United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON DISCOVERY DISPUTES
A. Bolden United States District Judge
December 7, 2017, Dwarven Forge, LLC
(“Plaintiff”) initiated this lawsuit against
(“Defendants”) alleging (1) unfair competition;
(2) infringement of common law trademark rights; and (3)
unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1125(a). Compl., ECF No. 1 (Dec. 7, 2017).
October 22, 2019, the Court granted the parties' second
motion for a discovery conference. Order, ECF No. 78 (Oct.
22, 2019); see Second Mot. for Disc. Conf., ECF No.
77 (Oct. 18, 2019). Consistent with the Court's order,
the parties submitted filings relevant to outstanding
discovery disputes. See Docket Entries, ECF Nos.
November 8, 2019, Defendants submitted a brief regarding
outstanding issues with Plaintiff's responses to
interrogatories 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, and 18. Defs.' Brief
Regarding Disc. Dispute, ECF No. 79 (Nov. 8, 2019)
(“Defs.' Br.”). Defendants request an order
requiring Plaintiff to serve amended responses that (1)
confirm it is not withholding documents on the basis of their
objections; (2) indicate which documents - by bates number -
are responsive to each request; (3) indicate requests for
which Plaintiff has no responsive documents; (4) provide
adequate contact information beyond mere e-mail addresses for
witnesses relevant to interrogatory 18 or be precluded from
eliciting testimony from the identified individuals.
Id. at 7-9. Defendants also seek sanctions “in
an amount sufficient to cover the cost of Defendant's
attorneys' fees for having to file the instant motion,
and the efforts expended trying to root canal proper
responses from Plaintiff since the prior Discovery Dispute
Hearing.” Id. at 9.
November 15, 2019, Plaintiff responded that (1) it has
provided a finite list of documents in the signed answer
provided to Defendants; (2) it has produced all relevant
documents not protected by attorney-client privilege and has
provided specific document numbers, even though such
specificity is allegedly not required by the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure; (3) it has identified the key witnesses for
interrogatory 18 and provided all contact information
available to it, which is limited to e-mail addresses; (4) it
has provided a list of documents responsive to specific
discovery requests and has “repeatedly stated to
Defendants [sic] counsel that all documents found responsive
to the documents requests that are not protected by privilege
have been produced;” and (5) no documents are currently
being withheld, except for communications between counsel and
Plaintiff. Pl.'s Response and Opp. to Defs.' Br., ECF
No. 80 at 1-2 (Nov. 15, 2019).
amended on December 1, 2015, Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure recognizes that “[i]nformation
is discoverable . . . if it is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and is proportional to the needs of the
case.” Fed R. Civ. P. 26, Advisory Committee Notes to
2015 Amendments. But “district courts have the inherent
authority to manage their dockets and courtrooms with a view
toward the efficient and expedient resolution of
cases.” Dietz v. Bouldin, 136 S.Ct. 1885, 1892
(2016). “A trial court enjoys wide discretion in its
handling of pre-trial discovery[.]” Cruden v. Bank
of N.Y., 957 F.2d 961, 972 (2d Cir. 1992). Additionally,
Rule 37 allows the Court to impose a variety of sanctions for
discovery-related abuses and affords the Court “broad
discretion in fashioning an appropriate sanction.”
Residential Funding Corp. v. DeGeorge Fin. Corp.,
306 F.3d 99, 101 (2d Cir. 2002); see also Daval Steel
Prods. v. M/V Fakredine, 951 F.2d 1357, 1363 (2d Cir.
1991) (“Provided that there is a clearly articulated
order of the court requiring specified discovery, the
district court has the authority to impose Rule 37(b)
sanctions for noncompliance with that order.”).
with this Court's authority to manage its docket with a
view toward the efficient and expedient resolution of a case,
see Dietz, 136 S.Ct. at 1892, the Court orders
Plaintiff to serve amended responses or file an affidavit
signed by counsel that:
(1) Confirms Plaintiff is not withholding any relevant
documents on the basis of anything besides attorney-client
privilege or the work-product doctrine;
(2) Indicate by bates number which documents are responsive
to each discovery request; and
(3) Provides adequate contact information for the witnesses
in interrogatory 18. If Plaintiff does not reasonably have
access to this contact information, then Plaintiff will be
precluded from eliciting testimony from these witnesses.
must serve amended responses or file an affidavit signed by
counsel, consistent with this ruling and order, by
January 10, 2020. The Court will also issue
a separate amended scheduling order. At this point, the Court
will not be imposing sanctions because the parties'
filings adhere to the Court's order on how it will handle
these outstanding discovery disputes. See Order, ECF