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 Jose Montes
Opico's “Motion to Compel Discovery
Responses.” Dkt. #16. For the following reasons,
plaintiff's motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
alleges that defendant Convergent Outsourcing, Inc.
unlawfully attempted to collect on a debt that he did not owe
to T-Mobile. On January 31, 2019, plaintiff served discovery
requests on defendant. Dkt. #16-1 (Anderson Decl. at ¶
2). Defendant responded to plaintiff's interrogatories on
March 1, 2019. Ex. E, Dkt. #16-1 at 70-79. Plaintiff's
counsel raised concerns with defendant's responses in a
letter dated March 6, 2019. Id. at ¶ 3; see Ex.
A, Dkt. #16-1 at 5-8. The parties conducted a Rule 26
conference on March 27, 2019. Id. at ¶ 4.
on April 3, 2019, defendant produced 28 pages of documents in
response to plaintiff's Requests for Production.
Id. at ¶ 7; see Ex. D, Dkt. #16-1 at
18-56. These contained redactions. On April 10, 2019,
plaintiff's counsel detailed in another letter his
remaining concerns with the discovery requests. The parties
conducted a second Rule 26 conference on April 15, 2019.
Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff filed this motion on
April 24, 2019. Dkt. #16. In it, plaintiff appears to object
to all of defendant's responses to the Requests for
Production (“RFP”) and nine of its responses to
the Interrogatories. Dkt. #16 at 9.
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 or produce documents,
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)).
Requests for Production
served fifteen RFPs on defendant. Plaintiff is correct in
that many of defendant's objections are improper.
Benis v. Reliance Standard Health Ins. Co., No.
18-CV-164-RAJ, 2019 WL 1056401, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 6,
2019) (“Defendant's responses to each of
Plaintiff's Interrogatories and Requests for Production
are largely identical, and largely boilerplate.”). The
Court also notes, however, that plaintiff has not indicated
which of defendant's responses he objects to, and why,
beyond providing some examples. Dkt. #16 at 9; see
Munoz-Munoz v. Locke, No. C10-1475-JCC, 2012 WL
12925012, at *1 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 5, 2012) (“The moving
party bears the burden of demonstrating why an objection
properly raised to a discovery request is deficient …
Plaintiff bears the burden of informing the Court which
discovery requests are the subject of his motion to compel
and, for each disputed response, why Defendant's
objection is not justified. Plaintiff may not simply assert
that he has served discovery requests, that he is
dissatisfied, and that he wants an order compelling further
responses.”) (quoting Williams v. Cate, No.
C09-0468, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143862, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Dec.
14, 2011)). Regardless, the Court will deal with each request
on the briefing as it stands.
response to RFPs 1, 2, 9, 11, and 12, defendant responded
that, without waiving its objections, it would “produce
relevant and non-privileged documents responsive to this
Request, and to the extent they exist and are in the custody,
possession and control of [d]efendant.” Ex. D, Dkt.
#16-1 at 20, 23, 24. Defendant claims in its opposition to
have already produced documents that are responsive to these
RFPs. Dkt. #17 at 7. The Court hereby DIRECTS defendant to
set out which documents correspond to each RFP, and to
supplement its responses if necessary. Fed R. Civ. P. 26(e);
see Litle & Co. v. Mann, 145 F.3d 1339 (9th Cir.
the redactions, defendant argues that they are necessary to
“protect personally identifying information on the
account.” Dkt. #17 at 6. As plaintiff claims the
account is not his, the information might belong to an
unrelated third party. Defendant also left the telephone
numbers and the last four digits of social security numbers
unredacted so that plaintiff could determine if any of the
information related to him. Id.; see Ex. D,
Dkt. #16-1 at 33-56. The Court has in the past found
unilateral redactions improper. Krausz Indus., Ltd v.
Romac Indus., Inc., No. C10-1204RSL, 2011 WL 13100750,
at *3 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 10, 2011). However, in Krausz
Indus., there was a protective order in place to govern
confidential information, and the redactions were on the
basis of irrelevance or non-responsiveness. Id.
Here, the parties have been unable to agree to a stipulated
protective order,  and the redactions pertain to confidential
third-party information. Defendant need not remove its
redactions. Doe v. Trump, 329 F.R.D. 262, 276 (W.D.
Wash. 2018) (“Unilateral redactions are inappropriate
if they seek not to protect sensitive or protected
information, but merely to keep non-responsive information
out of an adversary's hands.”) (quoting United
States v. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., No. CV
13-0779-DOC JCGX, 2014 WL 8662657, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 25,
2014)) (internal alterations omitted). Moreover, plaintiff
does not explain how the redactions prejudice him.
Munoz-Munoz, 2012 WL 12925012 at *1. He already has
access to “basic documents concerning the collection
attempts and the propriety of those collection
attempts.” Dkt. #16 at 8. The social security numbers
and telephone numbers of plaintiff or any third parties do
not appear to be relevant.
response to RFPs 3, 4, and 5 defendant lists a slew of
objections. Ex. D, Dkt. #16-1 at 20-22. However, it fails to
“clarify, explain, [or] support its
objections.” Brown, 2015 WL 630926 at *1. They
do not suffice. See Shalabi v. Atl. Richfield Co.,
No. C11-505 BHS, 2012 WL 3727334, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 28,
2012). Plaintiff's requests are proportional. The Court
hereby DIRECTS defendant to respond to RFPs 3, 4, and 5.
response to RFPs 6, 8, and 10, defendant states that it is
not in possession of any responsive documents. Ex. D, Dkt.
#16-1 at 22-23. Defendant cannot be “compelled to
provide information that [it] does not have.” Silva
v. McKenna, No. C11-5629 RBL/KLS, 2012 WL 1596971, at *4
(W.D. Wash. May 7, 2012); see also Munoz-Munoz, ...