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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. California Psychiatric Transitions

June 18, 2009

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA PSYCHIATRIC TRANSITIONS, DEFENDANT.



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

ORDER REGARDING DISCOVERY DISAGREEMENTS (Docs. 38 and 52)

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (hereinafter, "EEOC" or "Commission") filed a Motion to Schedule a Hearing Date Regarding Discovery Disagreements on May 4, 2009. (Doc. 38). EEOC and California Psychiatric Transitions Inc., (hereinafter, "CPT" for "Defendant") filed a Joint Statement Regarding Discovery Disagreements (hereinafter, "Joint Statement") on June 2, 2009. (Doc. 52). The Court held a hearing on June 5, 2009. Dana Johnson personally appeared on behalf of the EEOC. Henry Truszkowski personally appeared on behalf of the Defendant. Having considered the pleadings and the arguments of counsel, each of the parties' requests are GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

II. Background

This case is proceeding on a complaint filed by the EEOC against CPT. The EEOC alleges that charging parties Valerie Soares (aka Valerie Shaw) and Mariel Somera (hereinafter "Charging Party Soares," "Charging Party Somera," and collectively, "Charging Parties"), as well as thirteen other women were subjected to unlawful harassment. The EEOC alleges that the harassment was perpetrated mainly by the supervisor of mental health workers, Larry Fuentes, and to a lesser degree by CPT's Director, James Drayton (hereinafter, "Drayton"), as well as various other supervisors and non-supervisory employees. The EEOC alleges that Charging Party Soares was discharged in retaliation for having engaged in protected activity.

The EEOC first became aware of the alleged violations at CPT on April 26, 2004, when Charging Party Soares filed a charge of discrimination alleging that she and other women had been sexually harassed. On September 27, 2004, the EEOC received a similar charge from Mariel Somera. The EEOC provided CPT with notice of the charges and commenced an investigation. The EEOC investigator, Malinda Tuazon, conducted interviews and gathered documents. In the course of her investigation, she created an administrative file for each charge. After the investigations were completed, the EEOC determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination had occurred, and sent letters of determination (hereinafter, "LOD") to CPT. After the parties were unable to resolve the matter, EEOC notified CPT that it deemed conciliation efforts to have failed and filed the instant lawsuit on September 13, 2006, alleging violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).

Pending before the Court are the parties' discovery disputes contained in a joint statement filed on June 2, 2009. There are three discovery disputes at issue in this case. First, the EEOC moves to compel CPT to respond to a request for production of documents related to CPT's financial condition. CPT has objected to this request for production and requests the motion be denied. Second, Defendants request that they be allowed to take the deposition of EEOC investigator Malinda Tuazon and of EEOC's Rule 30(b)(6) designee. EEOC requests that the Court issue an order prohibiting the taking of the depositions. Finally, Defendants request that the Court enforce a subpoena duces tecum that requires Daisy Iilano, M.D., to produce the medical/psychological records of Shirley Kennedy, one of plaintiffs in this case. EEOC requests that the Court quash the subpoena.

III. Discussion

The Scope of Discovery Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) establishes the scope of discovery and states in pertinent part: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, non privileged, that is relevant to any party's claim or defense, 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. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Id.

Thus, discovery is appropriate of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. "The party who resists discovery has the burden to show that discovery should not be allowed, and has the burden of clarifying, explaining, and supporting its objections." Oakes v. Halvorsen Marine Ltd., 179 F.R.D 281, 283 (C.D. Cal. 1998); Nestle Foods Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 135 F.R.D. 101, 104 (D. N.J. 1990).

A. EEOC's request for Financial Documents

On February 28, 2007, the EEOC propounded its first request for the production of documents which included the following

Request for Production No. 8:

Produce any and all documents on the issue of each of the defendant's current financial condition, financial condition, and projected financial condition. This includes but is not limited to the following

a. Balance Sheets for the years 2002 through the present.

b. Statements of Income for the years 2002 through the present.

c. Federal Tax Returns for the years 2002 through the present.

d. Profit and Loss Statements for the years 2002 through the present.

e. Statement of Cash Flow for the years 2002 through the present.

f. Schedules of General Administrative Expenses for the years 2002 through the present.

On April 17, 2007, CPT responded to the EEOC's request for Production No. 8 as follows: Response Request for Production No. 8: Objection. The request seeks information which constitutes private, financial information, including tax information, and is protected from ...


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