United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
S. LASNIK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Aklilu
Yohannes's “Motion to Compel Complete Answer to
Interrogatories.” Dkt. #79. For the reasons that
follow, plaintiff's motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
case concerns an alleged debt owed from plaintiff Yohannes to
Baker Dental Implants & Periodontics (“Baker
Dental”), dating back to 2005 or 2006. On March 1,
2006, a lawsuit was filed against plaintiff in the Snohomish
County District Court. A default judgment was entered against
him on May 1, 2006. Right before the default judgment was set
to expire, see RCW 6.27.010(1),
defendants attempted to collect. On April 7, 2016, an
application and writ of garnishment was entered in the amount
of $1, 886.67. Eventually, by the end of May 2016, plaintiff
informed defendants of his intention to file a lawsuit.
Defendants refunded the money. However, plaintiff maintains
that he was harmed by defendants' attempts to collect the
alleged debt. He brings claims under inter alia the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, see 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692 et seq., Washington's Collection
Agency Act, see RCW 19.16 et seq., and
Washington's Consumer Protection Act, see RCW
19.86 et seq. Dkt. #32 (Compl.).
January 15, 2019, plaintiff served his First Set of
Interrogatories on OCI. Dkt. #79-2 (Yohannes Decl.) at ¶
2; see Ex. 1, Dkt. #79-3. OCI responded on February
1, 2019. Id. at ¶ 3. On February 6, 2019,
plaintiff sent defense counsel an email setting out certain
deficiencies. Id. at ¶ 4; see Ex. 3,
Dkt. #79-5. He sent another follow up email on February 16,
2019. Id. at ¶ 5; see Ex. 4, Dkt.
#79-6. On February 26, 2019, defense counsel sent its amended
responses to the interrogatories. Id. at ¶ 6;
see Ex. 2, Dkt. #79-4. On March 4, 4019, plaintiff
sent another email to defense counsel, stating that the
amended responses “did not properly address the issues
raised in [his] February 6, 2019 email.” Ex. 5, Dkt.
#79-7; see Yohannes Decl. at ¶ 7. In an email
dated March 5, 2019, defense counsel suggested that parties
meet and confer. Yohannes Decl. at ¶ 8; see Ex.
6, Dkt. #79-8. They spoke on the phone on March 12, 2019.
Id. at ¶ 9. Plaintiff reduced the scope of one
of his interrogatories. Id. at ¶ 10. According
to plaintiff, defense counsel promised that another set of
amended responses would be sent by the end of the week.
Id. at ¶ 11.
March 15, 2019, plaintiff received an unexecuted copy of
OCI's responses for his review. Id. at ¶
12. He wrote to defense counsel on March 16, 2019, again
pointing out certain deficiencies. Id. at ¶ 13;
see Ex. 7, Dkt. #79-9 at 3-4. He sent a follow up
email on March 20, 2019, asking if defense counsel was
willing to file a joint motion. Id. at ¶¶
14-15; see Ex. 7, Dkt. #79-9 at 3. Defense counsel
responded on the same day. He declined to file a joint motion
and reiterated that defendants had fully responded to
plaintiff's interrogatories. Id. at ¶ 15;
see Ex. 7, Dkt. #79-9 at 1. On March 21, 2019, OCI
provided an executed copy of its amended responses.
Id. at ¶ 16; see Ex. 2, Dkt. #79-4. On
the same day, plaintiff requested additional information
regarding one of the interrogatories. Id. at ¶
17. Defense counsel responded that plaintiff should be able
to obtain it himself. Id. On March 26, 2019,
plaintiff informed defense counsel of his intent to file a
motion to compel. Id. at ¶ 18. Defense counsel
responded on March 27, 2019, stating that OCI had cooperated
fully. Id. at ¶ 19; see Ex. 8; Dkt.
#79-10. Plaintiff filed this motion on April 11, 2019. Dkt.
Court has “broad discretion to manage discovery.”
Avila v. Willits Envtl. Remediation Tr., 633 F.3d
828, 833 (9th Cir. 2011). In general, “[p]arties 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).
“If a party fails to answer an interrogatory, the
“party seeking discovery may move for an order
compelling an answer.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B).
“The party who resists discovery has the burden to show
that discovery should not be allowed, and has the burden of
clarifying, explaining, and supporting its objections.”
Brown v. Warner, No. C09-1546RSM, 2015 WL 630926, at
*1 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 12, 2015) (quoting Cable &
Computer Tech., Inc. v. Lockheed Sanders, Inc., 175
F.R.D. 646, 650 (C.D. Cal. 1997)).
who has responded to an interrogatory “must supplement
or correct its disclosure or response … in a timely
manner if the party learns that in some material respect the
disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the
additional or corrective information has not otherwise been
made known to the other parties during the discovery process
or in writing.” Fed R. Civ. P. 26(e); see Litle
& Co. v. Mann, 145 F.3d 1339 (9th Cir. 1998).
OCI's Responses to Plaintiff's
Interrogatory No. 2
Interrogatory No. 2, plaintiff requests that OCI identify all
the individuals with whom it is in contact at Baker Dental
and the purpose and dates of its communications with these
individuals. Ex. 2, Dkt. #79-4 at 3. OCI responded with the
name “Dr. David Baker.” Id. It stated
that it is no longer in touch with Dr. Baker and has no
location or contact information for him. Id.
Plaintiff objects that this is internally contradictory. Dkt.
#79 at 6. Defendants respond that they cannot be
“compelled to provide information that [they] [do] not
have.” Silva v. McKenna, No. C11-5629 RBL/KLS,
2012 WL 1596971, at *4 (W.D. Wash. May 7, 2012), and point
out that plaintiff has already issued a subpoena to Dr. Baker
to an address in Lynnwood, Washington. Ex. 1, Dkt. #83-1 at
1. However, they also note that, after they had responded to
the interrogatories, defense counsel located Dr. Baker in
order to respond to plaintiff's motion for leave to file
his second amended complaint. Dkt. #83 at 3 n.1. It is not
clear that the information regarding Dr. Baker's
whereabouts “has not otherwise been made known to the
other parties during the discovery process, ” given
that plaintiff has since served a subpoena on Dr. Baker. Fed
R. Civ. P. 26(e). However, by way of abundant caution, the
Court finds that OCI has a duty to supplement Interrogatory
No. 2. Id. Plaintiff's motion to compel a
response to Interrogatory No. 2 is GRANTED.