United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
LAYNE HEAVY CIVIL, INC.
ORDER AND REASONS
WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Compel Discovery (R. Doc.
37) filed by the Plaintiff Layne Heavy Civil, Inc.
seeking to compel Defendant Healtheon, Inc. to provide
responsive answers to Interrogatory Nos. 1-7 and 10-12. The
motion is opposed. R. Doc. 42. Oral argument was heard on
August 15, 2018.
action was originally filed in the District Court on
September 22, 2018. R. Doc. 1. Healtheon was the prime
contractor under a contract with NASA related to construction
at the John C. Stennis Space Center. R. Doc. 1, p. 2. In
August 2013, Layne entered into a subcontract
(“Contract”) with Healtheon to perform work at
the Space Center. Id. The Contract between Healtheon
and Layne concerned constructing a new 96-inch pipeline to
feed water to NASA's upgraded rocket engine test stands.
Layne's scope was to construct the 96-inch pipeline.
Id. Following the completion of the pipeline, Layne
filed this action and alleged that Healtheon has withheld
$1.3 million in payment owed from the Contract.
time, Layne has filed a motion to compel Healtheon to provide
complete discovery responses to its Interrogatories. R. Doc.
37. Layne originally propounded its first set of
Interrogatories on March 23, 2018, and their second set on
April 16, 2018. R. Doc. 37-5.
responded with objections to all requests on April 24, 2018,
and May 16, 2018, respectively. Id. On May 24, 2018,
Layne and Healtheon conferred by e-mail regarding
Healtheon's objections to the first two sets of
Interrogatories. R. Doc. 37-8. Layne requested in this e-mail
that Healtheon provide responsive answers to Interrogatory
Nos. 1-7 and 10-12. Id.
28, 2018, Healtheon responded with its First Supplemental and
Amended Responses. R. Doc. 37-6. The Supplemental and Amended
Responses raised further objections. Id. Layne
conferred with Healtheon again via e-mail on June 28, 2018,
stating that the First Supplemental and Amended Responses had
still inadequately answered Interrogatory Nos. 1-7 and 10-12.
R. Doc. 37-8. In the same e-mail Layne told Healtheon that it
considered its Rule 37(a) obligations fulfilled. Id.
has opposed the motion. R. Doc. 42. Healtheon argues that
Layne has not fulfilled its Rule 37(a) obligations, that
Interrogatory Nos. 1-7 and 10-11 are premature contention
interrogatories, and that Interrogatory Nos. 11-12 are vague
Standard of Review
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.”
26(b)(1) provides that parties may obtain discovery regarding
relevant information to any claim or defense as long as it is
nonprivileged. Rule 26(b)(1) specifies that
“[i]nformation within the scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discovered.” Rule
26(b)(1) also specifies that discovery must be
“proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
important 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
Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 37 provides that
“[a] party seeking discovery may move for an order
compelling an answer, designation, production, or inspection.
This motion may be made if: ... (iii) a party fails to answer
an interrogatory submitted under Rule 33, or (iv) a party
fails to respond that inspection will be permitted-or fails
to permit inspection-as requested under Rule 34.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). An “evasive or
incomplete” answer or production is treated the same as
a complete failure to answer or produce. Fed.R.Civ.P.
motion to compel under Rule 37(a) must also “include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make
disclosure or discovery in an ...