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Laber v. Long View R.V., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 28, 2017

JASON R. LABER
v.
LONG VIEW R.V., INC. d/b/a LONG VIEW RV SUPERSTORE, et al.

          ORDER RE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL [#45] AND DEFENDANTS'

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

         On October 30, 2017, plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel seeking an order directing defendant Long View R.V., Inc. (“Long View”) to permit an inspection and road test of the vehicle at issue in this matter. [Doc. #45]. In response, defendants filed an Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and Cross Motion for an Order for Inspection. [Doc. #51]. Plaintiff filed a Reply. [Doc. #54]. For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion to compel is GRANTED and defendants' cross motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that the 2017 Thor Miramar 34.3 (“the RV”) he purchased from Long View on or about June 9, 2016, was delivered with defects. See Doc. #1 at 2. Plaintiff notified defendants of the alleged defects, and defendants took possession of the RV and attempted to repair it. See Id. at 3-4.

         Ultimately, plaintiff refused to retake possession of the RV from Long View after determining that the RV's slide-out system had not been repaired. See Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that on February 23, 2017, he “served written notice on the defendants that [he] revoked acceptance of the RV.” Id. On April 3, 2017, plaintiff filed this action seeking damages stemming from his purchase of the RV. See id.

         On October 30, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion to compel, see Doc. #45, which was referred to the undersigned by Judge Alvin W. Thompson, see Doc. #46. Plaintiff asks the Court to issue an order directing Long View to permit plaintiff's expert witness, Thomas Bailey, to inspect the RV and conduct a road test utilizing Long View's dealer plates. See Doc. #45.

         In response, defendants filed “Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and in Support of Defendants' Cross Motion for an Order for Inspection.” Doc. #51-5. Defendants do not contend that plaintiff's requests to inspect the RV and conduct a road test are beyond the scope and limits of permissible discovery set forth in Rule 26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Id. Rather, defendants' cross motion asks the Court to impose certain restrictions and limits on plaintiff's inspection of the RV and to prohibit the road test unless the RV is properly registered and insured. See Id. Accordingly, the Court construes defendants' cross motion as a motion for a protective order pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         On December 12, 2017, the Court held a telephonic status conference with counsel for all parties and informed them of its intentions regarding the cross motions to compel and for protective order. See Doc. #59. The parties requested more time to address the remaining issues pertaining to insurance and the timing of the inspection. Therefore, the Court entered an Order requiring the parties to file a joint notice regarding the status of these issues. See Id. The parties filed a joint statement on December 22, 2017, which indicated that plaintiff has secured adequate insurance for the road test, and that the parties have agreed to a procedure for the inspection and scheduled it for January 12, 2018. See Doc. #61.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 34(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that “[a] party may serve on any other party a request within the scope of Rule 26(b) ... to produce and permit the requesting party or its representative to inspect, copy, test, or sample [any designated tangible things] in the responding party's possession, custody, or control[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(1). 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 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).

         A party may seek a protective order pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:

The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including[:] ... (A) forbidding the disclosure or discovery; (B) specifying terms, including time and place or the allocation of expenses, for the disclosure or discovery; (C) prescribing a discovery method other than the one selected by the party seeking discovery; (D) forbidding inquiry into certain matters, or limiting the scope of disclosure ...

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