Dragon Ball Super voice actor Monica Rial and her fiancée, Ron Toye, have both filed motions requesting a Texas court “quash a notice of deposition and to issue a protective order” regarding an ongoing lawsuit brought against them and Funimation by Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna.
On May 7th, a “Defendant’s Motion to Quash Notice to Take the Oral and Videotaped Deposition of [Ronald Toye / Monica Rial] With Subpoena Duces Tecum and Motion for Protective Order” was filed on behalf of both Rial and Toye by their attorney, Casey S. Erick. These motions were filed for two reasons, the first being an attempt to protect Rial and Toye from having their testimonies taken during a deposition, ostensibly because they did not agree with the lack of advance notice that their depositions were to be taken and the requested date for the recording of said depositions:
“1. On or about May 3, 2019, Defendant was served with a Notice of Deposition to Take the Oral and Videotaped Deposition of Ronald Toye with Subpoena Duces Tecum (attached herein and incorporated by reference as Exhibit “A” and referred to in this Motion as the “Notice of Deposition”) in this matter to occur on May 14, 2019, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the law offices of Plaintiff’s attorneys located at 100 Independence Places, Suite 300, Tyler, Texas 75703.
2. Defendant requests that the Court quash the Notice of Deposition and issue a protective order for the reason set forth herein. This Motion is filed within three business days
after service of the Notice of Deposition; therefore, the deposition is automatically stayed until this Motion can be determined per Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 199.4.
3. Defendant objects to the Notice of Deposition as follows:
a. The deposition was unilaterally noticed without confirmation of Defendant’s counsel, with less than a two-week notice, and without sufficient advance notice of the deposition.
b. Defendant objects to the date and time of the proposed deposition.
c. Defendant objects to the place of the taking of the proposed deposition.”
However, according to lawyer Nick Rekieta, there are no requirements requiring advanced notification or a confirmation of dates under Texas law.
“There’s no law in Texas, no rule of civil procedure that says “less than two weeks” is some sort of requirement. That’s a made-up part of the rules of civil procedure. ‘Without sufficient advance notice of the deposition,’ there’s no requirement to give advance notice of the deposition, and interestingly, there is a complete lack of requirement for confirmation of the dates with defendant’s counsel.”
Rekieta also notes that the defendants did not find these points as objectionable when they served Mignogna with his Notice of Deposition:
“Interestingly enough, Vic was noticed, and I’ve confirmed this with Ty [Beard], Vic was noticed by Casey Erick, without conferring with Ty, without confirmation of Ty, and without sufficient advance notice of the deposition.”
The second reason for the filing of these motions is to grant a protective order for various documents and communication which had previously been subpoenaed by Mignogna’s lawyer, Ty Beard:
- Furthermore, pursuant to an email communication sent by Ty Beard to Defendant’s attorney on May 5, 2019 at 11:04 a.m., Plaintiff has withdrawn the Subpoena Duces Tecum and his discovery requests included in his Notice of Deposition at this time. A trial court has broad discretion to protect a party with a protective order. Defendant asks the Court to exercise its discretion and grant a protective order because it is necessary to protect Defendant from undue burden, unnecessary expense, harassment, annoyance, and/or invasion of personal, constitutional, or property rights.
The request of this protective order is curious, as Erick notes in the filing that Mignogna “has withdrawn the Subpoena Duces Tecum and his discovery requests included in his Notice of Deposition at this time” It is important to note that while the subpoenas for said documents and communication had been withdrawn, the Notice of Deposition had not. Thus, while Rial and Toye are not legally required to produce the formerly-subpoenaed information, they must still produce themselves for a deposition, as Rekieta points out:
“If they get that protective order, it doesn’t protect them from deposition. Vic has a right to a deposition of these people, they’re party to the case, there isn’t an excuse or an exit from deposition. There’s only an exit from a particular date, place, and time.”
In response to these filings, Beard filed a counter-motion, a “Plantiff’s Motion to Quash and For Entry of Confidentiality and Protective Orders”, detailing how his efforts to coordinate a date and time for the taking of Rial and Toye’s depositions were met with a refusal by the defendants to provide alternative dates:
” On April 25, 2019—prior to answering Plaintiff’s petition—Defendants Toye and Rial served the Notice without first conferring on the date or time for the deposition (the Notice is attached as Exhibit A). Plaintiff’s counsel attempted to coordinate scheduling Plaintiff’s deposition and Defendants’ depositions; however, Defendants refused to provide any dates for their depositions (see Exhibit B hereto). Exasperated with Defendants’ contumacious refusal to cooperate, Plaintiff noticed Defendants’ depositions to occur on May 15; Defendants promptly moved to quash these deposition notices. Plaintiff again requested that Defendants provide dates for their depositions (see Exhibit C hereto). Yet, again, Defendants refused to provide any dates for their depositions (see Exhibits D-E hereto). In fact, for nearly two weeks after being requested to provide dates they are available to give deposition testimony, Defendants refused to provide any dates.”
Beard also requested that the Court enter a confidentiality order preventing the involved parties from making public or publicly discussing confidential and private information found during discovery or the respective depositions without permission from the court. One such order was initially proposed by Mignogna, but this proposal was rejected by both Rial and Toye, a rejection Beard believes was meant to allow the defendants to discuss and detail Mignogna’s deposition on their personal Twitter accounts. The newly requested order aims to offer similar protections to Mignogna from the defendant’s “intent to make deposition testimony (including sensitive or private information) public.”:
“Their recalcitrance is short-sighted, as their own private information may be subject to inquiry during their depositions. Not wishing that any party should be embarrassed by the public unveiling of sensitive information disclosed in a deposition, Plaintiff respectfully asks this Court to enter a confidentiality order governing discovery in this case and precluding disclosure of information that is confidential or private absent the Court’s permission. And Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court quash the Notice and enter a protective order that no depositions may be taken (by any party) until the Court issues such confidentiality order.”
While discussing these documents on a recent livestream, Rekieta informed his audience that “Trial subpoenas go out in the morning [of May 10th] and they will get hearings set.” As of writing, no subpoenas have been publicly reported by those involved.
What do you make of this update in the ongoing court case between Vic Mignogna and Monica Rial, Ron Toye, and Funimation?