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Boden v. Nutrien AG Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

November 19, 2019

TOMMY “SHANE” BODEN Plaintiff,
v.
NUTRIEN AG SOLUTIONS, INC., formerly known as CROP PRODUCTION SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DAVID C. NYE, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Tommy “Shane” Boden's Motion to Compel. Dkt. 29. Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the Motion without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B). For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Boden's motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On August 27, 2018, Boden filed his Amended Complaint, [1] alleging that Defendant Nutrien AG Solutions, Inc. (“Nutrien”) wrongfully terminated his employment. According to Boden's Amended Complaint, Nutrien wrongfully terminated his employment because of his disability linked to a back injury, his age, and because he had filed a workers' compensation claim. Boden further alleges that he exhausted his administrative remedies for his claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (for his back injury) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (for his age) by properly submitting a Charge of Discrimination with the Idaho Humans Right Commission (“IHRC”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and subsequently receiving a Notice of Right to Sue from each entity. Nutrien denies Boden's underlying allegations, claiming that it fired Boden because of his unsatisfactory sales performance.

         At his deposition on July 17, 2019, Boden, for the first time, asserted that Nutrien attempted to tamper with his sales performance by preventing him from using his commercial driver's license (“CDL”) on account of his diabetes, even though he had a federal medical exemption that would otherwise allow him to use it. After his deposition, Boden propounded discovery requests upon Nutrien, seeking information relating to his CDL and use of it under a medical exemption. Nutrien objected to the request because it believes the information is irrelevant and inadmissible since Boden did not allege discrimination based on his diabetes in his Charge of Discrimination. Accordingly, Nutrien argues that Boden has not exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to alleged discrimination based upon his diabetes and thus the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this argument.

         On September 25, 2019, after an informal discovery dispute conference, Boden filed the instant Motion to Compel.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         “Parties 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b). Further, “information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id. Rule 26(b) lists some considerations a court may utilize in determining the proportional needs of the case, such as “the importance of the issues at stake” and “whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Id. Additionally, “for discovery purposes, relevancy is construed broadly, ” yet a court “need not condone the use of discovery to engage in fishing expeditions.” O Bar Cattle Co. v. Owyhee Feeders, Inc., No. CV 08-149-S-EJL-CWD, 2009 WL 10678025, at *7 (D. Idaho Aug. 4, 2009). A court has broad discretion in deciding whether to compel discovery. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 2002).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         As this is a motion to compel, the Court does not need to address Nutrien's admissibility concerns regarding the information that Boden is seeking. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b). As such, the Court declines to determine whether this information is admissible or not. The Court's duty under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure at this juncture is to determine whether Boden's requests are within the scope of discovery- that is, whether they are relevant and proportional to the needs of the case.

         A. Jurisdiction and Relevancy

         The Court will first address the relevancy of Boden's requests and Nutrien's arguments regarding jurisdiction. Specifically, Boden requests the following:

Request for Production No. 42: Please produce all communications to and from Plaintiff, including but not limited to email communications, which discuss Plaintiff's commercial driver's license (CDL) federal medical ...

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