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Danyell Murphy, et al v. Target Corporation

July 12, 2011

DANYELL MURPHY, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TARGET CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. William McCurine, Jr. U.S. Magistrate Judge United States District Court

ORDER RE: DISCOVERY ISSUES

Background

Plaintiff, Danyell Murphy, brings this putative class action lawsuit on behalf of cashiers at Target Corporation alleging that Target violated California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 7-2001 section 14(a) which states: All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats. Plaintiff alleges a violation of Wage Order 7-2001 constitutes a violation of Labor Code section 1198 which, in turn, permits Plaintiff to bring an action pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 to recover civil penalties. [Doc. No. 1, Exh. A (Complaint).]

On March 23, 2011, the Court held a status conference. Following the conference, the Court ordered briefing regarding outstanding discovery issues. [Doc. No. 52.] The Court now addresses those issues below.

What Plaintiff Wants

Plaintiff seeks a Court order to compel Target to provide responses to the following discovery requests:

(A) Interrogatory No. 1: IDENTIFY each position in Target's stores in the State of California that involves the operation of a cash register (regardless of the amount of time that position spends operating the cash register). (IDENTIFY means state the title of the position and the amount of time, on average, an employee in that position spends operating a cash register per week. For example, an answer might be: "store manager 1% of the time; assistant manager 20% fo the time; cashier 90% of the time.") (See Exhibit 1.)

(B) Interrogatory No. 7: IDENTIFY each person who held the position of cashier (including without limitation the photo lab team member position and any similar position that regularly involves the operation of a cash register) in the State of California and, at any time between May 19, 2008 and the present, operated a cash register while in a seated position. (IDENTIFY means state the name, home address, and home telephone number of that person; the store(s) where that person worked; the position(s) that person held; the date(s) that person operated a cash register while seated; and the reason(s) that person operated the cash register while seated. For example, an answer might be: "Joe Smith, Store 1234, Cashier, operated a cash register while seated between January 1, 2009 and February 1, 2009 because he had a broken leg.") (See Exhibit 1.)

(C) Request for Production No. 18: Any and all documents reflecting any instance during the relevant time period in California in which a Cashier operated a cash register while seated. (See Exhibit 3.)

(D) Request for Production No. 19: Any and all documents reflecting any request by any Cashier for a seat during the relevant time period, including any documents reflecting Target's response to that request. (See Exhibit 3)

(E) Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) Deposition Topic 6: The identities of those Target employees in California who, at any time between January 1, 2000 and the present, operated a cash register from a seated position. (See Exhibit 4)

(F) Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) Deposition Topic 7: The facts and circumstances surrounding any situation in which a Target employee in California between January 1, 2000 and the present operated a cash register from a seated position. (See Exhibit 4) (Plaintiff's Letter Brief pg. 1-2.)

Plaintiff contends the responses they seek bear on the issue of whether the nature of the work of Target cashiers reasonably permits the use of a seat. Id. at 3. Plaintiff seeks the identities of injured or disabled employees which Target afforded the use of a seat so the employees could perform their duties. Id. Plaintiff asserts the testimony of these employees will show the extent to which an employee can perform essential cashier duties while seated. Id. Plaintiff has also designated an ergonomics expert to testify on this issue. Id. Nevertheless, Plaintiff contends the testimony of the actual employees will benefit the Court. Id.

Plaintiff further asserts the requested production will only minimally burden Target. Id. Plaintiff proposes Target email each of its 250 California stores to ask the Human Resources Team Leader ("HRTL"), the individual ostensibly charged with determining seat accommodation, to identify and review the personnel files of employees that used seats. Id. Additionally, Plaintiff describes the burden on Target to produce the requested information as inconsequential compared to the amount ...


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