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Centinela v. Bacardi & Co. Ltd.

June 28, 2007

TEQUILA CENTINELA, S.A. DE C.V., PLAINTIFF,
v.
BACARDI & COMPANY LIMITED DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Tequila Centinela's ("Centinela") Second Motion [35] to Compel Discovery and for Sanctions. Upon consideration of plaintiff's motion, defendant's opposition [38] thereto, plaintiff's reply [40] brief, defendant's sur-reply [42], the applicable law, and the record herein, the Court concludes that plaintiff's Second Motion to Compel will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

II. BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2007, this Court granted in part and denied in part Centienla's First Motion [14] to Compel Discovery. (Order at 1-2.) As a result, Bacardi had to provide the following discovery requests to Centinela by April 12, 2007: a log of documents withheld due to claims of confidentiality, privilege, or attorney work product; a knowledgeable representative or representatives under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) for deposition; full and complete responses to Centinela's Interrogatories Nos. 2 and 3 provided that such information is not privileged; documents responsive to Centinela's Requests for Documents and Things Nos. 4, 7, 8, 10, 12-15, 18-28, and 36-38 to the extent required by the Court's opinion; and full and complete responses to Centinela's Requests for Admissions Nos. 31-42, 61 and 62. (Id.) The Court declined to compel Bacardi to produce Centinela's additional discovery requests. (Id. at 2.)

Following the Court's March 29, 2007 order, counsel for both parties entered into a dialogue to ensure that Bacardi complied with the order. (See Pl.'s Second Mot. to Compel at 5.) On April 12, 2007, Bacardi produced all discovery materials required by the Court's order. (Def.'s Opp'n at 2.) Bacardi provided separate confidentiality and privilege logs of withheld documents, supplemental responses to both Centinela's Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents and Things, a representative to depose, and supplemental responses to Centinela's request for admissions. (Id.)

Dissatisfied with the supplemental discovery responses, Centinela continued its dialogue with Bacardi until April 25, 2007 in an attempt to resolve the deficiencies without court intervention. (See Hudis Decl., Exs. A-C.) Centinela alleges that Bacardi has improperly withheld confidential documents, failed to produce documents in compliance with Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure, and provided incomplete answers to Interrogatories Nos. 2 and 3. (See Pl.'s Second Mot. to Compel at 8-12.) Despite their efforts, the parties could not resolve the deficiencies. (See id. at 5-7.) As a result, Centinela filed this Second Motion [35] to Compel Discovery to remedy the alleged inadequacies of Bacardi's responses. (Id. at 7.)

III. DISCUSSION

Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that a "party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling disclosure or discovery." Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a). Pursuant to Rule 37, Centinela brings this motion [35] before the Court to compel Bacardi to comply with the Court's March 29, 2007 order and for sanctions. Specifically, Centinela requests the Court to: (1) order Bacardi to disclose all documents withheld on the basis of confidentiality; (2) order Bacardi to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b) and supply a list of the documents Bacardi has produced and will produce which corresponds to the categories of Centinela's document requests; (3) order Bacardi to provide full and complete answers to Interrogatories Nos. 2 and 3; (4) sanction Bacardi for its failure to comply with the Court's March 29, 2007 Order; and (5) extend the discovery period ninety days from the date of this order. (See Pl.'s Second Mot. to Compel at 15-16.)

1. Confidential Documents

If a party wishes to prevent the disclosure of confidential documents, the party may motion the court for a Protective Order. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). Here, Bacardi did not move for a Protective Order to prevent the disclosure of its confidential documents. (See Pl.'s Second Mot. to Compelat 8.) Rather, Bacardi withheld all 292 documents from discovery under a claim of confidentiality. (See id. at 5.) As a result, in its motion [35], Centinela asks the Court to compel Bacardi to produce all documents withheld on the basis of confidentiality because the documents are relevant and improperly withheld. (See id. at 5, 8.) Moreover, Centinela contends that Bacardi could remedy this dispute if they sign the Stipulated Protective Order to protect the confidentiality of the documents. (See id. at 8.)

After Centinela filed its motion [35], Bacardi produced all documents withheld on the basis of confidentiality and returned a signed copy of the parties' Stipulated Protective Order to Centinela. (Pl.'s Reply Mem. at 1.) Accordingly, the Court finds that Centinela's request to compel the production of Bacardi's confidential documents is DENIED as moot.

2. Compliance with Rule 34(b)

When a party is requested to produce documents for inspection pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34, the party "shall produce them as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request." Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b). In accordance with the Court's March 29, 2007 Order, Bacardi served responses to Centinela's document request on April 12, 2007. (See Def.'s Opp'n at 2.) The documents produced, however, were "scattershot" and not produced as they were kept in the usual course of business. (Pl.'s Second Mot. to Compel at 9.) Nor organized and labeled corresponding to Centinela's requests as Rule 34 requires. ...


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