Rule 45 — Party May Object to Subpoena Served on Third Party Seeking Documents to Which Party Has Standing to Invoke Privilege or Personal Interest

From Iron Workers’ Local 25 Pension Fund v. Watson Wyatt & Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18335 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 10, 2009):

Although a party to a lawsuit typically has no standing to object to a subpoena directed at a non-party, standing exists when the party claims a privilege or other personal interest in regard to the requested documents. E.g., Langford v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 513 F. 2d 1121, 1126 (2d Cir. 1975); City of Ecorse v. U.S. Steel, No. 07-cv-12131, 2007 WL 4239263, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 3, 2007); U.S. v. Wells, No. 06-10589, 2006 WL 3203905, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 3, 2006). This exception apparently also permits a party to file objections to a subpoena under Rule 45(c)(2)(B), in the same manner as a person to whom the subpoena is directed. E.g., Minn. School Boards Ass'n v. Employers Ins. Co. of Wausau, 183 F.R.D. 627, 629-30 (D. Minn. 1999). The trustees' objections did include a conclusory claim that the documents sought by Young's subpoena were confidential or privileged. *** It is not clear, however, whether the trustees were thereby asserting a privilege held by themselves or by the Fund. Nor does any substantiation for this claim of privilege appear in the record. Therefore, if the trustees wish to pursue a claim of personal privilege in the documents, the Court will order them to provide a privilege log or similar document in support of the claim. As the parties have not briefed this issue, the Court will also require them to address (1) whether the trustees waived any privilege-based objections they might have had by failing to substantiate such objections within a reasonable time, and (2) whether the objections purportedly filed on behalf of the Fund were adequate to assert a claim that the trustees as individuals held any privilege in the subpoenaed documents.

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