United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
WILLIAM L. MCVEIGH, Plaintiff,
CLIMATE CHANGERS INC., JW BROWER HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING; INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHEET METAL, AIR, RAIL, AND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS, LOCAL 66; and MARLENE HARNISH, Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT CLIMATE CHANGERS, INC.'S
MOTION TO COMPEL
J. BRYAN United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Climate Changers,
Inc. d/b/a J.W. Brower Heating & Air Conditioning's
(“Brower”) Motion to Compel Discovery. Dkt. 99.
The Court has considered pleadings filed regarding the
motions and the remainder of the file herein.
March 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed this civil action, and now
alleges claims against his former employer, Brower, its'
president, Marlene Harnish, and a union, International
Association of Sheet Mental, Air, Rail, and Transportation
Workers, Local 66 (“Local 66”) “pursuant to
Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act and 29
U.S.C. § 185.” Dkt. 1-1. In his Third Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that there was no just cause for
his termination for misconduct or sexual harassment. Dkt. 60.
He alleges he was not fully paid. Id. Plaintiff
maintains that Local 66 violated their duty of fair
representation. Id. The Third Amended Complaint
includes claims for breach of contract, breach of the duty of
fair representation, defamation per se, intentional and
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful
discharge. Id. Plaintiff seeks damages, “[f]or
Defendant(s) to be rehabilitated with personal, professional,
and social deterrence, ” and for the Court to enforce a
provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
FACTS RELEVANT TO THE MOTION
November 29, 2016, Brower served its First Interrogatories
and Requests for Production on Plaintiff. Dkt. 100, at 5-30.
Plaintiff sent a pleading entitled “Objection” to
Brower's First Interrogatories Answers and Responses to
Brower on December 15, 2016. Dkt. 100, at 32-34. In
Plaintiff's three page December 15, 2016
“Objection, ” he acknowledges he received the
First Interrogatories and Requests for Production and
requested “the clarification or correction of the party
making Document . . . ‘Climate Changers, Inc. ET
AL' is not one of the parties in this action.” Dkt.
100, at 33. Plaintiff requested the “natural
signature” of the party that prepared the document and
not an, objected to the request that Plaintiff type his
answers, complained of the compound nature of the questions
asked, and argued that Marlene Harnish should be added to the
title. Id. Plaintiff further requested
“clarification or correction of Document's
‘all information known to Defendants', its
attorneys/agents or investigators.” Id.
January 13, 2017, Brower wrote to Plaintiff, informing him he
provided incomplete responses to the First Interrogatories
and Requests for Production. Dkt. 100, at 37. Brower's
counsel indicated that he wanted to meet and confer, and
offered dates on times to do so. Dkt. 100, at 37. Plaintiff
emailed Brower's counsel on January 17, 2017. Dkt. 100,
at 39-40. Brower's counsel spoke with Plaintiff twice on
January 17, 2017 after the email was sent. Dkt. 100, at 2.
They were unable to resolve the issues presented by
Plaintiff's response to the First Interrogatories and
Requests for Production. Dkt. 100, at 2. They spoke by phone
again on January 19, 2017, to attempt a resolution, and
according to Brower's counsel, Plaintiff stated that he
would “stand on his objections.” Dkt. 100, at 3.
January 26, 2017, Local 66's motion for an order
compelling Plaintiff to respond to Local 66's
Interrogatories and Requests for Production was granted. Dkt.
106. The undersigned found that his responses to Local
66's discovery requests were inadequate, despite Local
66's counsel's attempts at assisting him to an
extraordinary degree. Id. It was noted that
“Plaintiff's pleadings are becoming increasingly
uncivil. He has filed pages of unwarranted personal attacks
on opposing counsel. His allegations against them are without
merit, frivolous, and unnecessary. He is strongly cautioned
against including these assertions in further
pleadings.” Id. Although that Order denied
Defendants' motions for attorneys' fees and expenses,
Plaintiff was warned:
Plaintiff is expected to fully comply with the discovery
requirements under the Federal and Local Rules of Civil
Procedure. Plaintiff is warned that failure to do so may
result in sanctions, including monetary sanctions. While
Plaintiff's personal attacks on opposing counsel (and
other non-parties) are unwarranted, Plaintiff is now on
notice they constitute a waste of the parties' and
court's time and he should refrain from continuing to
avoid violating Fed.R.Civ.P. 11.
instant motion to compel (Dkt. 99) was filed on January 19,
2017, before the January 26, 2017 order (Dkt. 106);
Plaintiff's opposition was filed afterward, on January
30, 2017 (Dkts. 109-110).
Brower's motion, it seeks an order compelling Plaintiff
to fully respond to its First Interrogatories and Request for
Production. Dkt. 99. It also moves for an award of
attorneys' fees pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A).
responds, and repeats his objections as stated in his
December 15, 2016 pleading entitled “Objection, ”
again disputes whether he uses email as a form of
communication, and reasserts an argument regarding the Joint
Status Report that has been rejected. Dkt. 109. Plaintiff
states that, at one point during his discussions with counsel
for Brower, counsel offered to send Plaintiff a letter
“stating that he was authenticating that the party
requesting responses was in fact Brower.” Id.
Plaintiff states that he responded, “the Judge would
have to decide what was going to happen.” Id.
replies, argues that its motion to compel should be granted
and that attorneys' fees in the amount of $1, 920.00 (2.1
billable hours at $400 per hour) should be awarded. Dkt. 111.
Brower also moves to strike portions of Plaintiff's
response regarding issues that were expressly denied in the
January 26, 2017 order and Plaintiff's allegation that he
does not use email. Id.
opinion will first discuss the general standard regarding
discovery, then Brower's motion to compel, Brower's
motion to strike (Dkt. 111) and lastly, the Brower's
motions for attorney's fees.
STANDARD REGARDING DISCOVERY GENERALLY
Civ. P. 26 (b)(1) provides:
Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of
discovery is as follows: 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