United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion to
compel discovery (Dkt. No. 22). Having thoroughly considered
the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS in part and
DENIES in part the motion for the reasons explained herein.
Daniel and Shavonne Tonnes allege that their neighboring
landowner, Defendant U.S. Golden Eagle Farms, L.P., has
filled, dredged, and dug waterways on its property, which has
damaged Plaintiffs' property and the surrounding
environment. (See generally Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiffs
assert the following causes of action against Defendant: (1)
violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §
1311(a); (2) violation of the Shorelines Management Act,
Wash. Rev. Code § 90.58.230; (3) nuisance per
se based on violations of state and federal
environmental laws; (4) common law nuisance; and (5)
intentional trespass; and (6) negligence. (Id. at
filed this motion to compel the following discovery: (1) all
documents related to Defendant's communications with
regulatory agencies related to activities, authorizations,
violations, or conditions on Defendant's property; (2)
photographs of Defendant's property that is at issue in
this lawsuit; and (3) all documentation related to
Defendant's restoration plan and “stream functions
assessment.” (Dkt. No. 22 at 9.) Defendant responded
with a three-page declaration by its defense counsel, who
admitted that some of the documents Plaintiffs identified had
not been previously produced, but indicated that Defendant
had fully supplemented its discovery responses. (See
Dkt. No. 29 at 2) (“Defendant has given over every
document Plaintiffs have requested and produced documents
they could have just as easily acquired on their own.”)
In their reply brief, Plaintiffs suggest that Defendant has
still not provided all responsive documents. (Dkt. No. 30.)
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). If requested discovery is not
answered, the requesting party may move for an order
compelling such discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). If a party
fails to comply with a discovery order, the district court
may also sanction that party accordingly. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(b)(2). The Court has broad discretion to decide whether to
compel disclosure of discovery. Phillips ex rel. Estates
of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211
(9th Cir. 2002).
Communications with Regulatory Agencies
Request for Production 8, originally sent to Defendant on
June 13, 2018, stated: “Produce all documents related
to communications with regulatory agencies (including U.S.
EPA, U.S. Corps of Engineers, City of Everett, Snohomish
County, Marshland Flood Control District, Washington
Department of Ecology, and Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife) related to activities, authorizations, violations,
or conditions on [Defendant's] property.” (Dkt. No.
23-1 at 10.) Defendant initially responded, “there are
none.” (Dkt. No. 23-4 at 13.) In May 2019, Defendant
subsequently submitted a declaration in opposition to
Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment, which
referenced communications with the City of Everett that had
not been previously produced in discovery. (See Dkt.
response to Plaintiffs' motion to compel, Defendant does
not specifically address whether it has disclosed all
responsive documents to Plaintiffs' Request for
Production 8, other than to generally state that “[a]ll
of the documents requested have only been recently
generated.” (Dkt. No. 29 at 2.) In their reply,
Plaintiffs assert that Defendant has still not produced
various records related to pending regulatory enforcement
actions by the City of Everett. (Dkt. No. 30 at 2.)
Court FINDS that the information sought by Plaintiffs'
Request for Production 8 is relevant to proving each of their
causes of action against Defendant. Moreover, it appears that
Defendant has failed to produce all responsive documents.
Therefore, Plaintiffs' motion to compel is GRANTED as to
Request for Production 8.
Photographs of Defendant's Property
Request for Production 9 stated: “Produce all documents
depicting [Defendant's] property.” (Dkt. No. 23-1
at 10.) Defendant responded by attaching a “parcel
map” of its property. (Dkt. No. 23-4 at 13.) Defendant
subsequently filed photographs of the relevant area with its
opposition to Plaintiffs' motion for ...