United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
MAGISTRATE JUDGE JANIS VAN MEERVELD
Van Meerveld United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is the Motion to Compel filed by the Plaintiff
(Rec. Doc. 160). On December 18, 2017, the undersigned
conducted a telephone conference and ordered that defendant
Grayco Communications, L.P. (“Grayco”) produce
Barbara Gray for deposition. The remaining issues in the
Motion to Compel are addressed by this ruling. For the
following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED in part.
Scott Gremillion worked as a cable technician for defendant
Grayco Communications, L.P. (“Grayco”) performing
cable repair and installation services for customers of Cox
Communications Louisiana, LLC (“Cox”). He filed
this lawsuit on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated on June 13, 2016, alleging that Grayco and Cox were
liable under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and
Louisiana's wage payment laws, La. Rev. Stat. §
23:631, et seq., for failing to pay him and other technicians
for work in excess of 40 hours in a work week “through
the guise of the pay-per-point/unilateral charge-back
scheme.” (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶13).
November 1, 2016, the District Court dismissed Mr.
Gremillion's claims under La. Rev. Stat. § 23:631
and § 23:632, but held that he had stated a claim under
§ 23:635. (Rec. Doc. 41). The parties consented to
proceed before the undersigned magistrate judge and on
December 8, 2016, the District Judge ordered the matter be
referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(c).
(Rec. Doc. 61). The undersigned granted Cox's motion for
summary judgment on the issue of joint employer liability,
finding that Cox was not Mr. Gremillion's employer under
the FLSA or Louisiana's wage payment laws. (Rec. Doc.
79). Cox was dismissed.
Court then granted Mr. Gremillion's motion to
conditionally certify this case as a collective action under
the FLSA, defining the class as follows: all individuals who
worked as a cable technician providing cable repair and
installation services for Grayco Communications, L.P., in
Louisiana at any time since March 24, 2014 and were paid
through a point-based system. (Rec. Doc. 90). The deadline
for plaintiffs to join the lawsuit has now passed and the
parties are proceeding with discovery.
issue in this motion is the discoverability of a settlement
agreement (the “Texas Settlement”) that Grayco
entered into in an FLSA case that was filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in
2015, Williams v. Grayco Communication, L.P., No.
4:15-cv-2893 (the “Texas Lawsuit”).
Scope of Discovery
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that “parties
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case.” Fed. R. Civ.
Proc. 26(b)(1). “Information within this scope of
discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
construing relevance broadly, this Court is anchored by the
parties' pleadings. See Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 26
advisory committee's notes to 2000 amendment (explaining
that in analyzing relevance, the parties should “focus
on the actual claims and defenses involved in the action,
” but that “a variety of types of information not
directly pertinent to the incident in suit could be relevant
to the claims or defenses raised in a given action”);
see also XTO Energy, Inc. v. ATD, LLC, No. CIV
14-1021 JB/SCY, 2016 WL 1730171, at *17 (D.N.M. Apr. 1, 2016)
(quoting State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Fayda,
No. 14CIV9792WHPJCF, 2015 WL 7871037, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 3,
2015), aff'd, No. 14CV9792, 2016 WL 4530890
(S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2016)) (concluding that following the 2015
amendments to the Rules, “[r]elevance is still to be
‘construed broadly to encompass any matter that bears
on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could
bear on' any party's claim or defense.'”).
Thus, “[t]o implement the rule that discovery must be
relevant to the claim or defense of any party, district
courts have examined the relationship of the requested
discovery and the facts it is intended to uncover to the
specific claims and defenses raised by the parties.”
Thibault v. BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., No.
CIV.A. 07-200, 2008 WL 4808893, at *2 (E.D. La. Oct. 30,
2008) (M.J. Wilkinson). Indeed, the advisory committee's
notes to Rule 26 explain that the parties “have no
entitlement to discovery to develop new claims or defenses
that are not already identified in the pleadings” and
the court “has the authority to confine discovery to
the claims and defenses asserted in the pleadings.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory committee's 2000 Amendment
addition to being relevant, discovery must be proportional.
In determining proportionality, the parties (and the Court ...