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City of Seattle v. Zylab North America, LLC

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

November 2, 2017

CITY OF SEATTLE, Plaintiff,
v.
ZYLAB NORTH AMERICA, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motions to compel discovery (Dkt. Nos. 39, 44). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court hereby GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motions for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court has described the factual background of this case in previous orders. (See, e.g., Dkt. No. 43 at 1-2.) The Court issued an order on Plaintiff's motion to compel. (Id.) Defendant has filed two separate motions to compel: one dealing with interrogatories (Dkt. No. 39), the other with production of documents (Dkt. No. 44). The Court addresses both in this order.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Discovery motions are strongly disfavored. The party resisting discovery has the burden to establish when limitations are appropriate. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975). Defendant asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to respond to numerous interrogatories and to produce documents in accordance with its requests for production. (Dkt. Nos. 39 at 2; 44 at 11.) The Court resolves these issues as they appear in Defendant's motions.

         A. Interrogatories

         Defendant asserts that Plaintiff has not sufficiently answered its interrogatories numbered 2, 5, 8, 11, and 16-21 and asks the Court to order Plaintiff to respond. (Dkt. No. 39 at 2.)

         Defendant's interrogatory number 2 states: “For each breach of contract please state each and every fact upon which you contend ZyLAB breached the portion of that contract.” (Dkt. No. 51 at 26.) In its amended response, Plaintiff objected that the request for “each and every fact” is overbroad and referred Defendant to other documents produced in discovery. (Id.) Plaintiff's response is inadequate. The Federal Rules expressly direct that “[a]n interrogatory is not objectionable merely because it asks for an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(2).

         Defendant's interrogatories seek to clarify the facts underlying Plaintiff's claims. Such a response would meaningfully contribute to clarifying issues in the case and narrowing the scope of the dispute. Plaintiff has not adequately demonstrated that the answer to this interrogatory could be determined by examining the business records it has produced in discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(d). Furthermore, the Court is not persuaded by Plaintiff's overbreadth argument because it did not even attempt to respond to the interrogatory. Plaintiff is therefore ORDERED to provide a supplemental response answering Defendant's interrogatory number 2 with specificity.

         Defendant's interrogatory number 5 states: “Please state each and every fact which supports the allegation in the Complaint that Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority terminated a contract with ZyLAB on November 6, 2009.” (Dkt. No. 51 at 28). In its amended response, Plaintiff states that “[t]he produced records contain all facts in the City's possession that support Plaintiff's allegation that Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority terminated a contract with ZyLAB on November 6, 2009.” (Id. at 28-29.) Plaintiff refers Defendant to 79 pages of documents produced in discovery and cites to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(d) as supporting its response. (Id. at 29.) Plaintiff's response is inadequate because it has not demonstrated that “the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer [to Defendant's interrogatory] will be substantially the same for either party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(d). Nor is the Court satisfied that Plaintiff has described the records in sufficient detail to allow Defendant to derive the answer to its interrogatory. Id. at (d)(1). Plaintiff is therefore ORDERED to provide a supplemental response answering Defendant's interrogatory number 5 with specificity.

         Defendant's interrogatory number 8 states: “Please state each and every fact that You contend ZyLAB negligently, intentionally or fraudulently misrepresented or omitted in response to the City's RFP as alleged at ¶ 4.16 of the Complaint.” (Dkt. No. 51 at 31).

         In its amended response, Plaintiff states that “produced records contain facts supporting the City's contention that ZyLAB negligently, intentionally, or fraudulently misrepresented or omitted in response to the City's RFP as alleged at ¶ 4.16 of the Complaint.” (Id.) Plaintiff again refers Defendant to 79 pages of documents produced in discovery and cites to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(d) as supporting its response. (Id. at 31-32.) Plaintiff's response is inadequate because it has not demonstrated that “the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer [to Defendant's interrogatory] will be substantially the same for either party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(d). Nor is the Court satisfied that Plaintiff has described the records in sufficient detail to allow Defendant to derive the answer to its interrogatory. Id. at (d)(1). Plaintiff is therefore ORDERED to provide a supplemental response answering Defendant's interrogatory number 8 with specificity.

         Defendant's interrogatory number 11 states: “Please state each and every fact that supports You [sic] contend that ZyLAB had a contract termination history which was required to be disclosed to the ...


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