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Goins v. Illinois National Insurance Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

June 28, 2018

BYRON GOINS, ET AL.
v.
ILLINOIS NATIONAL INSURANCE CO., ET AL.

          ORDER

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Illinois National Insurance Company's (“Illinois National”) Motion to Compel Answers to the First Set of Request for Production of Documents and Interrogatories (R. Doc. 11) filed on June 1, 2018. The deadline for filing an opposition has expired. LR 7(f). Accordingly, the instant motion is unopposed.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs filed the instant action on February 20, 2018 in the 18th Judicial District Court, Iberville Parish, Louisiana. (R. Doc. 1-1). Illinois National removed the action on Friday, March 16, 2018. (R. Doc. 1).

         On March 19, 2018, the following Monday, in addition to filing an Answer (R. Doc. 2), Illinois National served Interrogatories and Requests for Production on Plaintiffs (R. Doc. 11-3). Illinois National represents that Plaintiffs have not responded to the foregoing written discovery requests. (R. Doc. 11 at 1).

         On May 8, 2018, the parties filed a Joint Status Report. (R. Doc. 7).

         On May 22, 2018, the Court issued a Scheduling Order setting deadlines in this action, including a deadline to complete non-expert discovery by February 1, 2019. (R. Doc. 10).

         On June 1, 2018, Illinois National filed the instant motion, which seeks an order requiring Plaintiffs to respond to the written discovery requests served three days after removal. (R. Doc. 11).

         II. Law and Analysis A.Timing of Discovery and Motion to Compel

         “A party may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have conferred as required by Rule 26(f), except in a proceeding exempted from initial disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1)(B), or when authorized by these rules, by stipulation, or by court order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(1). “More than 21 days after the summons and complaint are served on a party, ” however, “a request under Rule 34 may be delivered . . . by that party to any plaintiff.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(2)(A)(ii). Such a “request is considered to have been served at the first Rule 26(f) conference.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(2)(B).

         Illinois National served its Interrogatories and Requests for Production on Plaintiff on March 19, 2018. (R. Doc. 11-3). There is no indication in the record that the parties held a Rule 26(f) discovery conference over the weekend between removal of the action on March 16, 2018 and service of the discovery requests on March 19, 2018.[1]

         Given that there is no evidence in the record that the parties held a Rule 26(f) conference prior to service of Illinois National's Interrogatories, the Court will not compel Plaintiffs to respond to those Interrogatories. Unless Illinois National indicates in a renewed motion that the Interrogatories were served after a Rule 26(f) conference, Illinois National must re-serve its Interrogatories prior to seeking any further relief from the Court regarding those interrogatories.

         The record indicates, however, that Illinois National served its Requests for Production after service of the citation and petition in state court, which are the state variations of the “summons and complaint” referenced in Rule 26(d)(2)(A). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(c)(1) (The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “apply to a civil action after it is removed from a state court.”). In such a situation, service of Requests for Production is allowed prior to a Rule 26(f) conference, but service is deemed to occur on the date of the Rule 26(f) conference. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(2)(B). Responses to Requests for Production “delivered under Rule 26(d)(2)” are due “within 30 days after the parties' first Rule 26(f) conference.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(A). Given the record, the Court cannot determine whether 30 days had passed between the Rule 26(f) conference and the filing of the Motion to Compel on June 1, 2018. The Court will not compel Plaintiff to respond to Illinois National's Requests for Production at this time. Any renewed motion by Illinois National regarding these Requests for Production must indicate the date of the parties' Rule 26(f) conference and indicate that Plaintiff did not respond within 30 days of that date. As set forth below, however, an additional Rule 37 conference must be conducted before any such renewed motion may be filed.

         B. Illinois National's Rule ...


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