United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDERED RE:
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY RESPONSES (Docket No. 18) DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY DISCOVERY AND DISPOSITIVE MOTION DEADLINES
(Docket No. 21)
RONALD E. BUSH, Magistrate Judge.
Now pending before the Court are Defendant's (1) Motion to Compel Discovery Responses (Docket No. 18) and (2) Motion to Stay Discovery and Dispositive Motion Deadlines (Docket No. 21). Having carefully considered the record and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters the following Memorandum Decision and Order:
On June 16, 2014, Defendant served Plaintiff with its First Set of Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admission ("First Set of Discovery"). On July 23, 2014, Defendant responded to Defendant's discovery requests. According to Defendant, "[m]any of [Plaintiff's] discovery responses were incomplete, non-responsive, and wholly insufficient in relation to the [Defendant's] specific requests." See Mem. in Supp. of MTC, pp. 2-3 (Docket No. 18, Att. 1). The at-issue Motion to Compel followed, focusing upon Plaintiff's responses to Interrogatory Nos. 6-8, 11, 13-15, 17, and 19, as well as Request for Production Nos. 5-6 and 14-15.
On the same day that Plaintiff opposed Defendant's Motion to Compel, September 29, 2014, Plaintiff also served his First Supplemental Responses to Defendant's First Set of Discovery. On October 1, 2014, Plaintiff served his Second Supplemental Responses to Defendant's First Set of Discovery. On October 17, 2014, Defendant submitted a reply in support of its Motion to Compel, taking into account Plaintiff's opposition thereto, alongside Plaintiff's First and Second Supplemental Responses to Defendant's First Set of Discovery.
FRCP 37(a)(1) requires a party moving to compel to certify that a good faith attempt to resolve the discovery dispute has been made before filing the motion. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1) ("The motion must include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort to obtain it without court action."). Relatedly, according to Local Civil Rule 37.1 (in effect at the time of the parties' discovery dispute):
Unless otherwise ordered, the Court will not entertain any discovery motion... unless the moving party through counsel or the self-represented litigant, files with the Court, at the time of filing the motion, a statement showing that the party making the motion has made a reasonable effort to reach agreement with opposing attorneys or self-represented litigant on the matters set forth in the motion.
Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 37.1. Defendant's counsel contends that his various letters to Plaintiff's counsel speaking to the alleged inadequacies with the latter's discovery responses satisfy the meet-and-confer requirement outlined within the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this District's Local Civil Rules. The undersigned disagrees, and refers counsel to the current, revised Local Civil Rule 37.1's emphasis on in-person communications which spells out directly the nature of the meaning of what is required to "meet and confer" before bringing a motion to compel. Still, the shortcoming in this respect is inconsequential given the state of the proceedings and the time involved to this point. With this in mind, the Court now turns to the parties' respective arguments vis à vis the various interrogatories and requests for production that represent the subject of Defendant's Motion to Compel, resolving them as follows:
Interrogatory No. 6: Defendant seeks information concerning Plaintiff's alleged damages. Through Plaintiff's First Supplemental Responses to Defendant's First Set of Discovery, Plaintiff points out that its expert, Richard A. Slaughter, Ph.D., will provide a detailed past and future wage loss calculation, consistent with the expert disclosure deadline. Defendant now acknowledges that Plaintiff "largely cured his defective responses to this interrogatory when he provided [Defendant] with his expert witness disclosure." Therefore, Defendant's Motion to Compel is denied in this respect.
Interrogatory Nos. 7 & 8: Defendant seeks information concerning Plaintiff's medical providers, including the dates of treatment. Plaintiff has provided Plaintiff with the names, contact information, but only vague references to treatment dates. However, because Plaintiff has also apparently provided Defendant with a signed Authorization for Release of Medical Records (and assuming Defendant has indeed secured Plaintiff's medical records), the dates that Plaintiff received medical treatment are now presumably available to Defendant. Therefore, Defendant's Motion to Compel is denied in this respect. If, after reviewing the medical records, the requested information is not contained therein, Defendant may revisit the issue and renew any objection to Plaintiff's responses thus far.
Interrogatory No. 11: Defendant seeks information speaking to Plaintiff's mitigation of damages, asking that Plaintiff detail every educational and/or employment opportunity he has sought or applied for since January 1, 2009. Plaintiff's original answer spoke to the fact that he was hired by Bleckley County Sheriff's Office in March 2013. In his First Supplemental Answer, Plaintiff mentioned four entities he "received a response from his job applications" (Malheur County, The Knitting Factory, American Gun and Pawn, and "other convenience stores"), but offered no specific details of these employment opportunities (dates, position, store names etc.) or, even, applications made, if any, in which he received no responses. Plaintiff shall supplement his response to Interrogatory No. 11 with these observations in mind. Defendant's Motion to Compel is granted in this respect.
Interrogatory No. 13: Defendant seeks information dealing with any communications Plaintiff had with Defendant representatives regarding his disability/injury while employed with Defendant. Plaintiff's original response identified the existence of emails, but that he was not in possession of any; his First Supplemental Answer obliquely referenced daily conversations with two "teams" of approximately 18 people apiece, along with members of other teams who switched shifts, kitchen staff, and other personnel. Plaintiff, to the best of his recollection, shall provide the names of the individuals that fit the above-described categories of people, the dates and locations of any requested communications, and the substance of those communications. Defendant's Motion to Compel is granted in this respect.
Interrogatory No. 14: Defendant seeks information regarding the details of every accommodation Plaintiff requested of Defendant during his employment with Defendant. Plaintiff responded that Defendant never engaged in the required "interactive process" to determine any reasonable accommodation, stating further that it was Defendant's duty to initiate that process. From this, it can be understood that Plaintiff himself did not make a request for any accommodation. This addresses the information sought. If this is ...