United States District Court, E.D. Washington
CITY OF SPOKANE, a municipal corporation located in the County of Spokane, State of Washington, Plaintiff,
MONSANTO COMPANY; SOLUTIA INC.; PHARMACIA CORPORATION, also known as Pharmacia LLC; and DOES 1 through 100, Defendants.
ORDER RULING ON DISCOVERY MOTIONS
SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court, without oral argument, is Plaintiff the City of
Spokane's Motion to Compel Responses to Plaintiff's
Discovery Requests, ECF No. 271, and Defendant Pharmacia
LLC's Motion for Protective Order Quashing
Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Notice of Deposition Pursuant
to F.R.C.P. 30(b)(6) of Defendants, ECF No. 281. The parties
oppose each other's discovery motions. ECF Nos. 283, 292.
Plaintiff also moves for sanctions against Defendants. ECF
No. 292 at 18-19. Having reviewed the file and relevant legal
authorities, the Court is fully informed and grants in part
and denies in part the discovery motions, and denies the
motion for sanctions.
case involves the Spokane River's contamination by
polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”). See
ECF No. 1. Plaintiff filed this action on July 31, 2015.
Id. On April 7, 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation denied Plaintiff's motion to
transfer this case for centralized proceedings. ECF No. 50.
The parties exchanged initial disclosures on June 10, 2016.
ECF No. 58 at 2. On October 26, 2016, the Court granted in
part and denied in part Defendants' motion to dismiss the
complaint. ECF No. 74. On February 14, 2017, the Court
granted Plaintiff's motion to dismiss counterclaims. ECF
No. 100. On July 10, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's
motion to dismiss amended counterclaims. ECF No. 167.
Court has repeatedly observed this case is complex and
voluminous. ECF Nos. 104, 112, 166, 172, 185, 206, 230, 244,
257, 267. The Court authorized additional discovery on July
11, 2017, July 19, 2017, May 14, 2018, and May 14, 2019. ECF
Nos. 172, 185, 230, 267. And the Court resolved discovery
disputes on February 21, 2017, May 21, 2017, August 18, 2017,
and June 21, 2018. ECF Nos. 104, 158, 199, 241.
parties now dispute a broad array of Plaintiff's requests
for production, interrogatories, and designated topics for
examination at the deposition of Defendants' Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) witness. The Court has determined
oral argument is unnecessary to resolve these disputes. ECF
scope of discovery generally encompasses
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).
motion to compel discovery, “[t]he party opposing
discovery bears the burden of resisting disclosure.”
Rogers v. Giurbino, 288 F.R.D. 469, 479 (S.D. Cal.
2012). The Court has “wide discretion in controlling
discovery.” Jeff D. v. Otter, 643 F.3d 278,
289 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Little v. City of
Seattle, 863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988)).
good cause, the Court may issue a protective order “to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1). “A party asserting good cause bears the
burden . . . of showing that specific prejudice or harm will
result if no protective order is granted.” Foltz v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th
Cir. 2003). “[B]road allegations of harm,
unsubstantiated by specific examples or articulated
reasoning, do not satisfy th[is] test.” Id.
(quoting Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Ins. Co.,
966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992)).
repeatedly argue that Plaintiff's discovery requests seek
irrelevant information. ECF Nos. 281, 283, 296. But
Defendants' concept of relevance is too narrow.
“Relevance, for discovery purposes, encompasses
‘any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could
lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or
may be in the case.'” Equal Emp't
Opportunity Comm'n v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 276
F.R.D. 637, 641 (E.D. Wash. 2011) (quoting Oppenheimer
Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978)). Having
reviewed each of Defendants' relevance objections, the
Court hereby overrules them.
Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery
Documents outside the PCB archive
argues Defendants refuse to produce documents outside their
PCB archive. ECF No. 271 at 7-11. Defendants argue they have
produced or will produce such documents, to the extent they
exist and are relevant and responsive to Plaintiff's
discovery requests. ECF No. 283 at 11-12. Defendants
emphasize they have already provided many ...