United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Fariba Amiri complains that she was discriminated against
when her employer, Omni Excavators, Inc. (Omni), and its
principals, Abotorab Rafi and Manual Dias, fired her shortly
after she ended an intimate relationship with Mr. Rafi. Ms.
Amiri sues Omni and its principals, seeking unpaid wages and
damages. Although the case was filed in 2018, it has
developed very slowly, in part because of Plaintiff's
significant delays in providing discovery. Before the Court
is Defendants' motion to exclude any of Plaintiff's
evidence and witnesses that should have been, but were not,
Complaint in this matter was filed on March 16, 2018. Compl.
[Dkt. 1]. Count I alleges a violation of the D.C. Human
Rights Act, D.C. Code § 2-1401 et seq.; Count
II alleges a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16a; Count III alleges a
violation of the District of Columbia Wage Payment and
Collection Act, D.C. Code § 32-1301 et seq.;
and Count IV alleges breach of contract. Ms. Amiri worked for
Defendant Omni, an excavation contractor located in the
District of Columbia, as its Vice President from October 2015
to August 7, 2017. Compl. ¶¶ 7, 21. Ms. Amiri was
fired two days after she ended her consensual relationship
with Mr. Rafi. Id. ¶¶ 13, 20-21.
After filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission on September 12, 2017, Ms. Amiri filed her federal
suit in March 2018. See Compl.
filed their Answer on May 1, 2018, and the Court held an
initial scheduling conference on June 21, 2018. See
Answer [Dkt. 5]; Order [Dkt. 7]. The subsequent scheduling
order set deadlines for discovery, essentially as proposed by
the parties. Order [Dkt. 8] (Initial Discovery Order). The
Initial Discovery Order required that “[t]he parties
shall make initial disclosures under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(a)(1) no later than July 13, 2018” and
that fact discovery ended on December 31, 2018.
provided Plaintiff with initial disclosures on July 13, 2018.
Four months later, on November 30, each served
interrogatories and requests for admissions on Plaintiff. On
that date, Ms. Amiri served Omni with document requests.
Counsel for Ms. Amiri represents that he responded to the
defense requests for admissions on January 2, 2019 but
informed Defendants that he needed additional time to answer
Court held a status conference on January 8, 2019 at the end
of discovery. During the hearing, the parties advised that
they had exchanged written discovery requests but had not yet
completed discovery. Defendants complained that Plaintiff had
failed to provide initial disclosures and indicated that they
planned to move to exclude all evidence that should have been
disclosed. Counsel for Plaintiff responded that he thought he
had provided initial disclosures but, if he were mistaken, he
would serve them quickly. Following the hearing, a Revised
Discovery Order extended the discovery deadline to April 5,
2019 and set a briefing schedule for Defendants' motion
to exclude Plaintiff's undisclosed evidence.
provided Defendants with initial disclosures on January 29,
2019, more than six months after the Court-ordered deadline
of July 13, 2018. At the same time, Plaintiff submitted
answers to Defendants' interrogatories.
timely filed their motion to exclude evidence on February 6,
2019. They ask the Court to: “(1) preclude Plaintiff
from using information, evidence, witnesses, or information
that she failed to disclose as required by [Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(a) and Local Court Rule 26.2(a)]; (2)
strike the late filed initial disclosure; (3) dismiss the
case with prejudice; and, (4) such other and further relief
as this Court deems proper.” Defs.' Mot. in
Limine to Exclude All of Pl.'s Evidence and
Testimony (Mot.) [Dkt. 14] at 6. The matter is ripe for
argument on the motion was set for April 9, 2019 but shortly
before, all parties sought a stay and referral to mediation.
The Court granted the motion and referred the case to
mediation for 90 days. However, on August 15, 2019, the
parties notified the Court that mediation had been
unsuccessful and requested oral argument on the pending
motion. They also advised that depositions had not been
completed so asked that “discovery be extended by 60
days, following the Court's ruling on the Motion in
Limine, to complete depositions.” Id. The
Court held oral argument on September 19, 2019.
26(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs
that provision, parties must disclose, without awaiting a
discovery request, several categories of information,
(i) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number
of each individual likely to have discoverable
information-along with the subjects of that information-that
the disclosing party may use to support its claims or
defenses . . . .;
(ii) a copy-or a description by category and location-of all
documents, electronically stored information, and tangible
things that the disclosing party has in its possession,
custody, or control and may use to support its claims or
defenses . . . .;
(iii) a computation of each category of damages claimed by
the disclosing party-who must also make available for
inspection and copying as under Rule 34 the documents or
other evidentiary material, unless privileged or protected
from disclosure, on which each computation is based . . . .
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1) (referencing Fed.R.Civ.P. 34).
party's initial disclosure obligations operate as
“the functional equivalent of court-ordered
interrogatories” and serve to “accelerate the
exchange of basic information [about the case] . . . and to
eliminate the paper work involved in requesting such
information.” Calkins v. Pacel Corp.,
No. 3:07cv00025, 2008 WL 2311565, at *3 (W.D. Va. June 4,
2008) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26, Adv. Comm. Notes (1993
Amendments)). The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 26 state
that disclosures concerning individuals likely to have
discoverable information, required under Rule 26(a)(1)(i),
should “[i]ndicat[e] briefly the general topics on
which such persons have information” in order to
“assist other parties in deciding which depositions
will actually be needed.” Id.
commentary further explains that Rule 26(a)(1)(ii), which
relates to documents used to support a party's claims or
defenses, “does not require production of any
documents.” Id. Only a description of
documents by category and location is required. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(ii). The commentary states that
“[i]f . . . only the description [of documents] is
provided, the other parties are expected to obtain the
documents desired by proceeding under Rule 34 or through
informal requests.” Id; see also 8A Wright
& Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2053 (3d
ed.) (stating that the “objective of [a listing of
documents by category and location] is to enable the other
parties to make informed decisions about which documents they
should request . . . pursuant to Rule 34”). While
“an itemized listing of each exhibit is not required,
” descriptions of documents should be sufficiently
detailed to “enable opposing parties (1) to . . .
[decide] which documents might need to be examined, at least
initially, and (2) to frame their document requests in a
manner likely to avoid squabbles resulting from the wording
of the requests.” City of Chicago v. Purdue Pharma
L.P., No. 14-CV-4361, 2017 WL 2819948, at *2 (N.D. Ill.
Mar. 3, 2017) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26, Adv. Comm. Notes (1993
requests are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34,
which allows any party to serve on any other party a request
for documents or electronically stored information within the
scope of Rule 26(b) that are in the possession, custody, or
control of the party upon whom the request is served.
Motion for ...