United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SANS ONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Compel Hernando Primate's Compliance with Subpoena (Doc.
138). The Court directed that any response(s) in opposition
to the instant motion be filed by November 8, 2017. (Doc.
139). To date, no response has been filed.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(“PETA”), filed this action against Defendants
Dade City's Wild Things, Inc. (“DCWT”),
Stearns Zoological Rescue & Rehab Center, Inc., Kathryn
Stearns, and Randall E. Stearns for alleged violations of the
Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C.
§§ 1531, et seq. (Doc. 37). Defendants asserted
counterclaims against PETA for tortious interference,
conversion, and fraud. (Doc. 38).
filed a Motion for Sanctions and Order to Show Cause Why They
Should Not be Held in Contempt (“Contempt
Motion”) seeking contempt against Defendants for their
failure to comply with the Court's July 12th and 14th
Orders directing that Defendants allow Plaintiff on the DCWT
premises to conduct a site inspection, and that Defendants
not transfer, transport, or relocate their tigers. (Docs. 63,
69). One of twenty-four tigers transferred from DCWT's
facility in violation of this Court's July 12th and 14th
Orders was a tiger cub named Shiva, who was previously used
for public encounters at DCWT. Non-party Hernando Primate,
Inc., took possession of Shiva.
September 30, 2017, Plaintiff served Hernando Primate, via
registered agent and principal Ann M. Kelly, with a Subpoena
commanding Hernando Primate to permit Plaintiff to inspect
Shiva at Hernando Primate's facility on October 17, 2017
and to produce ten categories of documents by October 16,
2017. (Doc. 138-1). Hernando Primate allowed Plaintiff to
inspect Shiva but has not produced the requested documents.
(See Doc. 138-3).
October 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant motion seeking
information responsive to Request Nos. 3 and 4 of the
Subpoena. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks the following:
Request No. 3 All internal
documents or communications, including text messages, instant
messages, social media posts, voicemail messages, cell phone
call logs and e-mails in your custody, possession or control
relating to any tiger(s) transferred from Dade City's
Wild Things to Hernando Primate in July 2017.
Request No. 4 All communications,
including text messages, instant messages, social media
posts, e-mails, voicemail messages, cell phone call logs and
other documents with Kathryn Stearns, Kenneth Stearns,
Randall Stearns, and/or Dade City's Wild Things in your
custody, possession or control.
(Doc. 138-1, pp. 9-10).
Court scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the Contempt Motion
for November 29, 2017, and, no later than November 17, 2017,
the parties must provide the Court with a joint statement in
preparation for that hearing. (Doc. 120). Plaintiff contends
that this information is necessary to adequately prepare for
the November 29th hearing. (Doc. 138).
to compel discovery are committed to the sound discretion of
the trial court. See Commercial Union Ins. Co.
v. Westrope, 730 F.2d 729, 731 (11th Cir. 1984). Rule
26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the
scope of discovery. That rule provides, in relevant part,
[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its ...