By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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In U.S. v. Frimmel Management, LLC d/b/a Uncle Sam’s, 12 OCAHO no. 1271 and 1271a (2016), the Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) faced a discovery dispute. Specifically, whether the company can take the depositions of five Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials after the company was served with a Notice of Inspection. ICE filed a Motion to Quash four of the depositions on the grounds that two were not involved in this case except to sign their names to various ICE documents; one is not identified as who the individual is nor if he or she even works for ICE; and the last deposition because he is a Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office detective, who had no involvement in the ICE audit. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of OCAHO granted the Motion, which was upheld by the Chief Administrative Law Judge of OCAHO. They also denied the company’s argument where it argued for the suppression of the company’s identity under the 4th Amendment suppression rule.

This case demonstrates the difficulty companies face in determining the underlying facts of an ICE investigation. However, in this case, it appears the proposed deposed individuals did not have any pertinent information; thus, the depositions were quashed.