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Martinez Patterson v. At&T Services Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 18, 2019

AT&T SERVICES INC., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.




         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Maria del Carmen Martinez-Patterson's Motion to Compel. Dkt. #21. Plaintiff seeks an Order compelling Defendant AT&T Services Inc. (“AT&T”) to produce complete responses to an Interrogatory and several Requests for Production. Defendant opposes the motion. Dkt. #24. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel is GRANTED IN PART.


         Ms. Martinez-Patterson is a Hispanic woman of Filipino and Spanish heritage. Dkt. #1 at ¶¶ 15-16. She worked as a Senior Oracle Database Administrator for AT&T from 2000 until her termination in October 2016. At the time of her termination, she was working on a team with three other Database Administrators-Mr. Anstin Hall, Mr. Sohail Khan, and Mr. Praveen Kollipara. Dkt. #21 at 4. In 2006, Ms. Martinez-Patterson filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging discrimination based on race and gender. Dkt. #1 at ¶¶ 17-18. Plaintiff claims that after she filed her EEOC charge, AT&T subjected her to retaliation that included hostility, yelling, ridicule, and preventing her advancement within the company. Specifically, she claims that her direct supervisor from 2012 through December 2014, Mr. Uday Shah, was one of the AT&T supervisors who discriminated and retaliated against her. Dkt. #22-1 at 64. Around August 12, 2015, following her mid-year performance review, Plaintiff complained about race and gender discrimination and retaliatory conduct. Dkt. #1 at ¶¶ 20-25. In January 2016, Plaintiff claims that AT&T gave her a performance review that she characterizes as “false, discriminatory and retaliatory”. Id.

         In August 2016, Plaintiff discussed with AT&T the possibility of taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to care for her brother. Id. at ¶¶ 26-33. She formally requested FMLA leave around October 26-27, 2016. The next day, AT&T fired Plaintiff. AT&T claimed that Plaintiff's firing was based on a reduction in workforce (“the 2016 Surplus”) that arose from an outsourcing deal with vendor AMDOCS. Dkt. #21 at 4. Plaintiff's job was not outsourced to AMDOCS, but her working group was one of four affected working groups (“AWGs”) in which AT&T claimed it was reducing headcount. Dkt. #25-1 at ¶ 9. AT&T claims that because Plaintiff was ranked the lowest of her comparators in her AWG, she was designated for the Surplus and terminated. Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff contends that AT&T's stated reasons for her termination were pretext, and the firing was motivated by discrimination against her race and gender and retaliation for her previous complaints. Dkt. #1 at ¶¶ 34-36.

         On August 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action against AT&T under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Washington Family Leave Act (“WFLA”). Id. at ¶ 1. Plaintiff also claims wrongful discharge and lost wages under RCW 49.52 and RCW 49.48.

         After service of initial discovery requests and a meet-and-confer between the parties, Dkt. #21 at 7, Plaintiff moves to compel four categories of documents: (1) documents related to AT&T's criteria and selection for the 2016 Surplus; (2) the personnel files of employees supervised by Mr. Shah, regardless of inclusion in the 2016 Surplus; (3) documents related to a vacant Senior Technical Lead position that Plaintiff was not promoted to; and (4) all emails to and from Plaintiff during her employment.

         Plaintiff served Defendant with initial discovery requests on January 2, 2019, and Defendant served its responses and objections on February 22, 2019. Dkt. #22 at ¶ 3. Parties met and conferred on April 26 and April 29, 2019 and were unable to resolve the discovery disputes. Id. at ¶ 5.


         A. Legal Standard

         “Parties 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, 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). Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable. Id. “District courts have broad discretion in determining relevancy for discovery purposes.” Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002)). If requested discovery is not answered, the requesting party may move for an order compelling such discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). The party that resists discovery has the burden to show why the discovery request should be denied. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975).

         B. The October 2016 Surplus (ROG 10, RFPs A, K and L)

         Plaintiff seeks production of documents related to the 2016 Surplus, which Plaintiff claims was a false pretext for her termination. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks: (a) all documents related to AT&T's contention that Plaintiff was terminated as part of the 2016 Surplus (RFP A); (b) all documents related in any way to the 2016 Surplus (RFP K); (c) identification of all employees identified as part of the 2016 Surplus, including their gender, race, national origin, pay rate, position title when selected for surplus, and last date of employment (ROG 10); and (d) all documents ...

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