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Segura v. Fedex Smartpost, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 29, 2015



KAREN WELLS ROBY, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion to Compel Discovery Responses and Completion of Corporate Deposition of FedEx Smartpost (R. Doc. 24) filed by Plaintiffs, husband and wife, Tracy Segura ("Mr. Segura"), and Tracy Segura ("Mrs. Segura") (collectively, "Plaintiffs"). The Plaintiffs seek a court order compelling discovery responses and production of the CEO of FedEx Smartpost, Inc. ("FedEx") for the completion of the FedEx corporate deposition. The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 27. The motion was heard by oral argument on Wednesday, July 15, 2015.

I. Background

This action arises out of the injuries that Mr. Segura sustained on September 11, 2012 during the course of his employment with Tiger Logistics, a third party courier service. R. Doc. 1-2, p. 9. The accident occurred while Mr. Segura was delivering a FedEx pallet of packages to the United States Post Office ("USPO") in Mandeville, LA. Id. at 10. In the complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that the FedEx pallet was improperly stacked and was top heavy which caused it to fall on Mr. Segura, thereby causing his injuries. Id. at 7. Plaintiffs further alleged that the USPO loading dock was not clear of certain pallets and packages which precluded Mr. Segura from moving out of the way of the falling pallet. Id. Thus, Plaintiffs alleged that the failure of the USPO to properly clear the loading dock contributed to Mr. Segura's injuries. Id.

Plaintiffs instituted this action on December 11, 2012 in the 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson. R. Doc. 5-1, p. 2. Subsequently, Plaintiffs filed a Second Supplemental and Amending Petition naming the USPO as a party defendant on September 15, 2014. R. Doc. 1-2, pp. 6-8. The United States, on behalf of the USPO, removed the action to this Court on October 29, 2014. R. Doc. 1, pp. 1-2. Mr. Segura seeks compensation for the injuries he sustained, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life. R. Doc. 1-2; p. 11. Mrs. Segura seeks compensation for her loss of Mr. Segura's society, consortium, and services. Id. at 15.

In the instant motion, Plaintiffs seek to compel a response to certain topics of inquiry set forth in Plaintiffs' Notice of Corporate Deposition under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 30(b)(6) and a response to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents. R. Doc. 24, p. 1. Plaintiffs' further request an order compelling FedEx to produce FedEx CEO, Barb Wallander, for the completion of the FedEx corporate deposition. Id. Lastly, Plaintiffs request that all costs and attorney fees associated with the bringing of this Motion and the continuation of the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition be assessed against FedEx under Rule 37.

II. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The Rule specifies that "[r]elevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Id. The discovery rules are accorded a broad and liberal treatment to achieve their purpose of adequately informing litigants in civil trials. Herbert v. Lando, 441 U.S. 153, 176 (1979). Nevertheless, discovery does have "ultimate and necessary boundaries." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978) (quoting Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 507 (1947)). Furthermore, "it is well established that the scope of discovery is within sound discretion of the trial court." Coleman v. American Red Cross, 23 F.3d 1091, 1096 (6th Cir.1994).

Under Rule 26(b)(2)(C), discovery may be limited if: (1) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from another, more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive source; (2) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the discovery sought; or (3) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Id. In assessing whether the burden of the discovery outweighs its benefit, a court must consider: (1) the needs of the case; (2) the amount in controversy; (3) the parties' resources; (4) the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation; and (5) the importance of the proposed discovery in resolving the issues. Id. at 26(b)(2)(C)(iii).

Rule 26(b)(3) provides that "[o]rdinarily, a party may not discover documents and tangible things that are prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party in its representative (including the other party's attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent)." Id. However, such materials may be discoverable when either allowed by Rule 26(b)(1), or when a party shows a "substantial need" for the information and that obtaining the information by another means would pose an "undue hardship." Id.

Rule 33 states that "a party may serve on any other party no more than 25 written interrogatories." Id. at 33(a)(1). "An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b)." Id. at 33(a)(2). The responding party "must serve its answers and any objections within 30 days after being served with the interrogatories." Id. at 33(b)(2).

Rule 34 provides that a party may request another party to produce "any designated documents or electronically stored information... stored in any medium from which information can be obtained." Id. at 34(a)(1)(A). This request "must describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected." Id. at 34(b)(1)(A). "The party to whom the request is directed must respond in writing within 30 days after being served." Id. at 34(b)(2)(A). "For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection... will be permitted as requested or state an objection to the request, including the reasons." Id. at 34(b)(2)(B). Although Rule 34 does not provide that untimely objections are waived, the Fifth Circuit has found that the waiver provision applies equally to Rule 34. See In re United States, 864 F.2d 1153, 1156 (5th Cir. 1989).

III. Analysis

A. Production of FedEx CEO for Completion of ...

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