United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Compel Discovery Responses and for
Attorney's Fees (R. Doc. 19) filed by Plaintiff on March
7, 2018. Defendant filed its Opposition (R. Doc. 23) on March
initiated this litigation with the filing of his Complaint
(R. Doc. 1) on March 9, 2017. Therein, Plaintiff alleges that
his employment with Defendant was terminated in December
2015, despite alleged promises made by Defendant of continued
employment. Plaintiff brings his claims pursuant to the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act and La. R.S. 51:2231, et
seq. More specifically, Plaintiff asserts that he began
working for Defendant in July 2012 as a Senior Network
Business Analyst of the Provider Network section, and in this
role, created and prepared all Provider Network reports
required by DHH. (R. Doc. 1 at 4). He alleges that in August
2015, though other employees were laid off, he was offered
continued employment, but was subsequently terminated without
warning in December 2015. (R. Doc. 1 at 5).
denies that it improperly discriminated against Plaintiff due
to his age. (R. Doc. 10). Defendant also offers certain
Affirmative Defenses and arguments in support of its
termination of Plaintiff, two of which being most pertinent
to the discussion herein. First, Defendant raises an
affirmative defense that Plaintiff's termination was
based on a budgeting decision that led to the conclusion that
Plaintiff's position could be eliminated because of
automation of same. (R. Doc. 10 at 9). Second, although not
raised in its affirmative defenses, Defendant argues that
Plaintiff's termination was the result of a reduction in
force because of Defendant's loss of a majority of the
contract it had with Louisiana DHH. (R. Doc. 23 at 1).
propounded his Interrogatories and Requests for Production of
Documents, at issue in this Motion, on June 9, 2017. (R. Doc.
19-2 at 2; R. Doc. 19-3; R. Doc. 19-6). Defendant provided
its answers to the Interrogatories and Requests for
Production on July 17, 2017 (R. Doc. 19-4; R. Doc. 19-7), and
supplemental answers to the Interrogatories and Requests for
Production on September 11, 2017 (R. Doc. 19-5; R. Doc.
19-8). The parties represent they attempted to resolve their
differences, but were unable to do so, necessitating the
filing of this Motion.
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)).
Interrogatory No. 8
Interrogatory No. 8, Plaintiff asks the Defendant to
“identify, including name, address, telephone number,
and employer, each and every person who, on behalf of
Magellan, performed work on contracts with Louisiana DHH and
who has been terminated, laid off, and/or whose employment
with Magellan was not continued since August 1, 2015.”
(R. Doc. 19-3 at 10). Defendant objected to this
interrogatory, arguing it was “overly broad, unduly
burdensome, and not reasonably limited in scope because it
seeks information that is not proportional to the needs of
the case or probative of the claims and defenses in the
case.” (R. Doc. 19-5 at 8). Plaintiff argues that this
information is relevant because Defendant has argued that
Plaintiff's termination was part of a reduction in force
that began in August 2015. (R. Doc. 19-2 at 9). In response,
Defendant re-iterates its position that the request is overly
broad and unduly burdensome. (R. Doc. 23 at 3-4). Defendant
also notes that it offered to supplement its response to
Interrogatory No. 8 with the “names, job titles, and
ages of any former Magellan employees who performed task(s)
in support of Defendant's contract with DHH who were laid
off between August 2015 and February 2016 because of the RIF
implemented by Defendant due to the loss of the majority of
Defendant's contract with Louisiana DHH.” (R. Doc.
23 at 4).
information sought by Plaintiff in Interrogatory No. 8 is, at
the very least, relevant to the discovery of potentially
similarly-situated employees or former employees of Magellan,
as well as to Magellan's affirmative defense that
Plaintiff was terminated as part of a reduction in force. To
the extent it requests personal information, the responses to
Interrogatory No. 8 can be designated confidential pursuant
to the Protective Order in place. See R. Doc. 13.
avoid any confusion as to whether the Interrogatory covers
those never employed by Magellan, Interrogatory No. 8 is
appropriately limited to employees / former employees who
performed tasks in support of Magellan's contract with
Louisiana DHH. Lastly, the temporal scope of Interrogatory
No. 8 is also overly broad. Plaintiff alleges that
terminations began in August of 2015, and that he was
terminated in December 2015. (R. Doc. 1 at 5-6). The Court
finds it appropriate, therefore, to limit the temporal scope
of Interrogatory No. 8 from August 1, 2015 to August 1, 2016.
Accordingly, Interrogatory No. 8 will be limited to the
“names, address, and telephone number of each and every
employee / former employee of Magellan who performed tasks in
support of Magellan's contract with Louisiana DHH and who
has been terminated, laid off, and/or whose employment with
Magellan was not continued between August 1, 2015 through
August 1, 2016.”
IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (R.
Doc. 19) is GRANTED as to Interrogatory No.
Interrogatory Nos. 16, 18, 20, and 21
argues that Interrogatory Nos. 16, 18, 20, and 21 seek
information related to Defendant's Affirmative Defenses
and are, therefore, discoverable. Defendant, with regard to
Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 21, suggests that it offered to
provide responses so long as Plaintiff stipulated that
Defendant would not waive any attorney client or work product
privilege. (R. Doc. 23 at 5). The following interrogatories
and responses are at issue:
Interrogatory No. 16: Please identify and describe
in detail the claims and/or portions of claims asserted by
Tom Barnett that “are barred because they are beyond
the scope of Plaintiff's administrative charge” as
set forth and alleged in Magellan's Affirmative Defense
and/or Avoidance No. 9.
Answer to Interrogatory No. 16: Objection. This
interrogatory seeks the legal reasoning and theories of
Defendant's contentions. Defendant is not required to
prepare the Plaintiff's case.
Interrogatory No. 18: Please identify and describe
in detail any and all claims that Magellan alleges “are
barred by the applicable statute of limitations and/or
prescriptive period” as set forth in your ...