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Head v. The Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc.

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

April 11, 2019

MOLLY HEAD and JAMES HEAD, a marital community, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE HOME DEPOT, U.S.A., INC., a foreign corporation, Defendant.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL

          ROBERT J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant The Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc.'s Motion to Compel. Dkt. 15. The Court has considered the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the remaining record.

         This negligence case arises from injuries the Plaintiff alleges she suffered after tripping and falling at the Defendant's Poulsbo, Washington store. Dkt. 1-1. On November 2, 2018, the case was removed from Kitsap County, Washington Superior Court based on the diversity of the parties' citizenship and the amount in controversy pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (a)(1). Dkt. 1.

         On December 21, 2018, the Defendant served its first set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents to the Plaintiff. After a few agreed extensions, the Plaintiff provided her Initial Disclosures and responses to the Defendant's first set of written discovery. On February 25, 2019, the Defendant wrote the Plaintiff identifying deficiencies in the responses. The parties again had a conference and agreed that the Plaintiff would supplement her answers by March 8, 2019. No. supplements were provided by that date.

         On March 11, 2019, the Defendant filed this motion to compel and seeks an award of attorneys' fees. Dkt. 15. On March 27, 2019, it filed a reply, noting that no response to the motion was filed and again moved the Court for a motion compelling certain discovery and for an award of attorneys' fees. Dkt. 18. On March 28, 2019, three days after her response was due, the Plaintiff filed the declaration of her counsel, stating that all the sought after discovery was provided. Dkt. 19.

         On April 4, 2019, the Defendant's motion was renoted because it was not clear what, if any, discovery remained to be compelled. The parties were given an opportunity, if they wished, to supplement their briefing on whether any discovery remained and whether sanctions, in the form of an award of attorneys' fees, should be ordered. The Defendant responded, and point out, with specificity which discovery remains and again moves for sanctions of $1, 747.50 in attorneys' fees. Dkt. 21.

         DISCUSSION

         A. LATE FILED PLEADING

         While the Plaintiff's response to the motion to compel was filed late and only appears in the form of a declaration from counsel, in the interest of fully and fairly considering all issues, it should be considered.

         B. MOTION TO COMPEL

         Fed. R. Civ. p. 26 (b)(1) provides:

Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: 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, considering 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. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

         Rule 37 (a)(1) provides:

On notice to other parties and all affected persons, a party may move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery. The motion 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.

         “The court should and ordinarily does interpret ‘relevant' very broadly to mean matter that is relevant to anything that is or may become an issue in the litigation.” Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351, n.12 (1978)(quoting 4 J. Moore, Federal Practice ¶ 26.56 [1], p. 26-131 n. 34 (2d ed. 1976)).

         The Defendant seeks to compel supplements to the Plaintiff's Initial Disclosures, Interrogatories No. 5, 6, 7, 11 and 14, ...


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