October 24, 2013
PEOPLES BANK, Plaintiff,
BLUEWATER CRUISING LLC, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL
ROBERT S. LASNIK, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on "Defendants' Motion to Compel Discovery" (Dkt. # 43). Defendants Bluewater Cruising LLC and Suzan Nettleship (collectively "Defendants") argue that Plaintiff Peoples Bank has not provided meaningful responses to two interrogatories or produced the complete bank file regarding the loan at the heart of this case. Because Defendants did not make a good faith effort to confer with Plaintiff regarding this discovery dispute before filing their motion, the motion to compel is DENIED.
The meet and confer requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1) and Local Civil Rule 37(a)(1)(A) are imposed for the benefit of the Court and the parties. They are intended to ensure that parties have an inexpensive and expeditious opportunity to resolve discovery disputes and that only genuine disagreements are brought before the Court. Contrary to the clear requirement of Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1), Defendants have not certified that they conferred in good faith with Plaintiff before seeking relief from the Court.
Plaintiff's initial responses to Defendants' discovery requests may have been untimely and delayed, but there is no indication that Defendants notified Plaintiff of any particular concerns following receipt of Plaintiff's supplemental responses and production of documents in June 2013. See Dkt. # 43-1 at ¶¶ 3-13. Despite Defendants' general statement that "[m]ultiple requests for discovery were made by Defendants, " dkt. # 55 at 6, there is no indication that Defendants identified any particular discovery requests or deficiencies or made any attempts to meet and confer with Plaintiff after June 6, 2013, dkt. # 52 at 5. In addition, there is no evidence that Defendants ever raised their concern that Plaintiff's document production in response to Request for Production No. 1 was incomplete, even before Plaintiff provided its supplemental responses. Dkt. # 43-1 at 36-39 (letter from Defendants to Plaintiff regarding concerns about other document requests). The absence of such evidence suggests that Defendants have not satisfied their obligation under Rule 37(a)(1) or Local Rule 37(a)(1)(A).
Finally, Plaintiff's supplemental productions since June 2013 further support a finding that the parties have not reached an impasse. Even after Defendants filed this motion, Plaintiff agreed again to work with Defendants and to supplement its responses. Dkt. # 58 at 12. Contrary to Defendants' contention, a good faith effort to resolve this matter would have involved an exchange of information until no additional progress was possible. This did not happen. As is clear from the memoranda and the late declaration filed by Defendants, Defendants' motion was premature and could have been avoided had Defendants brought their specific concerns to Plaintiff's attention before filing the motion. The Court is unwilling to issue an order compelling discovery under these circumstances.
For all of the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion to compel and request for fees (Dkt. # 43) is DENIED.