United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Abdikarim
Karrani's Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a) motion to compel various
discovery requests. Dkt. #19. For the reasons set forth
below, Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED
Karrani is an 81-year-old U.S. citizen born in Somalia, now
residing in Tukwila, Washington. Mr. Karrani filed this suit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, challenging JetBlue's
removal of Mr. Karrani from a flight traveling from New York
to Seattle on January 20, 2018 (“Flight 263”). A
medical emergency during the flight required the plane to
divert to Logan Airport in Billings, Montana instead of
landing at its Seattle destination. Before the emergency
landing in Billings, an interaction occurred between JetBlue
flight attendant Cindy Pancerman and Mr. Karrani following
Mr. Karrani's attempt to use the front lavatory and
finding it occupied by another passenger. The facts of this
interaction between Ms. Pancerman and Mr. Karrani are
disputed by both parties.
Karrani claims that after Ms. Pancerman asked him to use the
rear lavatory, he replied that he would wait for the front
restroom to open up. Dkt. #1, ¶2.13. He alleges that Ms.
Pancerman then physically pushed him towards the back, which
startled Mr. Karrani as he attempted to brush her hand off
him. Dkt. #1, ¶2.14. JetBlue, in contrast, claims that
when Ms. Pancerman attempted to guide Mr. Karrani to the rear
lavatory, he struck her. Dkt. #23-1, Ex. B (“Pancerman
Dep.”) at 17:23-20:25. JetBlue claims that due to Mr.
Karrani's refusal to comply with a crew member's
instruction and his physical contact with her, the Captain
decided to remove Mr. Karrani from the flight. Dkt. #22 at 2.
the plane landed in Billings, airport police boarded the
plane and asked Mr. Karrani to leave the flight. Mr. Karrani
agreed, and the police escorted him off the plane. The
remaining passengers were transported to Seattle. Mr. Karrani
paid for a hotel room to stay overnight in Billings and
purchased a new flight on Delta from Billings to Seattle the
next day. He claims that he contacted JetBlue seeking a
refund for the Delta flight, but JetBlue did not respond to
his request. On October 15, 2018, Mr. Karrani filed this
February 6, 2019, Mr. Karrani served Plaintiff's First
Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production on
JetBlue. JetBlue served its response on March 15, 2019, with
objections to several of Plaintiff's interrogatories and
requests for production. After Counsel conferred on March 27,
2019 in an effort to resolve the disputes, Plaintiff filed
this First Motion to Compel on March 29, 2019. Dkt. #19 at 6.
9, 2019, while Plaintiff's first Motion was pending,
Plaintiff filed a Second Motion to Compel discovery related
to complaints and prior incidents regarding Ms. Pancerman.
Dkt. #35. Plaintiff's Second Motion was filed after the
close of discovery on April 29, 2019 and is currently under
review by the Court. Consequently, this Order addresses the
discovery disputes raised in Plaintiff's First Motion to
Compel, with the exception of complaints and prior incidents
regarding Ms. Pancerman. See Dkt. #19 at 11.
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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable. Id. “District courts have
broad discretion in determining relevancy for discovery
purposes.” Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor
Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing
Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir.
2002)). 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 party that resists
discovery has the burden to show why the discovery request
should be denied. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519
F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975).
requests information on potential witnesses on the plane
flight. Interrogatory No. 1 asks JetBlue to:
Identify every person who has any knowledge or information
pertaining to the facts and occurrences that are the subject
of this lawsuit, the claims and defenses in the case, or with
regard to the matters asserted in ...