United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
JEFFREY L. WILSON, Plaintiff,
STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Jeffrey L. Wilson's
(“Plaintiff”) motion to compel discovery. Dkt.
33. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support
of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the
file and hereby grants the motion in part and denies it in
part for the reasons stated herein.
September 7, 2016, Plaintiff served Defendants with
interrogatories and requests for production. Dkt. 34 at 2. On
October 25, 2016, Defendants replied to the interrogatories,
raising numerous objections. Dkt. 36 at 2. On November 15,
2016, the parties' attorneys met and conferred regarding
a proposed stipulated protective order and Plaintiff asserted
that the discovery responses were inadequate. Dkt. 34 at 2.
On November 16, 2016, the parties entered into a protective
order regarding the disclosure and filing of certain
confidential records. Dkt. 32. On November 17, 2016, counsel
for Defendants stated in an email to Plaintiff's counsel
that the requested discovery would be issued in
“rolling productions given the size the [sic] document
production that will happen.” Dkt. 36 at 18.
November 21 and 22, 2016, Defendants provided supplemental
responses to Plaintiff's discovery requests. Dkt. 34 at
3. On November 23, 2016, after an exchange of emails, the
parties' attorneys met and conferred regarding
Defendants' supplemental responses. Id.; Dkt. 36
at 2. After Plaintiff's counsel voiced concerns over the
objections raised by Defendants and the lack of organization
to the produced documents, the parties' attorneys agreed
to meet and confer again on December 2, 2016. Dkt. 34 at 4.
On December 2, 2016, the parties met and conferred, and
counsel for Defendants stated that she would respond to the
concerns of Plaintiff's counsel in correspondence by
December 9, 2016. Dkt. 36 at 3.
December 5, 2016, Defendants provided another supplemental
response. Dkt. 34 at 4. On December 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed
the instant motion to compel discovery. Dkt. 33. On December
9 and 19, 2016, Defendants again supplemented their
discovery. Dkt. 36 at 3. On December 19, 2016, Defendants
also responded to the motion to compel.Dkt. 35. On
December 23, 2016, Plaintiff replied. Dkt. 23.
moves to compel discovery on its propounded interrogatories
and four specific requests for production. Dkt. 33 at 8-10.
Under the discovery procedures set forth in the Federal
Rules, parties “may obtain discovery regarding any
matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or
defense of any party.” Surfvivor Media, Inc. v.
Survivor Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005). If a
party fails to produce requested discovery, the requesting
party may move for an order compelling disclosure.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). “The party who resists discovery
has the burden to show that discovery should not be allowed,
and has the burden of clarifying, explaining, and supporting
its objections.” Brown v. Warner, No.
C09-1546RSM, 2015 WL 630926, at *1 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 12, 2015)
(quoting Cable & Computer Tech., Inc. v. Lockheed
Saunders, Inc., 175 F.R.D. 646, 650 (C.D. Cal. 1997)).
Meet and Confer
Rule 37, a motion to compel “must include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make
disclosure or discovery in an effort to obtain it without
court action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). See also
LCR 37(a)(1). The parties' attorneys met and conferred
telephonically on multiple instances prior to the filing of
this motion. Although counsel for Defendants stated on
December 2, 2016, that she would further respond to the
concerns of Plaintiff's counsel by correspondence, it is
apparent that the parties have not resolved Plaintiff's
stated concerns, despite multiple telephonic conferences. The
Court finds that the telephonic conference that occurred on
December 2, 2016, satisfied the meet and confer requirement.
Further, the declaration of Darryl Parker (Dkt. 34) satisfies
the requirements in LCR 37(a)(1) regarding a certification of
compliance with the meet and confer requirement.
Organization of Discovery Production
33(d) allows parties to “answer an interrogatory by
specifying records from which the answers may be obtained and
by making the records available for inspection.”
Rainbow Pioneer No. 44-18-04A v. Hawaii-Nevada Inv.
Corp., 711 F.2d 902, 906 (9th Cir. 1983). Nonetheless,
while Rule 33(d) protects parties from having to sift through
their business records to prepare the opposing party's
case, it still requires that responding parties specify
relevant records “in sufficient detail to enable the
responding party to locate and identify them as readily as
the responding party could.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(d)(1).
Rule 33(d) does not supplant a party's duty to adequately
label and identify responsive documents under Rule 34. Rule
34(b)(2)(E)(i) states that “[a] party must produce
documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or
must organize and label them to correspond to the categories
in the request.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(E)(i).
“Courts have recognized that organizing a production to
reflect how the information is kept ‘in the usual
course of business' may require the producing party to
include different identifying information according to the
type of document or file produced.” City of Colton
v. Am. Promotional Events, Inc., 277 F.R.D. 578, 585
(C.D. Cal. 2011).
While the specific information a producing party must provide
when organizing a production “in the usual course of
business” may vary in its details according to the type
of document or file produced, it is clear that parties are
entitled under the Federal Rules to rationally organized
productions so that they may readily ...