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Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Complainant’s CFO Denied by Administrative Law Judge Where CFO’s Deposition Was Relevant to Domestic Industry Requirement

Complainant Neptun filed a motion to quash three notices of deposition served by several respondents, specifically Satco, Maxlite, and Litetronics. Neptun sought to quash the three separate notices of deposition directed to Marzenna Bobel, the CFO of Neptun. Satco opposed the motion, and cross-moved to compel Mrs. Bobel’s deposition and the production of certain documents.

As explained by the administrative law judge, Neptun’s chief financial officer, Mrs. Bobel supervises the data entry of Neptun’s financial transactions into a QuickBooks database. Neptun produced various reports generated from this QuickBooks database in support of its domestic industry allegations in this investigation. Satco asserted that it was entitled to depose Mrs. Bobel because her testimony would be relevant to the domestic industry requirement.

In contrast, Neptun argued that a deposition of Mrs. Bobel would be duplicative and unnecessary of another witness, Mr. Bobel, who Neptun’s designated as its 30(b)(6) witness. Neptun asserted that Mr. Bobel “has intimate knowledge on all aspects of Neptun’s business including its domestic industry on both the economic and technical prongs,” and that “Mrs. Bobel’s knowledge relating to Neptun is subsumed within Mr. Bobel’s knowledge.” Neptun also argued that Satco spent “barely one hour, amounting to just over 30 pages of deposition transcript” examining Mr. Bobel regarding Neptun’s finances and that this limited testimony demonstrated that “Satco’s interest in taking Mrs. Bobel’s deposition is not for some substantive purpose, but instead for the purpose of harassing Neptun.”

The administrative law judge was not persuaded by Neptun’s position. “Having considered the arguments of the parties, it is determined that Neptun’s motion to quash should be denied, and Satco’s cross-motion to compel Mrs. Bobel’s deposition should be granted. The scope of allowable discovery in section 337 investigations is broad, and Mrs. Bobel’s position as Neptun’s chief financial officer indicates that she may have information relevant to claims and defenses asserted by the parties to this investigation, including Neptun’s domestic industry allegations, that is not identical to the information possessed by Mr. Bobel. Moreover, inasmuch as Mrs. Bobel is an employee of Neptun, it is further determined that any alleged burden that her deposition might impose on Neptun does not warrant denying Satco an opportunity to take discovery from Mrs. Bobel.”

In the Matter of Certain Compact Fluorescent Reflector Lamps, Products Containing Same and Components Thereof, Case No. 337-TA-872 (Administrative Law Judge, David P. Shaw, July 2, 2013)

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