. 73:7-8. Ms. Saavedra responded, “No.” Id. at 73:9. Notwithstanding her answer, Plaintiff then asked twice for the names of the people who were following him. When Ms. Saavedra repeatedly responded she did not know what Plaintiff was referring to, Plaintiff told Ms. Saavedra, “If you don't cooperate with this, I may ask the police for an investigation. I don't feel peaceful.” Id. at 73:10-17. Counsel for Defendant properly requested that Plaintiff conduct the deposition in a professional fashion and objected to improper questions:

Mr. Burrai, I've been very patient with you. You've accused the witness of being a liar. You have alleged that you'll have them prosecuted. You've alleged that you will involve the FBI. Now you're alleging that you will call the police again. Please ask questions. This is the process of discovery. It is not for you to threaten my clients. So please do not threaten my clients.

Doc. 53-5 at 1, Saavedra Dep. 73:18-24.

         Following this exchange, Plaintiff asked defense counsel whether counsel was accusing Plaintiff of threatening Ms. Saavedra, and asserted he was merely asking Ms. Saavedra a question. The following colloquy ensued:

[Counsel for Defendant]: So ask your question. Do you have a question, sir? Are you angry right now? Are you upset? You want to engage in some kind of violent act?
[Plaintiff]: You're accusing me for violence, correct?
[Counsel for Defendant]: I'm asking you.
[Plaintiff]: No, you're accusing me that I'm causing some problem.
[Counsel for Defendant]: I'm asking you.
[Plaintiff]: You just accused me, correct?
[Counsel for Defendant]: I'm asking you the ...

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