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Holly Artis, et al v. John Deere Landscapes

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT Northern District of California

November 8, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Maria-Elena James Chief United States Magistrate Judge


[Docket No. 73]

On October 28, 2011, the parties filed a joint letter regarding a discovery dispute concerning Production of Documents, wherein Plaintiff sought: 14 "[a]ny DOCUMENTS reflecting, listing, or RELATING TO annual incumbency, turnover, 15 compensation, benefit and pay rates, and vacancy fill rates by gender for sales, customer service, and No. 29 of Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for shipping and receiving positions, nationally and/or in each division and region." Letter, Dkt. No. 73.

Defendants object to production of any discovery on the incumbency, turnover, compensation or 18 benefit and pay rates for JDL. Plaintiffs now seek to compel production of all documents and 19 electronic data relating to these categories.

20 In support of their request to compel production, Plaintiffs contend that the information 21 regarding compensation, turnover, and benefit and pay rates is relevant to the computation of 22 damages for Plaintiffs and the putative class. Id. at 2. Specifically, Plaintiffs assert that discovery 23 regarding gender incumbency in class positions is relevant to show: (1) an imbalance in the number 24 of females in class positions; and (2) that potential female applicants are deterred from applying by 25 Deere's practices. Id. 26 Defendants, however, maintain that the discovery is irrelevant to any class certification issues 27 that are now before the Court. Id. With respect to Plaintiffs' position that the discovery is relevant to 28 damages, Defendants counter that "while the method of calculating class member damages may be 1 relevant to the appropriateness of class certification, the specific damages awards to which each 2 putative class member would argue she is entitled have no bearing on whether class certification is 3 appropriate." Id. at 3. As to information relating to incumbency, Defendants argue that such 4 information goes to the merits of Plaintiffs' claim, not to any of the certification issues, and in any 5 event, is beyond of the scope of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, which alleges claims on behalf of 6 external applicants. Id. Further, Defendants argue that because the information Plaintiffs seek 7 implicates the privacy rights of third-parties, Plaintiffs must show that there is a compelling public 8 need for such discovery. Id. at 4. Finally, Defendants contend that RFP No. 29 does not seek 9 production of electronic data. Id. 10 The Court has carefully considered the parties' arguments and agrees with Defendants that 11 Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the discovery sought is relevant to class certification. 12 Moreover, Plaintiffs have not responded to Defendants' objection on the ground of privacy.

Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs' motion to compel . After the


appropriate. The undersigned further advises Defendants that because they are on notice that 14 Court issues its order on Plaintiffs' class certification motion, Plaintiffs may renew their motion to 15 compel production of discovery relating to incumbency, turnover, benefits, and pay rates, if Plaintiffs will be seeking such information should the class claims be certified, Defendants will be 18 expected to expeditiously produce such discovery -- including responsive electronic data -- should the 19 Court grant Plaintiffs' renewed motion.



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