United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
CHEVRON ORONITE COMPANY, LLC.
JACOBS FIELD SERVICES NORTH AMERICA, INC.
WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Compel Discovery (R. Doc.
24) filed by the Defendant Jacobs Field Services
North America Inc. seeking an order compelling Plaintiff
Chevron Oronite Company, LLC to provide sufficient responses
and document production in response to their First Set of
Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. R.
Doc. 24. The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 30. Oral argument was
heard on August 15, 2018.
Chevron owned a facility in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
Defendant Jacobs, a contractor, performed work at this
facility pursuant to a series of contracts. These contracts
included maintenance contract nos. K-2551, K-2542, 2961, and
3414, which were effective between 1988 and 1994
(“Contracts”). These Contracts contained
provisions where Jacobs promised to indemnify Chevron for
claims arising from Jacobs' work at the Chevron facility,
and all applied to welders.
1988 and 1994 an employee of Jacobs named Wayne Bourgeois
worked for Jacobs at the Chevron facility as a welder. On
March 9, 2017, Bourgeois sued Chevron, alleging exposure to
asbestos during his time spent at the Chevron facility. On
November 7, 2017, Chevron tendered a letter to Jacobs
demanding that they defend and indemnify them from Mr.
Bourgeois' lawsuit pursuant to the indemnity provisions
within the Contracts. R. Doc. 28-14. Jacobs did not defend
Chevron against Mr. Bourgeois' suit. After tendering the
November 7, 2017, letter to Jacobs, Chevron settled with Mr.
Bourgeois for $550, 000.
matter was originally filed in the District Court on March 2,
2018. R. Doc. 1. Chevron alleged that Jacobs had refused to
indemnify them for their settlement with Mr. Bourgeois
pursuant to the Contracts. The Motion before the Court, filed
by Jacobs, seeks to compel Chevron to respond to
interrogatories and requests for production pertaining to the
presence of asbestos at the Chevron facility. R. Doc. 24.
opposes the Motion. R. Doc. 30. Chevron argues that because
they tendered their defense to Jacobs in the November 7
letter, and because Jacobs refused this defense, all of
Jacobs' requested discovery is irrelevant because it
seeks to establish whether Chevron was actually
liable to Mr. Bourgeois rather than just potentially
liable to Mr. Bourgeois. Prior to filing the Motion to
Compel, on June 27, 2018, and July 5, 2018, Jacobs conferred
by e-mail with Chevron in an attempt to resolve the dispute
without seeking relief from the court. R. Doc. 24-3. Jacobs
and Chevron conferred by telephone conference on July 13 and
July 30, 2018, again without success in resolving the
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.”
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). Rules
33 and 34 allow a party to ask interrogatories and request
production to the extent of Rule 26(b).
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 ...