United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. Coughenour United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Safeco Insurance
Company of America's motion to compel (Dkt. No. 46).
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 facts of this case in a previous order
and will not repeat them here. (See Dkt. No. 45.)
Trial in this matter is presently scheduled for March 9,
2020. (See Dkt. No. 18.) Pursuant to the Court's
scheduling order, discovery closed on November 10, 2019 and
the parties were required to participate in mediation no
later than November 22, 2019. (See id.)
August 28, 2019, Defendant Safeco served Plaintiff with
interrogatories and requests for production seeking discovery
related to the costs Plaintiff incurred in defending the
underlying lawsuits. (See Dkt. Nos. 46 at 3, 47 at
2, 47-1 at 1-17.) Plaintiff failed to timely respond to
Defendant Safeco's discovery requests. (See Dkt.
Nos. 46 at 3-4, 47 at 2.) On October 7, 2019, the parties met
and conferred by telephone pursuant to Western District of
Washington Local Civil Rule 37(a)(1) to discuss the discovery
requests; Plaintiff's counsel did not explain
Plaintiff's failure to respond to the discovery requests
and Defendant Safeco's counsel stated that a motion to
compel would be filed. (See Dkt. Nos. 46 at 4, 47 at
2.) On October 8, 2019, the parties participated in mediation
without the benefit of Defendant Safeco's requested
discovery. (See Dkt. No. 47 at 2.)
October 14, 2019, Defendant Safeco filed the instant motion
to compel, seeking an order compelling Plaintiff to respond
to the August 28 discovery requests and a finding that
Plaintiff waived any objections to the requests.
(See Dkt. No. 46.) Defendant Safeco also sought
sanctions against Plaintiff, including dismissal of
Plaintiff's complaint and an award of Defendant
Safeco's reasonable expenses pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 37(a)(5)(A). (See generally id.)
October 25, 2019, Plaintiff provided written responses,
objections, and 1, 877 pages of documents to Defendant
Safeco. (See Dkt. Nos. 49 at 4, 50 at 2.) It appears
that Plaintiff has withheld several documents and has
redacted several of the documents it disclosed. (See
Dkt. Nos. 51 at 2-3, 52 at 2.) Plaintiff has not provided
Defendant with a privilege log for the redactions or withheld
documents. (See Dkt. No. 52 at 2.) In its response
to Defendant Safeco's motion to compel, Plaintiff argues
that it has complied with its discovery obligations and that
sanctions should not be imposed now that it has provided
discovery. (See generally Dkt. No. 49.) In its
reply, Defendant Safeco asserts that Plaintiff's
discovery responses are incomplete and reiterates its request
for sanctions. (See generally Dkt. No. 51.)
Motion to Compel
motions are strongly disfavored. “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). A party
subject to a discovery request must respond with answers and
any objections within 30 days after being served.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2).
“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). “This is true even of an objection that the
information sought is privileged.” Davis v.
Fendler, 650 F.2d 1154, 1160 (9th Cir. 1981). Waiver
applies equally to interrogatories, withheld documents, and
requests for production. See Bussiere v. Softmart
Commercial Servs., Inc., Case No. C08-1461-RSM, Dkt. No.
31 at 2 (W.D. Wash. June 2009) (collecting cases and other
requested discovery is not answered, the requesting party may
move for an order compelling such discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(1). The Court has broad discretion to decide whether to
compel disclosure of discovery. Phillips ex rel. Estates
of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211
(9th Cir. 2002).
Safeco served its discovery requests on Plaintiff on August
28, 2019, and Plaintiff's responses, including
objections, were due 30 days thereafter. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 33(b)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2); (Dkt. Nos. 46 at 3,
47 at 2, 47-1 at 1-17.) Plaintiff did not provide its
responses until October 25, 2019, well after the deadline
mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(See Dkt. Nos. 49 at 4, 51 at 2-3.) Plaintiff thus
waived any objections, including those based on privilege, to
Defendant Safeco's August 28, 2019 discovery requests.
See Richmark Corp., 959 F.2d at 1473;
Davis, 650 F.2d at 1160; Bussiere, Case No.
C08-1461-RSM, Dkt. No. 31 at 2. Therefore, Defendant
Safeco's motion to compel is GRANTED on this ground.
Plaintiff must fully respond to Defendant Safeco's August
28, 2019 discovery requests to the extent it did not do so
because of its objections.