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Tredick v. Ekugbere

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

June 23, 2017

HEATHER TREDICK
v.
BAZUNU D. EKUGBERE,

          ORDER

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Compel Discovery Responses (R. Doc. 9) filed on May 26, 2017. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the instant motion within 21 days after service of the motion. Accordingly, the motion is unopposed. LR 7(f).

         I. Background

         This is a personal injury action involving a motor vehicle collision. (R. Doc. 1-2). Heather Tredrick (“Plaintiff”) named as defendants the other driver, Bazunu D. Ekugbere, and his insurer, Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan (collectively, “Defendants”).

         On February 23, 2017, Defendants removed this action, asserting that the Court has diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (R. Doc. 1).

         On March 23, 2017, Defendants propounded Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents on Plaintiff. (R. Doc. 9-3).[1] Having received no responses within 30 days of service of the discovery, Defendants scheduled a Rule 37 discovery conference to be held on May 2, 2017. (R. Doc. 9-4). Defendants represent that at the Rule 37 discovery conference, Defendants granted a two week extension to respond to the discovery requests. (R. Doc. 9-4; R. Doc. 9-2 at 1).[2]

         On May 26, 2017, having received no responses within the extension provided, Defendants filed the instant Motion. (R. Doc. 9-1 at 1). Defendants seek an order compelling Plaintiff to respond to the discovery requests and for an award of reasonable expenses incurred in bringing the Motion. (R. Doc. 9-1 at 3-4).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Legal Standards

         “Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery if it determines that: “(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).

         “The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Rule 26(c)'s “good cause” requirement indicates that the party seeking a protective order has the burden “to show the necessity of its issuance, which contemplates a particular and specific demonstration of fact as distinguished from stereotyped and conclusory statements.” In re Terra Int'l, Inc., 134 F.3d 302, 306 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting United States v. Garrett, 571 F.2d 1323, 1326 n.3 (5th Cir. 1978)).

         Rules 33 and 34 provide a party with 30 days after service of the discovery to respond or object. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A). If a party fails to respond fully to discovery requests made pursuant as to Rules 33 and 34 in the time allowed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the party seeking discovery may move to compel disclosure and for appropriate sanctions under Rule 37. An “evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must be treated as a failure to disclose, answer or respond.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4).

         B. Defendants' Interrogatories

         “Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party may serve on any other party no more than 25 written interrogatories, including all discrete subparts.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1). Here, Defendants propounded 31 interrogatories. (R. Doc. 9-3 at 2-10). Defendants have not submitted any evidence that the parties stipulated that each party may serve more than 25 written interrogatories. Moreover, the Court ...


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