United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
BARBARO ROSAS and GUADALUPE TAPIA, as individuals and on behalf of all other similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
SARBANAND FARMS, LLC et al., Defendants.
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs’ motion to
compel Defendants Sarbanand Farms, LLC and Munger Bros., LLC
(collectively, “Growers”) to respond to
Plaintiffs’ interrogatories and requests for production
and to strike Growers’ objections as untimely (Dkt. No.
146). 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.
Court set forth the underlying facts of this case in a
previous order and will not repeat them here. (See
Dkt. No. 74.) On April 26, 2019, Plaintiffs served
interrogatories and requests for production on Growers by
mail. (Dkt. No. 147 at 2.) Plaintiffs sought discovery
pertaining to Growers’ use of the H-2A visa program
since 2013. (Id.) Growers’ responses were due
on May 31, 2019. (Id.; see Dkt. No. 147-1
at 2.) Growers did not respond to Plaintiffs’ discovery
requests on May 31, 2019. Instead, on June 24, 2019, Growers
objected to all Plaintiffs’ discovery requests and did
not provide responsive documents. (Dkt. No. 147 at 2.)
numerous attempts by Plaintiffs to obtain the discovery and
to set up a conference pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(f), the parties participated in a telephonic
conference on July 15, 2019. (Id. at 3.) During the
conference, the parties discussed Plaintiffs’ request
for discovery concerning a United States Department of Labor
(“DOL”) investigation that resulted in Growers
being debarred from using the H-2A visa program for three
years, beginning on March 17, 2019. (Id.; Dkt. No.
147-3 at 3–5.) On July 26, 2019, following several
additional exchanges between the parties, Growers provided
discovery responses. (Dkt. No. 147 at 4–5.) Plaintiffs
assert that many of the documents produced should have been
produced in response to the Court’s prior order
compelling Growers to provide discovery. (See Dkt.
No. 146 at 3; see also Dkt. No. 65.)
filed the instant motion to compel on July 30, 2019 after
conferring with Growers in good faith. (See Dkt. No.
147.) Growers subsequently produced substantial responsive
discovery. (See Dkt. Nos. 152 at 2–7, 153 at
2–3, 154 at 1–2.) Growers assert that their
productions have mooted Plaintiffs’ motion to compel.
(See Dkt. No. 153 at 1, 8–9.) Plaintiffs
contend that the motion is not moot because some responsive
discovery remains outstanding and Growers have not justified
their failure to timely object to Plaintiffs’ discovery
requests. (See generally Dkt. No. 154.)
Request to Strike Objections
served with interrogatories or requests for production must
file answers or objections within 30 days of being served.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(2), 34(b)(2)(A). “It is well
established that a failure to object to discovery requests
within the time required constitutes a waiver of any
objection.” Richmark Corp. v. Timber Falling
Consultants, 959 F.2d 1468, 1473 (9th Cir. 1992);
see also Davis v. Fendler, 650 F.2d 1154, 1160 (9th
Cir. 1981) (“Generally, in the absence of an extension
of time or good cause, the failure to object to
interrogatories within the time fixed by Rule 33 . . .
constitutes a waiver of any objection. This is true even of
an objection that the information sought is
April 26, 2019, Plaintiffs served Growers with
interrogatories and requests for production by mail.
(See Dkt. No. 147 at 2.) The parties agree that
because 30 days from the date of service fell on May 27,
2019, Memorial Day, Growers’ responses were due on May
31, 2019. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(d); (Dkt. Nos. 147
at 2, 147-1 at 2.) Growers did not substantively respond to
Plaintiffs’ discovery requests on May 31, 2019.
Instead, on June 24, 2019, Growers objected to each of
Plaintiffs’ discovery requests and did not provide any
responsive documents. (See Dkt. Nos. 147 at 2, 147-2
at 2–12.) Growers’ objections were plainly filed
beyond the deadline mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Growers did not move for an extension of time and
have not shown good cause for their untimely response to
Plaintiffs’ requests for production. (See Dkt.
No. 152 at 7–8.) Therefore, Growers waived their objections
to Plaintiffs’ April 26, 2019 discovery requests,
see Richmark Corp, 959 F.2d at 1473, and
Plaintiffs’ request to strike Growers’ objections
as untimely is GRANTED. Growers shall be required to fully
answer Plaintiffs’ April 26, 2019 discovery requests to
the extent they did not do so because of their initial
Motion to Compel
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). Although the Court strongly disfavors discovery
motions, if the parties are unable to resolve their discovery
issues, the requesting party may move for an order to compel.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). The Court has broad discretion to
issue an order to compel. Phillips ex rel. Estates of
Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th
Cir. 2002). On a motion to compel, the movant must
demonstrate that “the information it seeks is relevant
and that the responding party’s objections lack
merit.” Hancock v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 321
F.R.D. 383, 390 (W.D. Wash. 2017).
their reply brief, Plaintiffs have identified two specific
categories of their discovery requests that remain
outstanding despite Growers’ recent productions of
responsive documents.First, Plaintiffs state that discovery
related to Growers’ use of farm labor contractors
remains incomplete. (Dkt. No. 154 at 3.) Specifically,
Plaintiffs served Growers with an interrogatory and a request
for production which together seek information related to
Growers’ use of contractors to recruit or supply farm
workers from 2013 to 2017, those contractors’ contact
information, and communications and documents exchanged
between Growers and those contractors. (Id.)
Plaintiffs acknowledge that Growers have continually
supplemented their responses to these requests.
(Id.; Dkt. No. 155 at 2.) But Plaintiffs assert that
Growers have failed to provide complete contact information
for newly-identified contractors, that Growers have failed to
provide all relevant communications, and that Growers’
produced discovery contains redactions and many blank pages.
(Dkt. Nos. 154 at 3–4, 155 at 2.) The record does not
disclose Growers’ rationale for not providing certain
information or redacting discovery and, as discussed above,
Growers have waived any objections to Plaintiffs’ April
26, 2019 discovery requests. (See supra Section
II.A.) Therefore, Plaintiffs’ motion to compel is
GRANTED on this ground. Growers are ORDERED to produce all
discovery responsive to Plaintiffs’ Interrogatory
Number 4 and Request for Production Number 29 within 14 days
of the date this order is issued.
Plaintiffs assert that discovery related to Growers’
alleged imposition of unlawful production standards remains
outstanding. (Dkt. No. 154 at 4.) Specifically, Plaintiffs
seek communications and documents related to Growers’
imposition and tracking of quotas or productivity
requirements during Defendant Sarbanand Farms' blueberry
harvest from 2013 to 2016. (Id) The parties seem to
agree that Growers' production of responsive documents
remains incomplete, although they dispute the underlying
cause. (See Dkt. Nos. 152 at 5, 154 at 4.)
Regardless, Plaintiffs' motion to compel is GRANTED on