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Broxson v. Lakewest Condominium Association

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 11, 2017



          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Lakewest Condominium Association's motion to compel discovery from Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Renee Broxson (Dkt. No. 34). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Lakewest's motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is a claim for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation with respect to handicap access and parking space availability at a condominium managed by Defendant Lakewest Condominium Association and which was formerly owned by Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Renee Broxson. The underlying facts can be found in the order granting Lakewest's first motion to compel discovery. (Dkt. No. 31 at 1-2.) Over the course of five discovery requests, Lakewest has served the Broxsons with 19 requests for production (RFPs). (See Dkt. No. 35 at 8-27, 71- 75.) On February 26, 2017, Lakewest moved to compel disclosure of 12 out of the 19 RFPs: a response to RFP No. 7 and more complete responses to RFP Nos. 9-19. (Dkt. No. 34 at 4.) The Broxsons failed to timely respond to Lakewest's initial motion, but instead responded in a surreply on March 23, 2017. (Dkt. No. 42.) The Broxsons contest Lakewest's motion and assert that they responded to RFP Nos. 9-19 on March 20, 2017. (Id. at 2-3.)


         A. Legal Standard

         “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). When addressing proportionality, the Court considers “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.” Id. If requested discovery is not answered, the requesting party may move for an order compelling such discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). The Court has broad discretion to decide whether to compel disclosure of discovery. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 2002).

         B. Analysis

         1. Evidence Relating to Mr. Broxson's Disability (RFP Nos. 14, 15)

         RFP Nos. 14 and 15 pertain to the existence and extent of Plaintiff Jeffrey Broxson's handicap: RFP No. 14 asks for Mr. Broxson's “L&I file” revealed during deposition, and RFP No. 15 asks for any other related files, including documentation of Mr. Broxson's “injuries or conditions” or “diagnosis or treatment.” (Dkt. No. 35 at 25-26.) The Broxsons were purportedly due to receive the “L&I file” requested in RFP No. 14 from the State “in the week of March 20, 2017.” (Dkt. No. 42-3 at 5.) Thus, notwithstanding objection or amendment, the Broxsons should have no further difficulty producing the documents.

         a. Objections to RFPs Relating to Mr. Broxson's Disability

         The Broxsons object to RFP Nos. 14 and 15 for lack of relevance. (Dkt. No. 42-3 at 5-6.) An objection to a discovery request must be filed “within 30 days after being served” with the request. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(A). “It is well established that a failure to object to discovery requests within the time required constitutes a waiver of any objection.” Richmark v. Timber Falling Consultants, 959 F.2d 1468, 1473 (9th Cir. 1992). Lakewest submitted its fourth discovery request, containing RFP Nos. 14 and 15, on January 20, 2017. (Dkt. No. 35 at 22-27.) The Broxsons failed to object to that request until March 18, 2017, (Dkt. No. 42-3 at 5-6, 15), well more than 30 days after the request.

         Not only have the Broxsons failed to timely object, but the subject matter of both requests is relevant as well. “Evidence is relevant if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. The Broxsons explain in their complaint that their decision to purchase the condominium was “greatly influenced” by “Mr. Broxson's medical issues, ” including “advanced degenerative joint disease” and “numerous permanent partial disabilities.” (Dkt. No. 2 at ¶¶ 3.4-3.6.) The Broxsons also allege handicap discrimination against Mr. Broxson in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f). (Dkt. No. 2 at ¶ 4.5.) Both requests pertain to records of Mr. Broxson's handicap. (Dkt. No. 35 at 25-26.) Records of Mr. Broxson's handicap would have “any tendency to make [the] fact” of handicap discrimination against Mr. Broxson “more or less probable, ” and such fact would be of direct “consequence in determining” whether and to what degree the factors of the alleged violation are met. The Court thus OVERRULES the Broxsons' objections to RFP Nos. 14 and 15.

         b. Amen ...

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