United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
A. Bolden United States District Judge.
Khazarian (“Plaintiff”) moved to compel discovery
from Gerald M s, LLC and M s Trading Corp
(“Defendants”), seeking the personnel file of
Gary Lerner, an employee of Defendants. Pl's Mot. to
Compel, ECF No. 63. Defendants object to the production of
these documents on the grounds that Mr. Lerner is not an
appropriate comparator for Ms. Khazarian and his personnel
file is therefore irrelevant. Opp. to Mot. to Compel, ECF No.
74. For the reasons explained below, Plaintiff's motion
underlying lawsuit in this case involves allegations of age
and sex discrimination, fraudulent misrepresentation,
computer fraud, invasion of privacy, and defamation. Second
Am. Compl., ECF No. 50. In this motion, Plaintiff seeks
documents related to Gary Lerner's personnel file and
employment records. Pl.'s Mot. to Compel 6. Plaintiff
argues that “[t]he information is relevant to Ms.
Khazarian's claims of discrimination in the terms and
conditions of employment on the basis of age and gender, as
set forth in the second amended complaint.”
Id. at 7. Plaintiff plans to use Mr. Lerner's
record as comparative evidence to support her age and sex
discrimination claims. Id. at 10.
oppose Plaintiff's Motion to Compel, arguing that Mr.
Lerner is not an appropriate comparator because he is
Plaintiff's direct supervisor-not a similarly situated
employee. Opp. to Mot. to Compel 1. Defendants argue that Mr.
Lerner “held several positions that were well above
Plaintiff's position at Gerald M s, and as such did not
have the same or similar workplace standards as
Plaintiff” and is not an appropriate comparator.
Id. at 6 (citing Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 41,
reply, Plaintiff reiterates the similarities between her
position and Mr. Lerner's, emphasizing especially that
they had the same title, General Counsel, at different
companies within Gerald M s, M s Trading Corp. and Gerald
Holdings LLC. Pl.'s Reply to Opp. to Mot. to Compel 2,
ECF No. 75. Plaintiff asserts that Mr. Lerner was her
supervisor “for some portion of Ms. Khazarian's
employment with Gerald M s, ” but argues that that
“is but one fact of many that a jury will have to
consider when determining whether they are proper
district court has broad discretion to grant a motion to
compel discovery of nonprivileged matter relevant to any
party's claim. Grand Cent. P'ship, Inc. v.
Cuomo, 166 F.3d 473, 488 (2d Cir. 1999) (requiring
“‘clear showing of abuse of
discretion'” to disturb a district court ruling on
a motion to compel (quoting United States v. Yonkers Bd.
of Ed., 946 F.2d 180, 185 (2d Cir. 1991))).
Court will not address whether Mr. Lerner is an appropriate
comparator for Ms. Khazarian now, in the context of a
discovery dispute. The parties may raise and address these
arguments at the summary judgment stage. At this stage,
Plaintiff argues that Mr. Lerner's records are relevant
to her employment discrimination claims. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 26(b)(1) (“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 issue at stake in
the action, the amount in controversy, the parties'
relative access to relevant information, the party's
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the
issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed
discovery outweighs its likely benefit.”); Bagley
v. Yale Univ., 3:13-cv-1890 (CSH), 2015 WL 8750901 at *
7 (D. Conn. Dec. 14, 2015) (discussing 2015 amendments to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and noting that under Rule
26(b)(1), even as amended, “information still
‘need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.'” (quoting State Farm Mutual
Automobile Ins. Co. v. Fayda, 14-cv-9792, 2015 WL
7871037 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2015))). As a result, Mr.
Lerner's personnel file is discoverable.
to the extent that a protective order is necessary to protect
any of the information relating to Mr. Lerner, the parties
should address these issues and seek the Court's
assistance, if needed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) (“A party or
any person from whom discovery is sought may move for a
protective order in the court where the action is pending . .
. [and] [t]he court may, for good cause, issue an order to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense.”); see In
re September 11 Litig., 262 F.R.D. 274, 277 (S.D.N.Y.
2009) (citing In re “Agent Orange” Prod.
Liab. Litig., 821 F.2d 139, 142 (2d Cir. 1987)).
Plaintiff's motion ...