United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL
S. Lasnik United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on defendants' motion to
compel discovery responses. Dkt. #87. For the following
reasons, defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
case concerns an alleged debt owed from plaintiff Aklilu
Yohannes to Baker Dental Implants & Periodontics
(“Baker Dental”). On February 27, 2019,
defendants served discovery requests. Dkt. #91-1 (Yohannes
Decl.) at ¶ 2; see Dkt. #91-2. Plaintiff
responded on April 2, 2019. Id. at ¶ 4;
see Ex. 1, Dkt. #88-1 at 2-8. On April 16, 2019,
defense counsel sent plaintiff a letter pointing out
deficiencies in several of plaintiff's responses and
requesting him to supplement them. Ex. 2, Dkt. #88-1 at
11-12. A discovery conference was held on April 23, 2018.
Rosenberg Decl. at ¶ 9. Defendants then filed a motion
to compel. Dkt. #87. It concerns plaintiff's responses to
four Requests for Production (“RFP”) and one
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)).
Request for Production No. 1
requests copies of “all documents evidencing any and
all payments [plaintiff] made on the obligation(s) described
in the complaint.” Dkt. #92-1 at 4. Plaintiff's
response referred to two sets of documents: the letters sent
by plaintiff to defendant OCI disputing the debt in January
and February 2006, and the Single Family Ledger from Baker
Dental produced by defendants that “shows the balance
remaining in  plaintiff's account with Baker Dental 
since August 2003 is zero.” Dkt. #91-3 at 3. Defendants
argue that this is not sufficient. Plaintiff should furnish
documentation evidencing payment of the debt, such as
canceled checks or a bank statement, or an admission that he
does not have this documentation. Dkt. #87 at 6; see
Dkt. #93 at 3. Plaintiff argues that the Baker Dental ledger
already shows that the balance on his account was zero as of
August 15, 2003, and that nothing else is needed.
See Dkt. #50 at 3. He has not met his burden of
showing why discovery should not be allowed. Lewis v.
King Cty., No. C08-1201-JCC-MAT, 2009 WL 1034241, at *2
(W.D. Wash. Apr. 17, 2009) (“Nor did defendant's
response to plaintiff's motion to compel include any
objections as to the content of the request or an assertion
that compliance with plaintiff's request would impose an
undue burden or expense.”) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)).
Defendants' motion to compel a response to RFP No. 1 is
GRANTED. Plaintiff must produce any documents within his
possession that evidence this payment to Baker Dental.
Request for Production Nos. 4 and 5
requests copies of “any calendars, logs, diaries,
journals or other documents, in any form or medium, in which
[plaintiff] recorded, noted, traced or otherwise created or
preserved any communication with Defendant.” Dkt. #92-1
at 5. RFP 5 requests copies of these documents in which
plaintiff “recorded, noted, traced or otherwise created
or preserved comments, remarks, thoughts, reactions,
intentions or ideas pertaining to Defendant or to the
allegations in [the] Complaint for Damages and Injunctive
Relief.” Id. Plaintiff objects that these
materials are protected because they were “compiled in
preparation for this lawsuit” and are therefore
“not subject to discovery.” Dkt. #91-3 at 5.
According to defendants, plaintiff indicated during their
discovery conference that he possesses materials meeting this
description. He claimed that it was protected work product.
Rosenberg Decl. at ¶¶ 4-5.
qualify for work-product protection, documents must: (1) be
‘prepared in anticipation of litigation or for
trial' and (2) be prepared ‘by or for another party
or by or for that other party's
representative.'” United States v. Richey,
632 F.3d 559, 567 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting In re Grand
Jury Subpoena (Mark Torf/Torf Envtl. Mgmt.), 357 F.3d
900, 907 (9th Cir. 2004)). When a party withholds information
by claiming that it is protected work product, the party must
expressly make the claim and describe the nature of the
documents “in a manner that, without revealing
information itself privileged or protected, will enable other
parties to assess the claim.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(5).
Plaintiff has not produced a privilege log. Aecon Bldgs.,
Inc. v. Zurich N. Am., 253 F.R.D. 655, 659 (W.D. Wash.
2008), clarified on denial of reconsideration (Aug.
28, 2008). The Court is unable to ascertain the extent to
which the work product privilege may apply to each document
or portions thereof. Ballard Condo. Owners Ass'n v.
Gen. Sec. Indem. Co. of Arizona, No. C09-484RSL, 2010 WL
11527324, at *2 (W.D. Wash. June 24, 2010). The Court hereby
ORDERS plaintiff to submit privilege logs regarding those
documents he considers protected work product in response to
RFPs 4 and 5 to the Court and defendants.
Request for Production No. 7
requests a copy of plaintiff's credit report showing that
the “garnishment is recorded as involuntary debt
collection as alleged in Paragraph 36 of [the] Complaint.”
Dkt. #91-2 at 6. In his complaint, plaintiff alleged that his
“credit history obtained in connection with a bank loan
application in September 2016 showed the garnishment recorded
as an involuntary private loan recovery action.” Dkt.
#32 (Compl.) at ¶ 86. Plaintiff produced an email from
Jon Walsh at Wells Fargo that, he claims, “describes
the involuntary debt collection activity that appeared on
[his] credit report.” Dkt. #91-3 at 6. He stated that
Wells Fargo did not send him the credit report because Wells
Fargo was “not the source of the information.”
Id. The subject of the email is “FW - Yohannes
Refinance, Loan #0502153166.” Dkt. #93-1 at 1. It
states, “Customer to provide an explanation for the
private debt recovery involuntary YTD amount of $1297.44 and
provide evidence of debt is [sic] paid off ...