The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALAN KAY, Magistrate Judge
Pending before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel
Discovery and for Sanctions ("Motion") , Defendants'
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion and Cross-Motion for Protective
Order ("Defendants' Opposition/Cross-Motion") , Plaintiffs'
reply to Defendants' Opposition ("Plaintiffs' Reply") ;
Plaintiffs' opposition to the Cross-Motion ("Plaintiffs'
Opposition") ; and Defendants' reply to the Motion
("Defendants' Reply") . The Motion and the Cross-Motion
relate to the scope of discovery in the instant case, following
the trial court's March 24, 2005 Memorandum Opinion and Order
[29, 28] allowing "jurisdictional discovery concerning Libya's
provision of material support and resources to the Abu Nidal
Organization. . . ." March 24, 2005 Order .
Plaintiffs Elaine Collett, Karim Collett, David Collett, and
Suzie Grant, individually and on behalf of the Estate of Alec
Collett, seek damages arising out of the abduction of Alec
Collett on or about March 25, 1985, his captivity for over a
year, and his murder by hanging on or about April 17, 1986.*fn1 Plaintiff Elaine Collett is the
surviving wife of Alec Collett; the other Plaintiffs are Mr.
Collett's natural children. Defendants named in this case are the
Socialist People's Arab Jamahiriya (hereinafter "Libya"); the
Libyan Security Organization ("LESO"); Libyan leader Muammar
Qadhafi ("Qadhafi"); the Abu Nidal Organization; and John Does
1-99, certain officials, employees, and agents of Libya, whose
exact identities are unknown.
Plaintiffs allege that Libya, LESO, Qadhafi and the John Does
provided support to the Abu Nidal Organization, an international
terrorist organization responsible for Mr. Collett's abduction,
captivity and death. Plaintiffs further allege that the
Defendants are subject to suit in the United States pursuant to
the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA"),
28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(7). Plaintiffs assert that their claims for wrongful
death, personal injury and related torts perpetrated by state
sponsors of terrorism and their officials, employees, and agents
fall within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(7), and
28 U.S.C. § 1605 note (the so-called "Flatow Amendment.")
Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on October 9, 2001, and on
November 13, 2002, the trial court granted a motion to stay
pending jurisdictional discovery. Defendants filed a motion to
dismiss the Complaint on May 15, 2003, on grounds of lack of
subject matter and personal jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim. On March 16, 2004, the trial court issued a Memorandum
Order  denying without prejudice the Defendants' motion to
dismiss and granting Plaintiffs leave to amend their Complaint.
Plaintiffs subsequently filed their Amended Complaint  on
April 16, 2004. On May 16, 2004, Defendants moved to dismiss the
amended complaint for lack of subject matter and personal
jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. In its March 24, 2005 Order , the trial court granted in
part and denied in part the motion to dismiss and requested that
the parties submit a joint jurisdictional discovery plan on or
before April 25, 2005. In its Memorandum Opinion 
accompanying the March 24, 2005 Order, the trial court found that
"[Section] 1605(a)(7) requires a minimal showing that Libya
provided material support to the Abu Nidal organization and that
such support was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury."
Memorandum Opinion  at 8. Accordingly, the trial court ruled
The defendants' challenge regarding the provision of
material support and resources attacks the factual
basis of the court's jurisdiction and requires the
court to drop the assumption of truth that the court
would otherwise afford the plaintiffs' complaint.
Phoenix Consulting, 216 F.3d at 40. Such a dispute
can only be resolved through the appropriate
jurisdictional discovery. Wyatt, ___ F.Supp.2d ___,
2005 WL 517771 at *9 (ordering "jurisdictional
discovery on the issue of Syria's alleged provision
of material support and resources to [a terrorist
organization]"). Accordingly the court will order the
parties to submit a joint discovery plan regarding
Libya's alleged provision of material support and
resources to the Abu Nidal Organization.
