United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
WILLIAM C. BLOSSER and MARCIA J. BLOSSER, Plaintiffs,
ASHCROFT, INC., et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS TO
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff William and Marcia
Blosser's (“Blossers”) motion to compel Weir
Valve & Controls USA, Inc. (“Weir”) to
respond fully to discovery (Dkt. 126), motion to compel
William Powell Company (“William Powell”) to
respond fully to discovery (Dkt. 130), and motion to compel
Flowserve US, Inc. (“Flowserve”) to respond fully
to discovery (Dkt. 132). The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motions and the remainder of the file and hereby denies the
motions for the reasons stated herein.
March 31, 2017, the Blossers filed a complaint against
numerous defendants, including Weir, William Powell, and
Flowserve, alleging liability resulting from exposure to
asbestos. Dkt. 1.
26, 2017, the Blossers filed a motion to compel Weir to
comply with discovery requests. Dkt. 126. On August 7, 2017,
Weir responded. Dkt. 140. On August 10, 2017, the Blossers
replied. Dkt. 159.
31, 2017, the Blossers filed motions to compel William Powell
and Flowserve to comply with discovery requests. Dkts. 130,
132. On August 14, 2017, William Powell and Flowserve
responded. Dkts. 165, 168. On August 18, 2017, the Blossers
replied. Dkts. 170, 172.
notice to other parties and all affected persons, a party may
move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). “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).
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).
motion, it is unclear whether the parties conferred or
attempted to confer to resolve this dispute without Court
action. While the Blossers' attorney certifies that he
called and emailed Weir's attorney, he declares that he
threatened a motion to compel regardless of Weir's
attempt to comply with the discovery requests. Dkt. 127,
¶ 3 (“we would be filing a motion to compel
regardless because our document requests were broader than
the limitation Weir had unilaterally imposed.”).
Similarly, Weir has submitted an email exchange including the
exact same threat to file a motion to compel without any
indication of a good faith attempt to resolve this dispute.
Dkt. 141 at 164. This failure alone is sufficient to deny the
motion to compel. The Court, however, will briefly address
the merits of the apparent dispute.
parties' failure to confer and establish a concrete
dispute is evident from the briefing. Although Weir correctly
contends that the Blossers' motion “raises
grievances with a myriad of issues not previously discussed
between counsel, ” Dkt. 140 at 5, the parties appear to
be at an impasse regarding Weir's search of its
electronic database. The Court agrees with the Blossers that
the information it seeks seems relevant and readily
identifiable. For example, the Blossers seek information on
“any and all Atwood-Morrill valves on the Kitty Hawk
and the Peleliu at any time, as well as any of its valves and
replacement parts sent to PSNS in 1976 and 1977 when Mr.
Blosser was working there.” Dkt. 126 at 8.
response, Weir contends that its database is not searchable
by ship name or hull number and that doing a manual review
would be “incomprehensible.” Dkt. 142,
¶¶ 5, 8. Weir's response seems rather illusive
in that it asserts there is only one possible way to
electronically search its database. While the database may be
organized by valve number, this doesn't
sufficiently explain why the database may only be searched by
the specific valve number. For example, the Blossers argue
that “Weir offers no legitimate reason why it cannot
use [optical character recognition] on its electronic
database.” Dkt. 159 at 2. The Court agrees. Otherwise,
parties would be encouraged to maintain inaccessible
databases to limit their discovery obligations. To the extent
that Weir's database may be subject to alternative search
parameters, the parties shall meet and confer on this issue.
Weir may need to consult a third party vendor if necessary
because, without ...