Strata Graphics, Inc. (“Strata”) appeals the trial court’s granting of a discovery protective order in favor of and award of sanctions to Batesville Casket Company, Inc. (“Batesville”). The dispositive issues before us are:
I. Whether the trial court properly issued a protective order quashing Strata’s subpoenas to depose two Batesville employees; and
II. Whether the trial court properly required Strata to pay Batesville $6969.05 in fees and costs for obtaining the protective order.
Conclusion (slip op. at 12): The trial court did not abuse its discretion in entering a protective order quashing Strata’s subpoenas to depose DiBease and Raver. We conclude, however, that Strata was “substantially justified” in seeking those depositions and, therefore, reverse the award of attorney fees and costs to Batesville.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 8-9, 11-12): The trial court, acting within its discretion, reasonably could have concluded that forcing DiBease and Raver to sit through depositions would be unreasonably cumulative and burdensome, particularly for a non-party to the lawsuit between Strata and Givnish . . . We believe reasonable persons could disagree as to the necessity of deposing DiBease and Raver. As such, Strata was “substantially justified” in seeking the depositions and should not be charged with fees and costs for seeking them.