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Marsteller v. Butterfield 8 Stamford LLC

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 28, 2017

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

          ORDER ON MOTION TO COMPEL [DOC. #94]

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

         Plaintiff Lauren E. Marsteller (“plaintiff”) has filed a motion seeking to compel defendants Butterfield 8 Stamford LLC, Public House Investments LLC, Lolas Stamford LLC, and John Gazzola (“defendants”)[1] to provide tax returns or other financial and corporate documents responsive to her Document Requests Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11, and 17. See Doc. #94-1 at 1. Defendants have filed a memorandum in opposition to plaintiff's motion. [Doc. #96]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS, in part, and DENIES, in part, plaintiff's 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 “the Defendants shared a common management and were centrally controlled and/or owned by Defendants.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff further alleges that defendants “are part of a single integrated enterprise that jointly employed Plaintiff and similarly situated employees at all times relevant to this action.” Id.

         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. Plaintiff timely filed a motion to compel, and defendants filed an objection. See Docs. #94, #96.

         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 Tax Returns

         Plaintiff seeks to compel defendants to provide “tax returns or other financial and corporate documents in order to demonstrate the complete ownership and control of those corporate entities and the businesses they operate[.]” Doc. ...


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