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LLOG Exploration Co., L.L.C. v. Federal Flange, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 27, 2018

LLOG EXPLORATION COMPANY, LLC
v.
FEDERAL FLANGE, INC.

         SECTION: “H” (4)

          ORDER

          KAREN WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court are two cross-motions: (1) Plaintiff LLOG Exploration Company, LLC's Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Discovery Requests from CGP Manufacturing, Inc. (R. Doc. 55); and (2) Third-Party Defendant CGP Manufacturing, Inc.'s Motion to Compel LLOG Exploration Company, LLC's Responses to Discovery Requests (R. Doc. 61). Each motion has been opposed. R. Docs. 59, 68. Oral argument was heard on June 20, 2018.

         I. Background

         The instant action was filed by LLOG Exploration Company, LLC (“LLOG”) against Federal Flange, Inc. (“Federal”). R. Doc. 1. LLOG states it is engaged in exploration, development, and production of oil and gas and purchased 6x6 target elbows, or pipes, intended for subsea use from Federal that were defective. LLOG states it was required to shut down its wells and replace the target elbows resulting in an excess of 5 million dollars of damages. LLOG alleges: (1) breaches of express and implied warranties; (2) breach of contract; (3) breach of the Louisiana Product Liabilities Act; (4) redhibition; (5) negligence; and (6) detrimental reliance.

         Federal then filed a third-party complaint against CGP Manufacturing, Inc. (“CGP”), G&S Non-Destructive Testing, Inc. (“G&S”), and R.N. Gupta & Company, Ltd (“R.N. Gupta”) alleging: (1) breaches of their express and implied warranties; (2) breach of contract; (3) violations of products liability acts; (4) redhibition; (5) negligence; and (6) detrimental reliance. R.N. Gupta manufactured the target elbows at issue in the case which then worked their way through the chain of commerce to CGP, Federal, and finally to LLOG.

         The first motion filed was LLOG's motion for an extension of time to respond to CGP's discovery requests. R. Doc. 55. It argues that it noticed the corporate depositions in this matter for May 15-16, 2018. It states it wanted to collect and complete testimony from fact witnesses and sought to obtain these witnesses' knowledge unaffected by knowledge of others. However, due to a scheduling problem the depositions were delayed until July. CGP then propounded the discovery at issue on May 1, 2018 with a responses due on May 31, 2018. LLOG seeks an extension so that the fact depositions are not impacted by LLOG's production and because the extension would not have been needed if LLOG did not extend the courtesy of continuing CGP's corporate deposition.

         CGP opposes the motion. R. Doc. 59. It argues that CGP's corporate deposition was never actually scheduled in May because the original notice of deposition was merely an invitation to discuss mutually agreeable dates and times such that the “courtesy” extended by LLOG is a fiction. CGP contends discovery may be used in any sequence and there is no legal basis for LLOG to withhold discoverable information.

         CGP then filed a motion to compel LLOG's responses to the same discovery requests. R. Doc. 61. CGP states it propounded interrogatories and requests for production on May 1, 2018, making responses due on May 31, 2018. However, on May 30, 2018, LLOG produced improper general objections to the discovery requests. It argues that LLOG has not complied with the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         LLOG opposes the motion. R. Doc. 68. It argues that it should not be compelled to respond before CGP's corporate deposition and the requests are irrelevant and disproportionate to the needs of the case.

         II. Standard of Review

          Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“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). Rule 33 allows a party to ask interrogatories to the extent of Rule 26(b).

         Discovery of documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things is governed by Rule 34. Rule 34 allows a party to request the production of “any designated documents or electronically stored information” or “any tangible things.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(1).

         Both Rule 33 and 34 provide that the party served must respond within thirty (30) days. A shorter or longer time may be ...


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