The US district court (D. Virgin Islands) in the case of, Crowell v. RITZ CARLTON HOTEL (VIRGIN ISLANDS), INC., Dist. Court, D. Virgin Islands 2013 dealt with a discovery dispute.

The court, being none too pleased with the lack of cooperation in simply taking a deposition was forced to rule on this discovery dispute.

The court ordered payment in advance for the expert’s travel time and deposition, and stated:

Applying these principles to the underlying facts of this dispute, the Court finds that plaintiffs noticed the deposition of Dr. Wohns for the court reporting office in Seattle, which is, according to defendant, “some 35 miles” from Dr. Wohns’ office. Although defendant requested an accommodation equivalent to one it previously made to plaintiffs, and although the Court would expect that the extension of simple courtesies would be reciprocated whenever possible, particularly where the logistics and timing would hardly seem to prevent cooperation, the Court cannot mandate such an exchange. If plaintiffs insist on taking Dr. Wohns’ deposition at the court reporter’s office at which it was noticed, that is plaintiffs’ prerogative. However, in light of the fact that Dr. Wohns is represented to have scheduled patients up to 3:00 p.m. on April 8, 2013, the deposition shall not commence before 3:30 p.m., and plaintiff shall be required to pay Dr. Wohns his hourly rate for his time spent in travel to and from the deposition. Moreover, with respect to payment for travel time and of his fees, consistent with LRCi. 26.3, plaintiff shall be required to remit such payment to Dr. Wohns, prior to the deposition.[1]

Finally, as this Court has done on several occasions throughout the discovery phase of this case, the Court once again encourages the parties to communicate and cooperate in order to minimize the time and effort they must expend in motion practice that could easily be avoided. The Court observes that these types of disputes do not advance the search for truth, justice or the interests of the respective parties.

The premises considered, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the motion for protective order is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART consistent with the directions set forth herein.

[1] This requirement of prepayment of all fees applies equally to Dr. Marlowe, who is scheduled to be deposed for three hours, and with respect to any other remaining expert witness who has made a demand for advance payment.