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Marsteller v. Butterfield 8 Stamford LLC

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 27, 2017

LAUREN E. MARSTELLER
v.
BUTTERFIELD 8 STAMFORD LLC, et al.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO COMPEL [DOC. #92]

          HON. SARAH A. L. MERRIAM, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Defendants Butterfield 8 Stamford LLC, Public House Investments LLC, John Gazzola, Douglas Newhook, and Ryan Slavin (“defendants”)[1] have filed a motion seeking to compel plaintiff to (1) provide authorizations for release of her medical records and (2) provide access to her social media accounts or, in the alternative, copies of certain social media communications. [Doc. #92]. Plaintiff has filed a memorandum in opposition to defendants' Motion to Compel [Doc. #97]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS, in part, and DENIES, in part, defendants' Motion to Compel.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this action asserting claims of sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII and Connecticut law; violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Connecticut Wage and Hour Act; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and common law privacy claims. See generally Doc. #7. Plaintiff alleges that defendants Douglas Newhook and Ryan Slavin, both employees of the other defendants, repeatedly sexually harassed her, watched her changing her clothes on a company security camera in a private office, and showed the video of her changing clothes to other employees of defendants. See id. Plaintiff alleges that she experienced “severe emotional distress” as a result of this conduct. Id. at 11, 14, 16.

         On October 10, 2017, Judge Alvin W. Thompson referred this matter to the undersigned to address discovery issues. See Doc. #78. On October 20, 2017, the Court held a telephonic status conference. See Doc. #89. Following that conference, the Court set a deadline of November 14, 2017, for the filing of any motions to compel. See Doc. #91. Defendants timely filed a motion to compel, and plaintiff filed an objection. See Docs. #92, #97.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Rule 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 advisory committee's notes to the recent amendment of Rule 26 further explain that

[a] party claiming that a request is important to resolve the issues should be able to explain the ways in which the underlying information bears on the issues as that party understands them. The court's responsibility, using all the information provided by the parties, is to consider these and all the other factors in reaching a case-specific determination of the appropriate scope of discovery.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 advisory committee's note to 2015 amendment. Nevertheless, “[t]he party resisting discovery bears the burden of showing why discovery should be denied.” Cole v. Towers Perrin Forster & Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79, 80 (D. Conn. 2009).

         B. Motion to Compel Disclosure of Medical Records

         Defendants seek to compel plaintiff to provide a response to the following request for production: “Request No. 4: Copies of any and all hospital and/or treatment records and bills regarding the Plaintiff's medical treatment ... relating to the injuries described in the Complaint.” Doc. #92-3 at 3 (cited in Doc. #92-1 at 2). Defendants request that plaintiff execute an Authorization for Release of Health Information that would allow them to access her medical files directly, as a response to this request. ...


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