On April 25, 2005, the parties submitted their Joint Proposed
Jurisdictional Discovery Plan ("Joint Discovery Plan") ,
noting that "[d]iscovery [was] to be had pursuant to all methods
and procedures allowed under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
and the Local Civil Rules of [this] Court. . . ." The Joint
Discovery Plan also provided deadlines for initial Rule 26(a)(1)
disclosures and expert disclosures. In a Minute Order dated April
26, 2005 [no docket number assigned], the Court adopted the Joint
Discovery Plan and indicated that jurisdictional discovery closes
on November 30, 2005.
Plaintiffs now move to compel discovery from Defendants Libya
and LESO. Plaintiffs contend that neither of these two defendants
"has (1) produced a single document; (2) appeared for properly noticed depositions; (3) answered interrogatories in
any meaningful, non-evasive way, or . . . sign[ed] their
interrogatory responses, . . .; or (4) made any Rule 26(a)
disclosures as agreed to in the Joint Proposed Jurisdictional
Discovery Plan and required by this Court. . . ." Motion at 1.
Defendants Libya and LESO contend that they do not have any
documents, names of individuals or any other information which
should be provided under Rule 26(a)(1) disclosure requirements.
Defendants' Opposition/Cross-Motion at 8-9. Defendants Libya and
LESO further allege that the scope of the discovery requested
vastly exceeds the scope of discovery anticipated under the trial
court's March 24, 2005 Order and allowed by the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Accordingly, Libya and LESO move for a
protective order requesting that the Court restrict the
Plaintiffs to the limited jurisdictional discovery contemplated
by the Court and prohibit the Plaintiffs from deposing Libyan
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) provides that discovery
is permitted "regarding any matter, not privileged, which is
relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action,
whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking
discovery . . ." Once a relevancy objection has been raised, the
party seeking discovery must demonstrate that the information
sought to be compelled is discoverable. See Alexander v. Federal
Bureau of Investigation, 194 F.R.D. 316, 325 (D.D.C. 2000). If
there is an objection based on undue burden, the objecting party
must make a specific, detailed showing of how the discovery
request is burdensome. See Chubb Integrated Systems Ltd. v.
National Bank of Washington, 103 F.R.D. 52, 60-61 (D.D.C. 1984)
("An objection must show specifically how an interrogatory is
overly broad, burdensome or oppressive, by submitting affidavits
or offering evidence which reveals the nature of the burden.")
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(iii), the court may limit
discovery on its own initiative, if it determines that the
"burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit, taking into account the needs of the case, the amount in
controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issue
at stake in the litigation, and the importance of the proposed
discovery in resolving those issues." See Hammerman v. Peacock,
108 F.R.D. 66, 67 (D.D.C. 1985).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) provides in part that:
Upon motion by a party or the person from whom
discovery is sought . . . and for good cause shown,
the court in which the action is pending or
alternatively, on matters relating to a deposition,
the court in the district where the deposition is to
be taken may make any order which justice requires to
protect a party or person from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
Pursuant to Rule 26(c), the court may direct "(1) that the
disclosure of discovery not be had; (2) that the disclosure or
discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions,
including a designation of time or place; (3) that the discovery
may be had only by a method of discovery other than that selected
by the party seeking discovery."
The party moving for a protective order bears the burden of
making a showing of good cause required by Rule 26(c). See e.g.
Alexander v. FBI, 186 F.R.D. 60, 64 (D.D.C. 1998); see also
Jennings v. Family Mgmt., 201 F.R.D. 272, 275 (D.D.C. 2001)
(holding that "complete prohibition of a deposition [is] an
`extraordinary measure' which should be resorted to only in rare
occasions.") (citation omitted). A trial court possesses broad
discretion in issuing a protective order and determining what
degree of protection is required. Seattle Times Co. v.
Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36 (1984); see also United States v.
Microsoft Corp., 165 F. 3d 952, 959 (D.C. Cir. 1996). The decision to limit or deny discovery by
means of a Rule 26 protective order requires the court to balance
"the requestor's need for the information from this particular
source, its relevance to the litigation at hand, the burden of
producing the sought-after material; and the harm which
disclosure would ...