Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Valerie Kline v. John Berry

August 17, 2012

VALERIE KLINE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN BERRY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alan Kay United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This Court has addressed a number of discovery related motions in this case. (See Memo. Op., June 1, 2012 [49]; Memo. Op., June 25 , 2012 [55].) This Memorandum Opinion addresses two motions to compel filed by Defendant: (1) Motion to Compel Discovery Responses [39] ("First Motion to Compel") and (2) Motion to Compel Plaintiff's Response to Second Request for Production of Documents and to Deem Requests for Admissions Admitted [47] ("Second Motion to Compel"). Plaintiff filed Oppositions to both Motions [45] and [52]. For the following reasons, Defendant's First Motion to Compel will be granted-in-part and denied-in-part and Defendant's Second Motion to Compel will be granted-in-part and denied-in-part.

I. BACKGROUND

The factual background associated with this case is laid out in the undersigned's previous Memorandum Opinion, dated June 25, 2012. (Memo. Op., June 25, 2012.) Plaintiff's Amended Complaint includes five counts stemming from being placed on administrative leave in April 2006. First, Plaintiff alleges that she was discriminated against on the basis of race and sex when she was placed on administrative leave. (Am. Compl. at ¶ 62.) Second, Plaintiff alleges that she was placed on administrative leave in retaliation for filing EEO complaints against her superiors that were pending as of April 2006. (Id. at ¶ 64.) Third, Plaintiff alleges that, upon returning from administrative leave, her duties were diminished, moving from regulatory work and graphics projects to routine, administrative and clerical duties. (Id. at ¶ 66.) Fourth, Plaintiff alleges that she was discriminated against on the basis of sex when her regulatory duties were given to a male employee. (Id. at ¶ 68.) Fifth, Plaintiff alleges that she was retaliated against when, upon returning from administrative leave, she did not have the same equipment and software that she had prior to being placed on administrative leave. (Id. at ¶ 70.)

The parties engaged in discovery, which closed on May 10, 2012, with the exception of outstanding issues regarding depositions. (See Mem. Op., June 25, 2012.) Defendant served Plaintiff with Interrogatories, Requests for Document Production and Requests for Admission on March 1, 2012. (Def.'s Second Mot. to Compel at 2.) Plaintiff's responses are the topic of Defendant's First Motion to Compel. Defendant served a second set of Requests for Admissions and a Second Set of Requests for the Production of Documents on April 10, 2012. (Id.) Plaintiff's response to those requests resulted in Defendant's Second Motion to Compel.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 33 provides that "[e]ach interrogatory must, to the extent it is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing under oath." Fed. R. Civ. P. (b)(3). An "evasive or incomplete" answer is treated as a failure to answer when determining whether the discovering party is permitted to file a motion to compel. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(4).

The party moving to compel discovery has the burden of proving that the opposing party's answers were incomplete. Guantanamera Cigar Co. v. Corporation Habanos, S.A., 263 F.R.D. 1, 7 (D.D.C. 2009) (citing Equal Rights Ctr. v. Post Props., Inc., 246 F.R.D. 29, 32 (D.D.C. 2007)).

A request for documents under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 34 must "describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected." Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(1)(A). "[I]n drafting document requests, it is the party seeking discovery [who] bears the burden of fashioning the requests appropriately." Washington v. Thurgood Marshall Acad., 232 F.R.D. 6, 10 (D.D.C. 2005). Likewise, a party objecting to a document request must specifically show how the request is burdensome, overly broad, vague, or outside the scope of discovery. Chubb Integrated Sys. Ltd. v. Nat'l Bank of Washington, 103 F.R.D. 52, 59-60 (D.D.C. 1984).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant's First Motion to Compel

1. Time frame

As a threshold matter, Plaintiff objects to the time period Defendant requests for its interrogatories. (Pl.'s Opp. to Def.'s First Mot. to Compel ("Pl.'s First Opp.") at 4.) Defendant seeks information from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2006, while Plaintiff seeks to narrow the time frame to April 2006 through October 2006. (Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff argues that Defendant's two-year time frame has no "logical basis" but then notes that Plaintiff's own interrogatories requested a time frame stretching back to 2002. (Id. at 5.) Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges a diminution of duties claim which makes relevant Plaintiff's duties prior to and after her placement on administrative leave from April to August 2006. Accordingly, Defendant's time frame is reasonable.

2. Interrogatories

Defendant's First Motion to Compel requests that Plaintiff be compelled to respond to 14 interrogatories, numbers 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19 and 21-25 (Def.'s First Mot. to Compel at 12.) Plaintiff has already submitted responses to Interrogatories 1 and 2. (Id. at 5-11.) Originally, Defendant submitted 25 interrogatories to Plaintiff, the limit under Judge Roberts' Scheduling Order. (Scheduling Order [14] at 1.) Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 33 states that unless stipulated or ordered otherwise, "a party may serve on any other party no more than 25 written interrogatories, including all discrete subparts." Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1).

The Advisory Committee Notes to the 1993 Amendment give further guidance into what qualifies as a "discrete subpart" of an interrogatory:

Parties cannot evade this presumptive limitation [of 25 interrogatories] through the device of joining as "subparts" questions that seek information about discrete separate subjects. However, a question asking about communications of a particular type should be treated as a single interrogatory even though it requests that the time, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.