Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Best Buy Stores, L.P.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 14, 2017

HANNAH SMITH, AMY FEIK, AND SIERRA DIVINE, Plaintiffs,
v.
BEST BUY STORES, L.P., a Virginia limited partnership, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court are Defendant's Motion to Claw Back Certain Work Product Material Produced During Discovery and For Entry of a Protective Order (Dkt. 25) and accompanying Motion to Seal (Dkt. 28). The Motions are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny the Motion to Claw Back but grant the Motion to Seal.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on June 30, 2016, alleging Best Buy discriminated against Plaintiffs based on their gender, retaliated against them, and subjected them to harassment and a hostile work environment, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the Idaho Human Rights Act (“IHRA”). Compl., Dkt. 1.

         In July 2016, Best Buy hired Attorney Sara E. Van Genderen from the law firm of Geittmann Larson Swift LLP to investigate Plaintiffs' allegations in their lawsuit against Best Buy. See Van Genderen Decl. ¶ 5. On August 8, 9 and 18, 2016, Attorney Van Genderen met or spoke with numerous employees from Best Buy's Idaho Falls Store #944 regarding the allegations in this lawsuit. Id. ¶¶ 6, 7. Ms. Van Genderen conducted the investigation in her capacity as an attorney and prepared witness summaries based on the information provided during the investigation. Id. ¶ 8. After she completed the internal investigation, she provided the witness summaries to Best Buy. Id. ¶ 10; Van Genderen Decl. Ex. 1. At the time she prepared them and provided copies to Best Buy, Attorney Van Genderen understood her witness summaries were covered by the work product doctrine. Id. ¶ 11.

         Plaintiffs served Best Buy with a Summons and the Complaint on August 29, 2016. Dkt. 4. On October 20, 2016, the Parties entered into a Stipulated Discovery Plan, containing the following language regarding the production of privileged or work product material:

Clawback: Pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 502(d), the parties request the Court to enter an Order that production of a privileged or work-product-protected document, whether inadvertent or otherwise, is not a waiver of privilege or work-product protection in this case or in any other federal or state proceeding.

Dkt. 15 at ¶ VI.a.

         On October 27, 2016, the Court entered a Case Management Order stating “All discovery is subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Civil Rules for the District of Idaho, and the parties' joint discovery plan, which is incorporated by reference.” Dkt. 16 at ¶ 4. The case was reassigned from Judge Ronald E. Bush to District Judge B. Lynn Winmill on November 28, 2016. The undersigned thereafter entered an Amended Case Management Order containing the same language. Dkt. 19 at ¶ 4.

         On October 27, 2016, Best Buy served Plaintiffs with its initial disclosures and roughly 600 pages of documents. See Ex. A. Attorney Van Genderen's August 2016 witness interview summaries were included in Best Buy's initial disclosures. See Van Genderen Decl. Ex. 1; Ex. A.

         In or around March 2017, Best Buy hired Attorneys Thomas Deer and Katherine Manuel from the law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., to work with Best Buy's current counsel, Moffatt Thomas. On April 6, 2017, Best Buy's counsel notified Plaintiffs' counsel by telephone and e-mail that work product material had been included in Best Buy's initial production and requested that the material be returned. See Ex. B. Best Buy's counsel followed up with Plaintiffs' counsel on April 18, 2017. See Ex. C. On April 20, 2017, Plaintiffs' counsel refused to return the materials. See Ex. D. On May 16, 2017, Best Buy's counsel again contacted Plaintiffs' counsel about the witness summaries. See Ex. E. Plaintiffs maintained their objections and refused to return the witness summaries.

         On May 1, 2017, Best Buy's counsel circulated a draft protective order for Plaintiffs' review and consideration. See Ex. F. On May 26, 2017, Plaintiffs circulated their proposed revisions. See Ex. H. Best Buy accepted all revisions, except those made to the Inadvertent Disclosure section. See Ex. I. Specifically, Plaintiffs' revision striking the language “Production of a privileged or work product document, whether inadvertent or otherwise, is not a waiver of privilege or work product protection in this case or in any other federal or state proceeding.” Id. at 6. Notably, this language mirrors the language in the Parties' Stipulated Discovery Plan. See Dkt. 15 at ¶ VI.a. Plaintiffs removed this language, claiming a protective order is not the proper place to address waiver of the work product privilege. See Ex. J.

         After an unsuccessful meet and confer, and informal mediation with the Court, Best Buy filed the present discovery motion. Best Buy seeks an Order allowing it to claw back the witness interview summaries and entry of its Proposed Protective Order.

         ANALYSIS

         1. Motion to Claw Back Witness Interview Summaries

         In determining whether Best Buy is entitled to claw back of the witness interview summaries, the Court must determine (1) whether the materials are protected by the work product doctrine and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.