The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Nita L. Stormes U.S. Magistrate Judge United States District Court
ORDER DETERMINING JOINT MOTIONS FOR DETERMINATION OF DISCOVERY DISPUTE, DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO COMPEL [Doc. Nos. 76-89]
The parties filed 14 joint motions for determination of a discovery dispute. Through the motions, plaintiff Vlastimil Sajfr seeks to compel defendant BBG Communications, Inc. (BBG) to provide further responses to Requests for Admission (RFAs) and Requests for Production (RFPs). For the following reasons, the court sustains certain of BBG's objections to the discovery requests, and denies Sajfr's motions to compel without prejudice.
On June 30, 2011, BBG filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing, among other issues, that BBG is entitled to summary judgment because it is a wrongly-named defendant, and that there is no alter ego relationship between BBG and BBG Global, A.G. (Global). [Dkt. No. 45.] Sajfr filed his opposition to that motion November 10, 2011, arguing that there are enough disputed facts to defeat BBG's motion for summary judgment. [Dkt. No. 90.] The motion is set for hearing before Judge Battaglia on December 16, 2011.
Meanwhile, at least partly to alleviate some of the concerns raised in the summary judgment motion, Sajfr filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint to add Global as a defendant. [Dkt. No. 53.] BBG filed its opposition October 7, 2011, arguing that amendment is improper and that there is no personal jurisdiction over Global in this district. [Dkt. No. 58.] That motion is also set for hearing before Judge Battaglia on December 16, 2011.
The sole issue Sajfr raises in all 14 discovery motions is that BBG should supplement its responses with information from Global and B-Tel Communications (B-Tel) because those companies are under the control of BBG. BBG responds that those entities are not under its control and thus it cannot respond to discovery on their behalf. BBG also argues the merits of certain of its other objections stated in the responses. Sajfr does not address those other objections.
Motions to Compel Responses to RFAs.
Sajfr served seven sets of RFAs to BBG for a total of 163 RFAs. In those requests, Sajfr asks for information that relates to the allegedly-affiliated Global and B-Tel companies. Sajfr argues BBG has control over these entities because it admitted that the same family trusts own BBG and Global, and that the same people who work for BBG also work for Global and B-Tel. Sajfr also points out that BBG has obtained--without using subpoenas--declarations from employees of Global and B-Tel (submitted in support of BBG's summary judgment motion), further showing that those entities are under a common ownership and control by BBG.
BBG argues that Global and B-Tel are not affiliates of, nor under the control of, BBG, so it cannot respond to discovery on their behalf. BBG further argues the merits of its objections to the RFAs, namely that the requests are irrelevant and that there is an excessive number of RFAs, in violation of the local rules.
The Civil Local Rules set this limit on RFAs:
Limitation on Number of Requests for Admission. No party will serve on any other party requests for admission which, including subparagraphs, number more than twenty-five requests for admission without leave of court. Any party desiring to serve additional requests for admission must submit to the court a written memorandum setting forth the proposed additional requests for admission and the reasons establishing good cause for their use.
The court finds that Sajfr violated the Local Rules in propounding more than 25 RFAs per party without first seeking leave from the court. The court, therefore, sustains BBG's objection based on excessive number. Sajfr shall ...