170-0 Plaintiffs Reply RE Depositions
Document Filed: November 2nd, 2022
“Parties who withhold material evidence from production in discovery should not be surprised when their adversaries want to verify the foundation for the privilege claims. Here, WTNY is withholding substantial evidence bearing on the sex abuse at issue in this case, but it is unwilling to cooperate in discovery so that Plaintiffs can independently evaluate its expansive privilege claims. Plaintiffs have made two deposition requests:”
“1. First, Plaintiffs asked to complete the deposition of WTNY in two stages so that litigation over its expansive privilege claims can be resolved prior to other depositions being taken in this case. Plaintiffs are not asking to depose WTNY two times on the same topics. Plaintiffs are not asking to go beyond the prescribed time limits for depositions. Plaintiffs are simply proposing a common sense, staggered approach that is consistent with the efficient resolution of issues in this case. WTNY is unable to articulate any legitimate objection to Plaintiffs’ proposal.
2. Second, Plaintiffs have asked to depose the people at the Jehovah’s Witness Organization’s (“Organization”) headquarters who have the most personal and detailed knowledge about the way that the Organization (including its local congregations) handled allegations of child sex abuse during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Allen Shuster, Gary Breaux and Gene Smalley are elders who have served in various supervisory roles at the Organization’s headquarters since the 1970s. These men have unique, personal knowledge of the policies, practices, and events that are central to this case, including information that is foundational to WTNY’s privilege claims. Shuster and Breaux have previously been designated by the Organization for deposition as People Most Knowledgeable/Qualified on these very subjects.
It stands to reason that if WTNY wants to continue withholding evidence of the child sex abuse at issue in this case, Plaintiffs should be entitled to explore WTNY’s purported foundation for doing so.”