United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
STEVE ROSE, ET AL.
COMPUTER SCIENCES CORPORATION.
ORDER AND REASONS
WELLS ROBY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Computer Science Corporation's
Motion to Compel Plaintiffs' Discovery Responses (R. Doc.
57) seeking an order of the Court to compel twenty-six (26)
Plaintiffs to provided responses to the Defendant's first
and second round of discovery requests that have been pending
since August 12, 2016 and December 5, 2016, respectively. The
motion is opposed. R. Doc. 63. For the following reasons, the
motion is GRANTED.
diversity action was filed in the District Court on March 13,
2015. R. Doc. 1. In the initial complaint, sixty-six (66)
individual Plaintiffs filed suit against Computer Sciences
Corporation (“CSC”) for breaching their
employment contracts. Id. In particular, the
Plaintiffs allege that in 2006 CSC received a number of
contracts with the Department of Defense to provide services
in Kuwait and Afghanistan, including the installation and
repair of electronic jamming devices on military combat
vehicles. R. Doc. 1, p. 5. To perform those contracts, CSC
allegedly recruited a number of United States citizens to
work overseas. Id. When CSCS offered an individual a
job, it would send an offer letter and a “Foreign
Travel” letter. Id. The offer letter quoted a
salary of about $65, 000-which the Plaintiffs allege amounted
to less than $15 an hour as they worked eighty-four (84)
hours per week-and the Foreign Travel letter described fringe
benefits including certain discretionary payments.
in 2009, CSC changed its offer letter to include an hourly
rate that averaged $32 an hour and a quoted annualized amount
of the hourly rate multiplied by 2080-or forty (40) hours for
fifty-two (52) weeks a year. However, CSC allegedly still
required its employees to work eighty-four (84) hours per
week. Again in 2010, CSC changed its offer letter to remove
any reference to an annualized amount. Id.
Plaintiffs allege that CSC never intended to pay the quoted
annual rate for all hours work. Id. at p. 6. Rather,
the Plaintiffs argue that CSC paid the flat annualized amount
based on a forty-hour week while requiring the Plaintiffs to
work eighty-four-hour weeks. Id. As such, CSC
allegedly paid the Plaintiffs less than half of the agreed
rate. Id. As such, the Plaintiffs filed the instant
action seeking damages based on the agreed hourly rate for
all hours worked; a statutory penalty of 90 days wages under
Louisiana Revised Statute § 23:631; and reasonable legal
fees and prejudgment interest. Id. at p. 7.
30, 2015, an additional fourteen (14) Plaintiffs joined the
lawsuit. R. Doc. 15. Another thirty-one (31) Plaintiffs
joined on September 12, 2016. R. Doc. 35. As of January 25,
2017, ninety-five (95) Plaintiffs remained in the case.
time, CSC has filed a motion to compel discovery responses
from twenty-six (26) of the Plaintiffs who have not yet
responded to discovery requests propounded on them. R. Doc.
57-1, p. 4. CSC states that has conferenced with
Plaintiffs' counsel about the missing discovery,
including as recently as April 19, 2017 following an order
from the District Court to do so. See R. Doc. 55.
CSC argues that following an extended deadline of April 28,
2017 counsel for CSC and the Plaintiffs agreed in principle
to dismiss all Plaintiffs' who failed to provide complete
responses to the discovery request by May 20, 217. R. Doc.
57-1, p. 5-6. However, the Parties were unable to agree on
the specific terms. Id. at p. 6. As such, CSC filed
the instant motion to compel. In addition seeking to compel
discovery responses by a date certain, CSC requests that the
Court dismiss with prejudice those Plaintiffs that fail to
comply with the Court's order. CSC also seeks an award of
fees in connection with the instant motion.
Plaintiffs have responded to the motion. R. Doc. 63. The
Plaintiffs argue that there has been difficulty responding
because of logistics given that all of the Plaintiffs worked
for CSC overseas and that many of the Plaintiffs still work
overseas for other military contractors. Plaintiffs argue
that they do not oppose the motion to compel discovery
responses. Rather, the Plaintiffs' counsel argues
that-while he has become somewhat frustrated in an inability
to hear from some Plaintiffs and agrees to dismiss Plaintiffs
that do no eventually respond-any dismissal should be without
Standard of Review
of documents, electronically stored information, and things
is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34. Rule 34
allows a party to request the production of “any
designated documents or electronically stored
information” or “any tangible things.”
Id. Similarly, Rule 33 allows a party to serve
another party written interrogatories which “must, to
the extent it is not objected to, be answered separately and
fully in writing under oath.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3).
Both Rule 33 and 34 allow a party to ask interrogatories and
request production to the extent of Rule 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P.
Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides sanctions for failure to
cooperate in discovery. Rule 37(a) allows a party in certain
circumstances to move for an order compelling discovery from
another party. In particular, Rule 37(a)(3)(b)(iii)-(iv)
allows a party seeking discovery to move for an order
compelling an answer or production of documents where a party
“fails to answer an interrogatory” or
“fails to produce documents.” An “evasive
or incomplete” answer or production is treated the same
as a complete failure to answer or produce. Fed.R.Civ.P.
addition to alleging that the responding party has failed to
properly cooperate with discovery, a motion to compel under
Rule 37(a) must also “include a certification that the
movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer
with the person or party failing to make disclosure or