United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to
compel (Dkt. No. 22). Having thoroughly considered the
parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion for the reasons
Bond and Marie Schmid bring an employment discrimination and
retaliation lawsuit alleging a manager employed by Defendant
made offensive racial and sexual comments to Plaintiffs, and
that Defendant terminated Plaintiffs when they complained
about the comments. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2-5.) Among other damages,
Plaintiffs allege lost wages, lost benefits, unfavorable
changes to their credit scores, increased loan interest, late
payment fees, and increased commute costs. (Dkt. No. 23-1 at
discovery, Defendant sought Plaintiffs' financial
records, asserting that the information was needed to prepare
a defense to Plaintiffs' damages claims. (Dkt. No. 22 at
Defendant directed the following request for production to
REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 10: Produce the monthly,
quarterly, and annual statement for any account held by you,
including without limitation bank accounts, investment
accounts, brokerage accounts, or the like, for the period
between January 1, 2012 and the present.
(Dkt. Nos. 23-2 at 11, 23-3 at 14.) Plaintiffs objected to
Defendant's request on the basis that it was
“overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and not
reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence.” (Dkt. Nos. 23-2 at 11, 23-3 at 15.) The
parties were unable to reach an agreement on the issue
through a meet and confer. Defendant then moved for an order
from the Court compelling production. (Dkt. No. 22.)
Court strongly disfavors discovery motions and prefers that
the parties resolve discovery issues on their own. However,
if the parties are unable to resolve their discovery dispute,
the requesting party may move for an order to compel.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). The Court has broad discretion to
issue such an order. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v.
General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir.
2002). For the Court to issue an order to compel, the movant
must demonstrate that “the information it seeks is
relevant and that the responding party's objections lack
merit.” Hancock v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 321
F.R.D. 383, 390 (W.D. Wash. 2017). The Court finds that
Defendant has met this burden, in part, as described below.
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). Information is relevant if it is “reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence.” Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor
Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005). Here,
Plaintiffs' banking, investment, and brokerage statements
are clearly relevant to Defendant's need to prepare a
defense for the harms Plaintiffs assert-lost wages and
retirement contributions, late payment fees, increased
interest, and increased commuting costs. (See Dkt.
No. 23-1 at 6-7.)
is a matter of “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.” Surfvivor
Media, Inc., 406 F.3d at 635. Plaintiffs assert that the
tax returns they have agreed to produce provide Defendant
sufficient access to relevant information. (Dkt. No. 26 at
2-3.) On this basis, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant's
request is not proportional. (Id.) The Court
disagrees. While tax returns provide Defendant some
information relevant to Plaintiffs' asserted damages,
they do not provide complete information. They would not, for
example, provide Defendant any insight into what
Plaintiffs' increased commuting costs or what the impact
of Plaintiffs' lost income was on their credit scores.
Nor does the Court find Plaintiffs' privacy argument
compelling, in light of the protective order entered in this
case. (See Dkt. Nos. 21). On this basis, the Court
finds that additional disclosure by Plaintiffs is
appropriate, and orders Plaintiffs to do so, as described
the Court also finds Defendant's request for production
unnecessarily broad. See Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., 364
F.3d 1057, 1072 (9th Cir. 2004) (“District courts need
not condone the use of discovery to engage in “fishing
expedition[s].”). Plaintiffs allege they were
terminated in January 2016, Plaintiff Schmid was re-employed
in September 2016, and Plaintiff Bond was re-employed in
January 2017. (Dkt. No. 26 at 2.) Yet Defendant's Request
for Production No. 10 seeks financial information from
January 2012 onward. (Dkt. No. 23-2 at 11.) Accordingly, the
Court limits its order directing Plaintiffs to ...