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Does v. Boy Scouts of America

United States District Court, D. Idaho

April 20, 2017

JOHN DOES I-XIX, and JOHN ELLIOTT, Plaintiffs,
v.
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, a congressionally chartered corporation authorized to do business in Idaho; CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, a foreign corporation sole registered to do business in Idaho; and CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS AND SUCCESSORS, a foreign corporation registered to do business in Idaho, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. LYNN WINMILL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is a Motion to Compel filed by Defendant Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”), Dkt. 165, and joined by Defendant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (“LDS Church”), Dkt. 167. Also before the Court are two unopposed Motions to Seal. Dkts. 160, 168. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant the Motion to Compel and defer ruling on the Motions to Seal.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs in this case assert a single claim for constructive fraud against BSA and the LDS Church arising from sexual abuse that occurred several decades ago. Defendants assert a statute of limitations defense, pursuant to Idaho Code section 5-218(4), which states that a cause of action for constructive fraud does not accrue “until the discovery, by the aggrieved party, of the facts constituting the fraud or mistake.” The Idaho Supreme Court, on certification from this Court, recently clarified that the statute begins to run when the plaintiff “knew or reasonably should have known of the facts constituting the fraud.” See Doe v. Boy Scouts of Am., 356 P.3d 1049, 1052 (Idaho 2015) (citing McCoy v. Lyons, 820 P.2d 360 (Idaho 1991)).

         In its first set of written interrogatories, BSA inquired about each Plaintiff's first contacts with counsel, purportedly to explore the facts supporting its statute of limitations defense. All responding plaintiffs answered that interrogatory identically, objecting on grounds of attorney-client privilege, work product, and relevance. Id. The interrogatories and responses each read as follows:

INTERROGATORY NO. 37: For each Plaintiff who is asserting a claim against the BSA, identify the date You first had contact with an agent, employee, or owner of O'Donnell Clark & Crew, Dumas Law Group or Chasan & Walton, whether You or counsel made the first contact, the Person with whom you had contact, and the date You first retained O'Donnell Clark & Crew, Dumas Law Group or Chasan & Walton to represent You in this matter.
RESPONSE: Plaintiff objects to this Interrogatory as blatantly seeking information protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine, and as not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. When Plaintiff first contacted and retained his attorneys in this matter has no bearing on the allegations in this case.

Id. After an unsuccessful meet and confer, pursuant to Local Rule 37.1, BSA filed the present Motion to Compel responses to Interrogatory No. 37.

         DISCUSSION

         1. Motion to Compel

         Plaintiffs have withdrawn their original objections to Interrogatory No. 37 on grounds of attorney-client and work product privilege. See Pl. Resp. at 2, Dkt. 169. Accordingly, the Court considers only whether the information requested is relevant.

         A. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), as amended effective December 1, 2015, provides that “[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case.” If a party served with discovery fails to adequately respond, the serving party may file a motion to compel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a). The Court has broad discretion in deciding ...


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