United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS ON MOTION
C. WILKINSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Vinet was employed as a clean-up worker after the
BP/Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill on April 20,
2010. Complaint, Record Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff filed his
complaint pursuant to the Back-End Litigation Option
("BELO") provisions of the BP/Deepwater Horizon
Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement Agreement
("Medical Settlement Agreement"). Record Doc. Nos.
6427-1 and 8218 in MDL No. 10-md-2179. As a member of the
BELO settlement class, plaintiff seeks compensatory damages
and related costs for later-manifested physical conditions
that he allegedly suffered as a result of exposure to
substances released after the oil spill. Record Doc. No. 1 at
Motion to Compel Discovery Responses, Record Doc. No. 19, is
now pending before me. Local Rule 7.5 requires that a
memorandum in opposition to a motion must be filed no later
than eight days before the noticed submission date. No.
memorandum in opposition to the motion has been received.
Accordingly, this motion is deemed to be unopposed. However,
it appearing to the court that the motion has merit only in
part, IT IS ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART as follows.
Civ. P. 26(b)(1) provides, in pertinent part, that ". .
. [p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or
defense and proportional to the needs of the case . . .
." (emphasis added). Defendants seek an order compelling
responses to Interrogatories Nos. 8, 16, and 17 and Requests
for Production Nos. 18, 19, and 33, and the sworn
verification by plaintiff himself as to all answers, as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(1)(A), (3) and (5).
initial matter, defendant's motion is granted insofar as
it seeks verification of all interrogatory answers. The copy
of the interrogatory answers provided to me in connection
with this motion does not include plaintiff's
verification of his answers, sworn under oath and signed by
him, as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(1)(A), (3) and (5).
The required verification must be provided.
motion is granted as to Interrogatory No. 8 and Request for
Production No. 18. In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that
he suffered various kinds of damages, Record Doc. No. 1 at
¶ 17, and these requests simply seek a precise damages
computation and documentation supporting plaintiff's
damages claims. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(ii) and
(iii) (requiring disclosure of such information). No.
objections to these requests were asserted, and the
information sought in these requests is fundamental, clearly
relevant and proportional to both plaintiff's damages
claims and defendant's defenses to those claims. The time
for plaintiff to provide this basic information is now, and
he must fully and completely supplement these responses as
motion is granted in part and denied in part as to
Interrogatory No. 16. This overly broad interrogatory seeking
information concerning "any claims or lawsuits
filed by you or own your behalf . . . personal injury or
illness claims . . . insurance or worker's compensation
policy or for Social Security benefits . . . bankruptcy
claims or filings . . . bankruptcy trust claims or
submissions . . . personal injury trust claims or submissions
. . . any settlement of any claims (whether at issue in
this lawsuit or otherwise)," Record Doc. No. 19-3
at p. 14 (emphasis added), includes much that is wholly
irrelevant and not proportional to any claim or defense.
Thus, the motion is denied insofar as it seeks an answer
providing all of the requested information. Defendant's
motion is granted in part as to the payment Vinet received
through the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Claims
Administrator. The amount of that payment is relevant and
discoverable in this BELO litigation that directly involves
the medical benefits settlement process. Plaintiff must
supplement this answer to provide the date and amount of this
motion is also granted in part and denied in part as to
Interrogatory No. 17. Defendants' motion fails to cite
any case law or explain why or how plaintiff's
arrest record might be relevant to the claims or
defenses of any party. My review of the pleadings has
identified no such relevance. Decisions in which discovery of
arrest records (as opposed to admissible criminal
convictions under Fed.R.Evid. 609) has been
permitted appear to be cases in which the party's ongoing
criminal record and extensive criminal activities are clearly
essential issues in the case itself; as for example, when the
party himself is alleged to be a fraud or to be committing
such a fraud. Compare Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D.
559 (N.D. Ill. 2001), aff'd, 321 F.3d 663 (7th
Cir. 2003) and In re: Amtrak "Sunset Limited"
Train Crash, 136 F.Supp. 1251 (S.D. Ala. 2001),
aff'd sub nom, In re: Amtrak, 29
Fed.Appx. 575 (11th Cir. 2001), with EEOC v. Area
Erectors, Inc., 247 F.R.D. 549, 553 (N.D. Ill. 2007) (in
an employment discrimination case, claimants' arrest
records were not discoverable by a defendant who
failed "to articulate some particularized suspicion that
a claimant may have been arrested for work related misconduct
. . . [W]ithout a particularized showing, the speculative
benefit of such a wide sweeping inquiry is outweighed by the
threat of annoyance, embarrassment and oppression"). In
the instant case, I cannot discern, in the absence of any
explanation by the moving party and based solely upon my
review of the pleadings, any relevance in plaintiff's
arrest record. Thus, the motion is denied insofar as it seeks
all information requested in this interrogatory.
Defendants' motion is granted in part, however, insofar
as it seeks information pertaining to his criminal
convictions, if any, of the type described in
Fed.R.Evid. 609(a), which may be admissible at trial as
relevant to plaintiff's credibility.
motion is granted in part and denied in part as to Request
for Production No. 19, subject to the order contained herein.
On one hand, plaintiff's complaint expressly seeks
compensation for the following damages: ". . . (g) lost
earnings and damage to wage-earning capacity, (h) other
economic loss; . . . ." Record Doc. No. 1 at p. 5,
¶ 17. On the other hand, in conflict with his pleading,
plaintiff's objection to this request states that he
"has not claimed lost wages." Record Doc. No. 19-3
at p. 27. Plaintiff must make up his mind. If he pursues any
sort of earnings or economic loss claim in this case, a full
and complete response to this request must be provided. If he
abandons his lost earnings and economic loss claim asserted
in his complaint, he must file in the record and provide
defendant with his affidavit clearly saying so by the
deadline set out below.
motion is granted in part and denied in part as to Request
for Production No. 33. Plaintiff's objection to Item (d),
which the court extends to closely related Item (b), is
sustained for the same reasons but subject to the same
affidavit requirement concerning abandonment of his lost
earnings/economic loss claim set out above. However, if
plaintiff pursues his lost earnings/economic loss claims, he
must provide this authorization, together with all other
requested authorizations which he has not yet provided and as
to which he has not objected. See Lischka v. Tidewater
Services, Inc., 1997 WL 27066, *2 (E.D. La. Jan. 22,
1997) (Vance, J.) and various decisions cited therein (Rule
34 does permit requests for execution of records
release forms, with concomitant power to compel their
ORDERED that, no later than June 12, 2019,
plaintiff must produce to defendants the interrogatory
answers, verification of interrogatory answers, written
responses to requests for production, together with actual
production of all responsive documents, and file and serve
the affidavit concerning ...