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Good v. Orient Overseas Container Line Limited

August 11, 2008

AL GOOD DBA CASTLE ROCK VINEYARDS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ORIENT OVERSEAS CONTAINER LINE LIMITED, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL IN PART

Plaintiff, Al Good, dba Castle Rock ("Plainitff"), filed the instant discovery motion on April 1, 2008. The matter was heard on August 8, 2008, before the Honorable Gary S. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge. Judith Harless appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Eric Danoff appeared on behalf of Defendant, Orient Overseas Container Line Limited ("Defendant" or "OOCL").

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a complaint on October 11, 2006. Plaintiff is a grower of grapes and markets the grapes in the United States and internationally. In 2004, Plaintiff alleges he entered into a contract with Defendant for the ongoing transport of some grapes to overseas markets. In the Fall of 2005, Plaintiff alleges that 30 containers of grapes were shipped to arrive in England between October 17, 2005 and November 9, 2005. Plaintiff alleges that in each instance, the containerized cargo were defective including dehydration, bruising, waterberry, shatter, and sunken cap stems. Plaintiff alleges these conditions were caused or exacerbated by excessive temperatures in transit and/or transport of the grapes in a commercially unacceptable manner. Accordingly, Plaintiff alleges three causes of action 1) liability based on a violation of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 46 USC § 1300 et seq., 2) common carrier negligence, and 3) breach of contract. Plaintiff is seeking declaratory relief, statutory, compensatory and consequential damages, interest, and costs.

On or about November 12, 2007, Plaintiff served written discovery requests on Defendant including a Request for Production of Documents (hereinafter, "Request"). OOCL served Plaintiff with responses and some documents in February 2008. On April 1, 2008, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel. The motion was stayed while the parties continued to meet and confer. OOCL provided written responses to the Request on or about April 22, 2008, and also made a series of document productions. However, there are four remaining Requests that are in dispute in this case.

DISCOVERY AT ISSUE

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that a party "may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter."

At issue is discovery relating to Plaintiff's Request Numbers 11, 16, 17, and 24.

REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 11: All handwritten notes regarding the shipment of freight by the Plaintiff in 2005 with OOCL.

Response: OOCL objects that the request is vague, ambiguous, overly broad and calls for irrelevant records.

Plaintiff argues that he is entitled to obtain handwritten notes regarding any shipments made by the OOCL in 2005. Defendant argues that this request is over broad and could include notes that refers to circumstances not relevant to this litigation. Additionally, it is impossible to determine what a "note" is regarding shipment.

The court agrees that the request as phrased is over broad, but also agrees that Plaintiff is entitled to obtain handwritten notes regarding the shipment at issue. Accordingly, Defendant shall provide Plaintiff with a response to the Request as modified within 30 days

"All handwritten notes relating to the shipment at issue in this case which were created between July 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005 by individuals working at ...


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