United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
JAMES MILLION, ET AL.
EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION, ET AL.
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is defendant Protherm Services Group, LLC's
(“Protherm”) Motion to Compel Discovery Responses
from Plaintiff (R. Doc. 46) filed on February 18, 2018. The
motion is opposed. (R. Doc. 49).
October 18, 2017, Protherm propounded Interrogatories and
Requests for Production on plaintiff James Million. (R. Doc.
November 21, 2017, having not received timely responses to
the foregoing written discovery, defense counsel scheduled a
telephone discovery conference. (R. Doc. 46-5). That same
day, Plaintiffs' counsel informed defense counsel that
responses would be provided by December 20, 2017, and a
Social Security Earnings printout would be provided in the
interim. (R. Doc. 46-6). Plaintiffs' counsel provided the
Social Security records later that day. (R. Doc. 49-2).
December 14, 2017, Plaintiffs' counsel requested an
additional extension to January 22, 2018 in light of Mr.
Million's hospitalization. (R. Doc. 46-7 at 2). Defense
counsel agreed to an extension to January 8, 2018. (R. Doc.
46-7 at 1).
February 18, 2018, having received no responses to the
discovery requests, Protherm filed the instant motion,
seeking an order requiring responses to be provided within 10
days of the order and an award of reasonable expenses
incurred in bringing the motion. (R. Doc. 46).
opposition, Mr. Million represents that he has been unable to
provide responses to the written discovery requests in light
of his multiple hospitalizations, deteriorating health, and
treatment for cancer. (R. Doc. 49-1 at 1-2). Mr. Million
further argues that Protherm should not be awarded expenses
under the circumstances. (R. Doc. 49-1 at 2-3). Referencing
Louisiana law, Mr. Million further argues that certain
discovery requests (namely Interrogatory Nos. 5, 8, and 7 and
Request for Production No. 10) are objectionable. (R. Doc.
49-1 at 4-5). Finally, Mr. Million argues that he should be
awarded fees incurred in defending the instant motion. (R.
Doc. 49-1 at 5).
Law and Analysis
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).
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)).
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.