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City of Hartford v. Monsanto Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 2, 2017

CITY OF HARTFORD and HARTFORD BOARD OF EDUCATION, Plaintiffs,
v.
MONSANTO COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL

          DONNA F. MARTINEZ, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The 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. Pending before the court is defendants' motion to compel. (Doc. #187.) The motion encompasses two separate issues: (1) a request to compel plaintiff's expert, Ross Hartman ("Hartman"), to produce certain documents and (2) a challenge to the plaintiffs' privilege log. The court heard oral argument on October 25, 2017.

         A. Production Requests

         The defendants seek to compel Hartman to comply with production requests 26, 27, and 31 and to submit to another deposition.

         1. Production Request 26 seeks presentations (and related notes) Hartman gave on PCBs. The plaintiffs' objections[1] as to overbreadth and relevance are overruled. The plaintiffs also object on the grounds that the request "vastly exceeds the bounds of proper expert witness discovery" and cite as support Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(4)(C)[2]. (Doc. #194 at 12.) That rule, however, provides "work-product protection against discovery regarding draft expert disclosures or reports and - with three specific exceptions - communications between expert witnesses and counsel." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory committee's note to 2010 amendment. The plaintiffs' reliance on this rule to preclude the defendants' request for Hartman's presentations is misplaced. The plaintiffs' objection is overruled.

         2. Production Request 27 concerns pilot projects in which Hartman participated and, as narrowed by the defendants during oral argument, seeks summary reports (and attachments) issued to clients. The plaintiffs' objections, the same asserted in response to Request 26, are overruled.

         3. Production Request 31 seeks communications and documents of Hartman or SES or any other company with which he was associated related to environmental consulting services provided to Moosup Elementary. The plaintiffs' objections, the same asserted in response to Request 26, are overruled.

         The defendants' motion to compel Hartman to comply with production requests 26, 27 and 31 and to submit to another deposition is granted.

         B. Privilege Log

         The second aspect of defendants' motion concerns the plaintiffs' privilege log. (Doc. #187, Ex. M.) Initially the defendants requested that the court conduct an in camera review of the entire log because the entries did not appear to reflect proper invocation of either work production protection or attorney-client privilege. However, during oral argument, defendants narrowed their request for an in camera review of the following six documents:

HRTFDSCHL045063
HRTFDSCHL045066
HRTFDSCHL045081
...

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