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Ackley v. Honeywell International, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

May 31, 2017

KEITH A. ACKLEY
v.
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC.

          MINALDI JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is a Motion to Compel [doc. 35] filed by defendant Honeywell International Inc. (“Honeywell”). Defendant also seeks attorney's fees and costs incurred in bringing this Motion. Id. Plaintiff Keith A. Ackley (“Ackley”) has filed a response in opposition [doc. 37].

         For the following reasons, defendant's Motion to Compel is GRANTED. The Motion for Costs and Attorney's Fees is DENIED.

         I.

         Background

         Ackley's lawsuit seeks recovery of damages against his former employer, Honeywell, based on theories of detrimental reliance and breach of contract. Doc. 1, att. 1. Ackley claims that in 2001, as part of an incentive to keep him employed, Honeywell's authorized agents offered him a stock option of 1, 000 shares of Honeywell stock. Id. at p. 4. Ackley maintains that he accepted the offer and continued working for Honeywell until 2009 when his employment was involuntarily terminated. Id. at p. 5. When Ackley attempted to exercise his stock option in 2012, within three years of termination of employment, Honeywell's authorized agents first informed him that the stock option expired in 2011. Id. Later email correspondence from Honeywell advised Ackley that the stock option had not been offered at all. Id. Because he remained employed until he was involuntarily terminated, Ackley claims he relied, to his detriment, on the promise of that option. Id.

         In order to address the claims, Honeywell sought discovery regarding “Ackley's financial understanding, his experience with securities transactions, and the nature of advice and information available to him.” Doc. 35, att. 1, p. 1. In response, Ackley objected specifically to interrogatories No. 4 and No. 6, and Request for Production No. 9, arguing that the information sought was not relevant and/or not proportional to the needs of the case. Doc. 35, att. 7, 8. Honeywell filed the motion before the court in order to obtain the information sought. Doc. 35.

         II.

         Analysis

         Through written discovery Honeywell requested the following:

INTERROGATORY NO. 4:
Identify each and every person (including, their names, addresses, and telephone numbers) from whom you have sought or received financial advice, for compensation or otherwise, since July 15, 2001. This interrogatory includes, without limitation, any accountant(s), tax advisor(s), attorney(s), financial advisor(s), chartered financial analyst(s), stock broker(s), securities dealer(s), financial planner(s), retirement planner(s), financial consultant(s), estate planner(s), any other person(s) holding themselves out as providing ...

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