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Hunnewell v. Bakercorp

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 27, 2018

CARROLL HUNNEWELL
v.
BAKERCORP

          DISCOVERY RULING

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

         Pending before the Court is a discovery dispute related the First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production served by plaintiff Carroll Hunnewell (“plaintiff”). See Doc. #43. On February 9, 2018, plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time until April 30, 2018, to Complete Discovery. [Doc. #39]. Defendant BakerCorp (“defendant”) filed an objection to that motion on February 12, 2018. [Doc. #40]. On February 13, 2018, Judge Alvin W. Thompson referred plaintiff's motion for extension of time to the undersigned. [Doc. #41]. On February 15, 2018, the Court granted, in part, and denied, in part, plaintiff's motion for extension of time. See Doc. #42. As part of that Order, the Court required that counsel “file a joint notice with the Court on or before March 7, 2018, if they are unable to resolve any discovery disputes related to plaintiff's written discovery requests.” Id. On March 7, 2018, the parties filed a Joint Notice of Discovery Dispute. [Doc. #43]. As a result, the Court scheduled an in-person discovery status conference for March 16, 2018. [Doc. #44]. In anticipation of that conference, the Court ordered the parties to file, on or before March 13, 2018, “a joint status report describing with specificity any remaining discovery disputes.” Doc. #45. The Court also required counsel to file a copy of the disputed discovery requests and objections with the joint status report. See id.

         Counsel failed to file the joint status report as ordered. Accordingly, on March 14, 2018, the Court entered an order canceling the March 16, 2018, discovery conference under the assumption that because no status report had been filed, counsel had resolved all outstanding disputes. See Doc. #46. Moments after the Court issued that Order, counsel for plaintiff filed the joint status report required by the Court's March 8, 2018, Order. See Doc. #47. The joint status report failed to include a copy of the discovery requests and objections at issue. Counsel for plaintiff also filed an “Emergency Motion Rescind Cancellation of In Person Status Conference.” [Doc. #48] (sic). On March 15, 2018, the Court granted, in part, and denied, in part, plaintiff's emergency motion. [Doc. #49]. As part of that Order, the Court required counsel to file a copy of the disputed discovery requests and objections at issue in the parties' joint status report. See Id. The Court rescheduled the discovery status conference to March 20, 2018. [Doc. #51].

         On March 20, 2018, the Court conducted an in-person discovery status conference and heard argument regarding the disputed discovery requests. See Doc. ##51, 52. Following the conference, the Court entered an order requiring defense counsel to file a status report by the close of business on March 23, 2018, addressing, inter alia, “the possibility for the production of electronically stored information in response to plaintiff's Requests for Production 5, 6, 6 (sic), 7, 8, and 9, if narrowed as contemplated during the March 20, 2018 discovery status conference.” Doc. #53. Pursuant to that Order, counsel for defendant filed a Status Report stating that counsel had

collected the available .pst files containing the Outlook data for the individuals discussed during the March 20, 2018 discovery conference. Defense counsel has been informed that .pst files do not necessarily contain calendar entries; however, it is currently reviewing the data to assess what, if any, electronic calendar entries are available in these files. Defendant anticipates that it will be able to complete this process and review the potentially responsive data that may be discovered by April 6, 2018.

Doc. #54 at 1. Defense counsel further represented:

On March 23, 2018, Plaintiff provided a written statement summarizing the specific Outlook notes requested related to Plaintiff - i.e., the notes from April 8, 2016 through April 18, 2016. Defendant has identified a majority of the Outlook notes requested; however, its review of Plaintiff's .pst does not include outlook notes for the following dates: April 10, 2016 or April 18, 2016. Defendant has no way to verify whether outlook notes even exist for either of these dates.”

Id. at 1-2 (sic).

         After considering the parties' written submissions [Doc. ##47, 50, 54], and the arguments of counsel, the Court SUSTAINS, in part, and OVERRULES, in part, defendant's objections to plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production.

         A. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff proceeds pursuant to a Second Amended Complaint alleging the following causes of action: (1) Violation of Connecticut General Statutes section 31-51q (liability of an employer for discipline or discharge of employee on account of employee's exercise of certain constitutional rights); (2) Violation of Public Policy; and (3) Breach of Implied Contract. See generally Doc. #24, Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff alleges that his employment was terminated because he complained that certain safety policies were not being enforced when another employee was allowed to perform pipe fusing work without the proper recertification. See generally Id. Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss Count Three of the Second Amended Complaint; that motion remains pending. [Doc. #32].

         B. 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 ...


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