United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL
F. Martinez United States Magistrate Judge
plaintiffs, the City of Hartford and the Hartford Board of
Education, bring this action pursuant to the Connecticut
Products Liability Act against the defendants, Monsanto
Company, Solutia Inc., and Pharmacia LLC, alleging that the
defendants are liable for PCB contamination at the Clark
Elementary School in Hartford, Connecticut. (Doc. #71,
Pls' Second Amended Compl.) Pending before the court is
the plaintiffs' motion to compel. (Doc. #77.) There have been
a number of developments since the motion was
filed. The court heard oral argument on June 21,
2017. The court rules as follows:
Production Requests 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 26 and 27
Request for Production 11 is granted. In their supplemental
production, the defendants disclosed the "testimonial
history" of the individuals listed in the
plaintiffs' request. (Doc. #129.) The defendants,
however, object to providing the transcripts on the grounds
of relevance and burden. (Doc. #129 at 2.) The objections are
overruled. The requested information is relevant to the
plaintiffs' claims and the defendants have made no
showing as to the nature and extent of the actual burden they
would face in responding to the plaintiffs' requests.
"Under well-settled law, the party resisting production
bears the responsibility of establishing undue burden."
Michanczyk v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No.
3:05CV1903, 2007 WL 926911, at *2 (D. Conn. Mar. 26, 2007).
See, e.g., In re Application of Bloomfield Inv.
Res. Corp., 315 F.R.D. 165, 168 (S.D.N.Y. 2016)
(overruling burdensomeness objection where objecting party
did not "present particularized evidence in their
briefing that production of the . . . records would be unduly
burdensome or costly, such as an affidavit of a person with
knowledge of the record keeping system explaining in detail
the basis of the objection").
Requests for Production 12 and 13 are granted. The defendants
object that they have "already produced an extraordinary
number of transcripts" and "to the extent that
[plaintiffs] seek additional transcripts" the requests
are "duplicative and seek cumulative materials"
and are not relevant. (Doc. #89 at 11, 12.) The
defendants' objections are overruled.
Interrogatory 2 is granted. Although the defendants initially
objected on the grounds of relevance and burden, they fully
responded to the request in their Supplemental Response.
(Doc. #129.) During oral argument, the plaintiffs requested
that the defendants provide additional information - namely,
a description of each case the defendants identified in their
response. Interrogatory 2 does not ask for this information.
The court declines to compel it.
Requests for Production 22 and 23 are granted absent
Request for Production 26 is granted as follows. The
defendants shall provide the names of the plaintiffs'
attorneys in the case of Paulson v. Monsanto and the
party each attorney represented. The defendants agreed to
provide copies of the production requests plaintiffs in that
case served on defendant Monsanto. (Tr. at 104.) Counsel
shall then meet and confer regarding further disclosure.
Request for Production 27 is granted as follows. The
defendants shall produce the names of the plaintiffs'
attorneys in Maertin v. Monsanto and the party each
attorney represented. Plaintiffs may contact those attorneys
for discovery requests plaintiffs in Maertin served
Requests for Admission 1-8, 12-15, 21-26, 30-33, 39-50,
52 and Interrogatory 3
plaintiffs move to determine the sufficiency of the
defendants' responses to numerous requests for admission
and to compel the defendants to respond to Interrogatory 3,
which seeks the factual basis for requests that the
responding to requests for admission may either admit, deny,
object to the request with the reasons therefor, or set out
in detail the reasons why he or she cannot respond.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 36. "A denial shall fairly meet the
substance of the requested admission, and when good faith
requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part
of the matter of which an admission is requested, the party
shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny
the remainder." Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a). "An admission
may require qualification when the request is ostensibly
true, but the responding party cannot in good faith admit it
without some necessary contextual explanation to remedy any
improper inferences. When good faith requires that a party
qualify an answer or deny only part of a matter, the answer
must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the
rest." 7 Moore's Federal Practice §
36.11[a] (3d ed. 2016).
purpose of requests for admission is "to narrow issues
for trial." Diederich v. Dep't of Army, 132
F.R.D. 614, 616 (S.D.N.Y. 1990). "Requests for admission
should be simple and direct. . . . The requesting party bears
the burden of drafting the request clearly and specifically
so that the responding party can easily agree or
disagree." 7 Moore's Federal Practice
§ 36.10 (3d ed. 2016). See Dubin v. E.F. Hutton
Grp. Inc., 125 F.R.D. 372, 375 (S.D.N.Y.
1989)("Each request for admission must be direct, simple
and limited to singular relevant facts . . . so that it can
be admitted or denied without explanation.")
considered the applicable law and the arguments made by
counsel in their written submissions and during oral