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Brown v. Praxair, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

October 19, 2018

JONATHAN BROWN
v.
PRAXAIR, INC., ET AL.

          ORDER

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

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Depositions of Vanjia Thomas, James Willis, Brian Burt and Todd Dunn (R. Doc. 33). The motion is opposed. (R. Doc. 39; see R. Doc. 37).

         Also before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Terminate Depositions Pursuant to FRCP 30(d)(3) (R. Doc. 37) and Defendant's Motion to Compel (R. Doc. 35). The motions are opposed. (R. Doc. 42; R. Doc. 44).

         The Court held oral argument on the foregoing motions on October 16, 2018. (R. Doc. 45).

         I. Background

         On June 17, 2017, Johnathan Brown (“Plaintiff”) commenced this race discrimination action, naming his employer Praxair, Inc. (“Praxair”) and his co-workers James Willis, Brian Burt, Todd Dunn, and Vanjia Thomas as defendants. (R. Doc. 1, “Compl.”). Plaintiff asserts that he was wrongfully terminated from his employment as a Maintenance Superintendent with Praxair on July 13, 2016. (Compl. ¶ 4). Among other things, Plaintiff alleges that in April of 2016, he participated in a performance improvement plan (“PIP”) meeting in which he was offered a severance package in lieu of participating in a PIP. (Compl. ¶ 10). Plaintiff further alleges that he declined the severance package, attended additional PIP meetings, and, when he ultimately provided two weeks' notice, his employment was immediately terminated. (Compl. ¶¶ 10-14). Plaintiff seeks relief under federal and state law. (Compl. ¶¶ 15-18).

         On September 25, 2017, the Court issued a Scheduling Order setting, among other things, the deadline to complete non-expert discovery on August 1, 2018, the deadline to complete expert discovery on December 31, 2018, the deadline to file dispositive motions on March 1, 2019, and for trial to commence on September 9, 2019. (R. Doc. 11).

         On May 4, 2018, Plaintiff responded to interrogatories and requests for production served by Praxair. (R. Doc. 35-3). The discovery requests and responses at issue in Praxair's motion to compel are Interrogatory No. 4, and Requests for Production Nos. 13, 15, 19, 34, 36:

INTERROGATORY NO. 4:
Identify all persons from whom you have received statements, either orally, recorded or in writing, sworn or unsworn, regarding any of the allegations made by you in your Petition.
RESPONSE:
The Plaintiff objects to this interrogatory as discovery is ongoing and as such this interrogatory is premature. Without waiving said objection, the Plaintiff is in the process of verifying any and all recordings that may have been acquired in connection with this transaction forming the basis of this litigation. Further answering, the Plaintiff has interacted with and had several meetings and discussions with all persons that were identified in the Complaint and therefore those names are to be incorporated herein by reference.
REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 13:
Documents written or prepared by Plaintiff or at Plaintiff's direction during his employment with Praxair reflecting Plaintiff's daily activities, factual observations pertaining to his employment, communications with Praxair or its agents, Plaintiff's physical condition, Plaintiff's mental condition, and/or any emotional distress Plaintiff may have experienced, from January 1, 2014 to the time of trial. This request includes, but is not limited to, Plaintiff's personal calendars, e-mail transmissions, appointment books, notes, notebooks, journals or diaries, whether in hard copy or electronic format, originals or copies.
RESPONSE:
The Plaintiff objects that these items may constitute work product and once reviewed with counsel a work product and/or privilege log will be provided and thereafter the court may assist in the disclosure of said items. Further responding, most of ...

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