United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL
J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant GEO Group
Inc.'s (“GEO”) Motion to Compel Production of
Documents and Metadata. Dkt. 215. The Court has considered
the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motion and the file herein.
case arises out of GEO's alleged failure to compensate
immigration detainees at the Northwest Detention Center
(“NDC”), a private detention center, in accord
with the Washington Minimum Wage Act (“MWA”).
RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
a private corporation that has owned and operated the NWDC, a
1, 575-bed detention facility in Tacoma, Washington, since
2005. Dkt. 156, at 8-9. GEO operates the NWDC based on a
contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(“ICE”). Dkts. 16-2, and 19. Under this contract,
GEO provides “detention management services including
the facility, detention officers, management personnel,
supervision, manpower, training certifications, licenses . .
. equipment, and supplies” for immigration detainees
awaiting resolution of immigration matters. Dkt. 19, at 49.
GEO is also required by the contract to manage a Voluntary
Work Program (“VWP”). Dkt. 19, at 86. Detainees
who participate in the VWP collect and distribute laundry,
prepare and serve food, clean, paint interior walls, and use
electric sheers to cut hair. Dkt. 184-1, at 8-19. GEO pays
detainees who participate in the VWP at $1 per day. Dkt. 156,
at 10. In accord with the contract with ICE, GEO agreed to
comply with “[a]pplicable federal, state and local
labor laws and codes.” Dkt. 19, at 48.
September 20, 2017, the State filed this case in Pierce
County, Washington Superior Court. Dkt. 1-1. The Complaint
maintains that the GEO-ICE Contract at least allows for, if
not requires, GEO to compensate detainees working in the VWP
commensurate with the State MWA. Id., at
¶¶3.3, 3.4, 5.1-6.6. The State alleges that GEO has
been unjustly enriched by compensating detainees below that
required by state law. Id. In its
“quasi-sovereign interest, ” the State makes a
claim against GEO for unjust enrichment, and seeks: (1) an
order requiring GEO to disgorge its unjust enrichment from
compensating detainees below the minimum wage, (2)
declaratory relief that GEO is an “employer”
subject to the MWA when managing detainee employees, and (3)
injunctive relief for GEO to be enjoined from paying
detainees less than the minimum wage. Id.
Answer, GEO makes a counterclaim for unjust enrichment, seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief, and asserts thirteen
affirmative defenses. Dkt 34.
February 28, 2018, GEO's counterclaim for unjust
enrichment was dismissed. Dkt. 44. Further, State's
motion to strike the affirmative defenses of laches, unclean
hands, failure to join necessary parties (Washington
Department of Labor and Industries (“L & I”)
and ICE), and ripeness, justiciability, and a portion of the
offset defense, was denied without prejudice; no finding was
made as to the affirmative defense of preemption.
Id. The remaining affirmative defenses were
August 30, 2018, GEO filed a motion for an order compelling
the State to produce information from various State agencies
related to State work programs, maintaining that the
information was “extremely relevant to GEO's
affirmative defenses of unclean hands and laches.” Dkt.
113, at 6. The State opposed the motion, arguing that the
State Agencies were not parties to the case and that the
State agencies were better positioned to respond themselves.
October 2, 2018, GEO's motion to compel was granted. Dkt.
133. The State was ordered to produce “all relevant,
responsive, non-privileged information held by all divisions
of the [Attorney General's Office (“AGO”)]
and agencies of the State.” Id., at 7. The
order provided that it made “no findings as to the
merits of specific discovery requests.” Id.
The October 2, 2018 order further ordered that as to
“all discovery from AGO divisions, the State should
produce metadata in native format, without summarizing or
otherwise manipulating the information.” Id.,
13, 2019, GEO's affirmative defenses of laches, unclean
hands and failure to join L & I and ICE were dismissed.