United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Motion to Compel Plaintiffs' Responses to
Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents (R.
Doc. 16) filed by the Defendant, Transocean RIGP DDC, L.L.C..
(“Transocean”) seeking an order from the Court to
compel the Plaintiffs, Derek and Dawn Kibodeaux
(“Plaintiffs”), to respond to the Interrogatories
and Requests for Production of Documents propounded on May
11, 2017. The motion was not opposed. The motion was
submitted on July 26, 2017. For the following reasons, the
motion to compel is GRANTED.
maritime action was filed in the District Court on December
30, 2016. R. Doc. 1. The Plaintiffs allege that on October
19, 2016 Plaintiff Derek Kibodeaux was working aboard the
MODU Development Driller III, owned by Defendant Transocean.
As Mr. Kibodeaux and two Transocean employees were attempting
to move a backpacker compensator control unit, the Mr.
Kibodeaux fell and the unit fell on top of him. R. Doc. 5, p.
2. The Plaintiffs allege that as a result he suffered severe
and permanent injuries and has been recommended to undergo
neck surgery. Id. at p. 3. Furthermore, the
Plaintiffs allege that he is now disabled and will not be
capable of returning to his offshore job. As a result, Mr.
Kibodeaux filed this suit seeking damages for the negligence
of the Defendant, including past, present, and future
physical pain and suffering; past, present, and future mental
anguish and emotional distress; past, present, and future
medical expenses; permanent disability; disfigurement; lost
wages and loss of earning capacity; loss of enjoyment of
life; and, additional damages which may be shown at trial.
Ms. Kibodeaux has also filed a claim for her loss of
consortium with her husband. Id. at p. 4.
time, Transocean has filed a motion to compel the
Plaintiffs' responses to its interrogatories and requests
for production of documents. R. Doc. 16. Transocean
originally propounded the requests on the Plaintiffs on May
11, 2017. R. Doc. 16-1, p. 1. When the Plaintiffs failed to
respond, Transocean conferred with them and agreed to extend
the time to respond to June 26, 2017. Id. At this
time, the Plaintiffs have yet to respond to the discovery
requests. As such, Transocean filed the instant motion to
compel responses as well as for reasonable attorneys fees and
costs associated with bringing the instant motion.
Id. at p. 2.
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
discovery in an effort to obtain it without court
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 31(a)(1).
if the motion is granted, the court “must, after giving
an opportunity to be heard, require the party or deponent
whose conduct necessitated the motion, the party or attorney
advising that conduct, or both to pay the movant's
reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including
attorney's fees.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A).
However, the Court will not order payment if the opposing
party's nondisclosure was “substantially
justified” or circumstances make the award unjust.
instant motions to compel, Transocean has alleged that the
Plaintiffs have failed to properly respond to its requests
for production of documents. Transocean has provided the
proper certification for the motion to compel under Rule
37(a). R. Doc. 16-4. At this time, the Plaintiffs have not
yet responded to the discovery requests and have not opposed
the instant motion to compel. As such, Transocean has
properly filed a motion to compel under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 37(a)(3)(b) (iv). Therefore, the Court grants
Transocean's motion to compel.
because the motion to compel will be been granted, the Court
may impose reasonable expenses in making the instant motion
to compel on the Plaintiffs as Transocean has requested.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A). Because the Plaintiffs have failed
to oppose the instant motion, there is no evidence of
substantial justification for failing to respond nor is there
any evidence of circumstances that would make the imposition