United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ERIC KLOPMAN-BAERSELMAN, as Personal Representative for the Estate of RUDIE KLOPMAN-BAERSELMAN, deceased, Plaintiff,
AIR & LIQUID SYSTEMS CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
REPLACEMENT ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
FURTHER RESPONSES AND DEFENDANT GENUINE PARTS COMPANY'S
CROSS-MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND SANCTIONS
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Compel Further Responses from Defendant Genuine Parts Company
to Plaintiff's First Interrogatories and First and Second
Requests for Production (“Motion to Compel”)
(Dkt. 237) and Defendant Genuine Parts Company's
(“GPC”) Cross-Motion for Protective Order and
Sanctions (Dkt. 249). The Court is familiar with the records
and files herein and all documents filed in support of an in
opposition to the motions. Oral argument is unnecessary to
decide these motions.
reasons set forth below, the Court should grant, in part, and
deny, in part, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Dkt. 237);
and the Court should deny GPC's Cross-Motion for
Protective Order and Sanctions (Dkt. 249).
and GPC appear unable to cooperate under the discovery plan
outlined by the Parties in the Joint Status Report (Dkt.
125-1). Plaintiff's instant Motion to Compel puts at
issue numerous allegedly insufficient answers to discovery
requests. Dkts. 237; and 255. The alleged insufficiencies can
be categorized as follows, with some overlap:
1. GPC's unclear and evasive preliminary statement and
general objections. Dkt. 237, at 9.
2. GPC's evasive, incomplete answers to interrogatories
(Interrogatories 1, 3-11, 13-14, and 16-17). Dkt. 237, at 10.
3. GPC's evasive, incomplete answers to interrogatories
where GPC improperly references other discovery
(Interrogatories 8, 9, and 16). Dkt. 237, at 11.
4. GPC's unanswered interrogatories that GPC improperly
refused to answer based on its contention that Plaintiff
exceeded the limit of 25 interrogatories (Interrogatories
17-25). Dkt. 237, at 11.
5. GPC's untruthful answers to Requests for Admission
(“RFA”) that should be deemed admitted (RFAs 4-5,
8, 20-21, 31-32, 40, 43, 54, 72-74, 84, 94-95, and 97-98).
Dkt. 237, at 13.
6. GPC's evasive answers to requests for production where
GPC “document dump[ed]” large quantities of
unrequested materials (Requests for Production 4, 6, 8-9, 12,
14-19, 21-22, 24-27, 29-38, and 48). Dkt. 237, at 12.
7. Plaintiff also seeks production of photographs and video
footage from the site inspection of Mr. Rudie
Klopman-Baerselman's (“Decedent”) home
conducted by GPC, which GPC claims is protected work-product.
Dkt. 237, at 15; see generally Dkt. 147 (granting,
in part, GPC's motion to compel a site inspection of
argues that it has provided sufficient answers to
Plaintiff's discovery requests. Dkt. 249. Additionally,
GPC moves for “a protective order against any further
discovery by plaintiff against GPC in this case, and …
sanctions against plaintiff[.]” Dkt. 249, at 24.
Plaintiff also requests sanctions against GPC. Dkt. 237, at
Court initially ruled on the instant motion in Dkt. 264
(“Order”). In the Order, Court inadvertently
referenced GPC's March 2019 discovery responses (Dkt.
238-3) instead of the April 2019 supplemental discovery
responses (Dkts. 250-3 and 250-3). GPC moved for
reconsideration (Dkt. 265), the Court ordered Plaintiff to
respond (Dkt. 274), Plaintiff responded (Dkt. 289), and GPC
replied (Dkt. 311). The Court vacated the Order,
necessitating this replacement order to resolve the pending
the Court first discusses Plaintiff's Motion to Compel.
Second, the Court discusses GPC's cross-motion for a
protective order. Finally, the Court discusses sanctions.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide, in part:
On notice to other parties and all affected persons, a party
may move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery. The
motion must include a certification that the movant has in
good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the person
or party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort
to obtain it without court action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1).
(A) To Compel Disclosure. If a party fails to make a
disclosure required by Rule 26(a), any other party may move
to compel disclosure and for appropriate sanctions.
(B) To Compel a Discovery Response. A Party seeking
discovery may move for an order compelling an answer,
designation, production, or inspection.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(A)-(B).
certifies that it has made good faith efforts to confer and
settle the many discovery disputes at issue. See
Dkt. 237, at 7-10; see also Dkt. 249, at 2.
instant motions demonstrate an overreliance on the Court in
this discovery process, which the Court should not
countenance. The Court does not discuss in detail each of the
numerous alleged insufficiencies; rather, the Court discusses
the alleged insufficiencies as categorized above in § I.
GPC's preliminary statement and general objections
create unclear and evasive responses
argues that Plaintiff's General Objections (Dkts. 238-3,
at 2-3; and 238-3, at 59- 63) are blanket objections not
permitted because they create unclear and evasive responses
in violation of FRCP 33 and 34. GPC responded that it
“agreed to withdraw its preliminary statement and
general objections, well before plaintiff filed this
motion.” Dkt. 249, at 7.
Court concludes that GPC has withdrawn its Preliminary
Statement and General Objections. Therefore, the Court should
deny as moot Plaintiff's Motion to Compel as to GPC's
Evasive, incomplete answers to interrogatories
(Interrogatories 1, 3-11, and 13-14, and 16-17)
GPC's answers appear insufficient. For example,
Interrogatory No. 10 asks: “During what time period
(start date and end date) did EIS supply friction and lining
material to Genuine Parts Company?” Dkt. 250-2, at 7.
GPC responds, in part, “upon information and belief,
after a reasonable search, GPC is unaware of ‘EIS'
supplying friction material to its Rayloc Division.”
Dkt. 250-2, at 7. It unclear to the Court why GPC limited its
answer to GPC's Rayloc Division when the question was
directed to GPC broadly.
it appears that GPC should provide amended, non-evasive,
complete answers to at least some of these interrogatories.
Although the Court is aware that GPC may not have records or
information necessary to ...