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Gremillion v. Grayco Communications, L.P.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 15, 2018



          Janis van Meerveld United States Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is the Motion to Compel filed by the Plaintiffs. (Rec. Doc. 193). For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiffs' request for oral argument is denied.


         Plaintiff 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).

         On 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.

         The 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. Trial is set to begin on October 9, 2018. Discovery must be completed by July 23, 2018.

         At issue in this motion is the timing for production of ICOM records by Grayco, the timing for Grayco's responses to Plaintiff's Fourth Set of Interrogatories, and the certain United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) documents.

         Law and Analysis

         1. Scope of Discovery

         The 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). Of note, with the 2015 amendment to Rule 26, it is now clear that “[i]nformation within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id. In assessing proportionality of discovery, the following should be considered: “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.” Id. The advisory committee comments to the 2015 amendment to Rule 26 make clear that the parties and the court have a collective responsibility to ensure that discovery is proportional. The party claiming it would suffer an undue burden or expense is typically in the best position to explain why, while the party claiming the information sought is important to resolve the issues in the case should be able “to explain the ways in which the underlying information bears on the issues as that party understands them.” Id. advisory committee comments to 2015 amendment. “The court's responsibility, using all the information provided by the parties, is to consider these and all the other factors in reaching a case-specific determination of the appropriate scope of discovery.” Id.

         2. ICOM Records

         On November 1, 2017, Plaintiff Gremillion first requested Grayco's ICOM system records regarding tasks performed by Plaintiffs and records reflect the time during which tasks were performed by Plaintiffs in the class period. After two extensions of time to respond, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel on February 20, 2018, and Grayco responded that it did not object to producing the ICOM records. In response to the present Motion to Compel, Grayco confirms that it has no opposition to producing the ICOM records. However, it reports that the records are voluminous and require a very time intensive process to obtain. The declaration of Alicia Thomas explains that she must pull information for each individual separately, one day at a time. (Rec. Doc. 195-1). Once she is able to pull up the daily route for a technician for a specific day, she must transfer the route information into an excel spreadsheet, then go back to the ICOM system and change the “View” setting for that date to a more detailed recording of that route. In that detailed view, she combs through the route information to find the start and end time for each job, and then she transfers that information into the spreadsheet. As of May 7, 2018, she had completed pulling records for 24 of the 54 individuals requested. She estimated she would need an additional 45 days to pull the remaining individuals.

         Given the burden involved in pulling the records, the Court finds 45 days a reasonable time period to complete production. Accordingly, Grayco shall complete production of the ICOM system records by June 21, 2018.

         3. Plaintiffs' Fourth ...

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