United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION TO COMPEL [DOC. #148]
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter was referred to the undersigned by Chief Judge Janet
C. Hall for a ruling on a motion to compel filed by defendant
Automotive Technologies, Inc. (“defendant”).
[Doc. #148]. Plaintiffs filed a memorandum in opposition on
June 28, 2016. [Doc. #187]. Defendant moved for leave to file
a reply on July 13, 2016, attaching a proposed memorandum and
exhibits. [Doc. #205]. The undersigned granted that motion on
July 14, 2016. [Doc. #210].
Family Wireless #1, LLC, et al. (“plaintiffs”),
are franchisees of defendant. They bring this action alleging
breach of contract, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and
unfair trade practices. [Doc. #114]. The parties have engaged
in extensive discovery. Defendant now brings a motion to
compel, asserting the following deficiencies in
plaintiffs' responses to its discovery requests:
1. Defendant asserts that eight plaintiffs have failed to
provide sufficient documentation of the net worth of their
owners. [Doc. #148 at 5-7].
2. Defendant contends that the plaintiffs have improperly
refused to search for text messages that might include
material responsive to discovery requests. [Doc. #148 at
3. Defendant questions plaintiffs' search methodology and
oversight, and contends that the responses must be incomplete
because several plaintiffs “did not produce any
additional documents on May 20, 2016, ” and others
produced very few. [Doc. 148 at 8-10].
4. Defendant contends that plaintiffs are required to conduct
searches of all materials in the possession or control of all
85 people listed in the plaintiffs' initial disclosures
as persons “who have 'discoverable information
regarding the allegations in the Complaint.'” [Doc.
#148 at 10-14].
also seeks an award of attorneys' fees.
submission in connection with these disputes, unfortunately,
complies with Local Rule 37(b), which requires, in relevant
Each memorandum shall contain a concise statement of the
nature of the case and a specific verbatim listing of each of
the items of discovery sought or opposed, and immediately
following each specification shall set forth the reason why
the item should be allowed or disallowed. ... Every
memorandum shall include, as exhibits, copies of the
discovery requests in dispute.
L. R. Civ. P. 37(b). The defendant does not provide specific
citations to particular requests that it asserts were not
satisfied. It does not appear that all potentially relevant
requests were attached. Neither party sets forth “the
reason why the item should be allowed or disallowed.”
The parties' memoranda consist, instead, largely of
complaints about opposing counsel's conduct. The Court
will attempt to address the merits of the motion; however,
rulings on these disputes are necessarily limited by the lack
of specificity in the parties' filings.
reasons set forth herein, the Court grants, in part, and
denies, in part, the motion to compel, and denies the request
for an award of attorneys' fees.
MOTION TO COMPEL
Court first turns to the merits of the defendant's motion
to compel additional disclosures by plaintiffs.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth
the scope and limitations of permissible discovery:
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, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). The Rules also specifically limit
discovery of electronically stored information in certain
circumstances. On a motion to compel such discovery, the
party from whom discovery is sought must show that the
information is not reasonably accessible because of undue
burden or cost. If that showing is made, the court may
nonetheless order discovery from such sources if the
requesting party shows good cause, considering the
limitations of Rule 26(b)(2)(C).
Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(B). As the Advisory Committee commented,
“[u]nder this rule, a responding party should produce
electronically stored information that is relevant, not
privileged, and reasonably accessible[.]” See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2) advisory committee's note to 2006
amendment. The Court asks two central questions when
evaluating a motion to compel discovery: “(1): Has the
party resisting discovery shown that the information in
question is not reasonably accessible because of undue
cost?”; and “(2): Nonetheless, has the party
requesting discovery shown good cause for that
discovery?” Bagley v. Yale Univ., 307 F.R.D.
59, 65 (D. Conn. 2015) (internal citation and quotation marks
omitted). As ...