United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
WELLS ROBY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion to Compel Discovery (R. Doc. 34) filed
by the Plaintiff, Trident Management Group, LLC
(“Plaintiff”), seeking an order from the Court
compelling Defendant, GLF Construction Corporation
(“Defendant”), to provide complete and
supplemental responses to its First Set of Interrogatories
and Requests for Production of Documents. The motion is
opposed. R. Doc. 35. The motion was submitted on July 12,
2017 and heard with oral argument that day. For the following
reason, the motion is DENIED.
action was filed in the District Court on December 13, 2016
pursuant to this Court's admiralty jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1333 and its diversity jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). R. Doc. 1. The Plaintiff alleges
that it and the Defendant entered into a “Charter
Agreement” on July 21, 2016 for the charter of the
vessel/barge Alaska Solution. Id. at p. 2-3. The
Defendant had previously secured a construction contract with
MSC Cruises and was looking to hire the Alaska Solution as a
quarters barge to house its workings during the project for
MSC Cruises. Id. at p. 3. The Plaintiff alleges that
the Defendant has breached that contract by failing to make a
number of payments. Id. at p. 4-5. The Plaintiff
later filed an amended complaint to include a claim against
the Defendant for breaching its duty of good faith and fair
dealings. R. Doc. 8.
time, the Plaintiff has filed a motion to compel. R. Doc. 34.
The Plaintiff originally propounded interrogatories and
requests for production of documents on the Defendant on
April 5, 2017. R. Doc. 34-1, p. 5. On May 11, 2017, the
Defendant provided responses that the Plaintiff asserts
contain boiler plate objections and limited responses.
Id. at p. 6. In particular, the Plaintiff asserts
that; (i) the Defendant has not properly responded to a
number of “contention interrogatories” related to
the Defendant's affirmative defenses; and (ii) that the
Defendant has improperly objected to a number of
interrogatories and request for production of documents that
are related to the Plaintiff's claim of breach of duty of
good faith. Id. at p. 9-21.
Defendant has opposed the instant motion. R. Doc. 35. The
Defendant argues primarily that: (i) contention
interrogatories are premature at this stage of discovery and
(ii) that the Plaintiff's interrogatories and requests
for production are overly broad, irrelevant, and not
proportional to the needs of the case.
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 (“Rule”) 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 ..... ” Rule 26(b)(1) specifies that
“[i]nformation within the scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discovered.” Rule
26(b)(1) also specifies that discovery must be
“proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
important 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
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.
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
discovery in an effort to obtain it without court
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 31(a)(1).