Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Stephen D. Aho, An Individual, Individually and On Behalf of Similarly Situated Persons v. Americredit Financial Services

January 13, 2012

STEPHEN D. AHO, AN INDIVIDUAL, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF SIMILARLY SITUATED PERSONS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICREDIT FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., D.B.A. ACF FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., A BUSINESS ENTITY FORM UNKNOWN,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara L. Major United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION AND RESPONSES TO SPECIAL ) INTERROGATORIES [ECF Nos. 118 & 119]

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Production (ECF No. 118) and Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Further Responses to Special Interrogatories (ECF No. 119). Pursuant to this Court's Orders setting a briefing schedule (ECF Nos. 113 & 122), Defendant timely filed its opposition (ECF No. 126) and Plaintiff timely filed his reply (ECF No. 128).

Having considered all of the briefing and supporting documents presented, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's motions to compel.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This class action arises from Defendant's alleged violations of the requirements of California's Business and Professions Code and the Automobile Sales Finance Act ("ASFA"), among other laws, "by failing to provide required notices and rights to reinstatement and redemption for California consumers regarding vehicles [Defendant] AmeriCredit repossessed." ECF No. 1 at 2. Plaintiff is seeking a determination that Defendant's notices of its intent to dispose of the repossessed vehicles ("NOIs") failed to comply with the ASFA, and that Defendant consequently lost the right to assert deficiency claims. Id. Among other forms of relief, Plaintiff is seeking restitution based on the amount of money each class member paid on Defendant's invalid deficiency claims. Id.

On November 8, 2011, Judge Sabraw issued an Order certifying the following class under Rule 23(b)(2):

All persons who were sent an NOI by AmeriCredit to an address in California at any time from March 18, 2005 through May 15, 2009, following the repossession or voluntary surrender of a motor vehicle, who were assessed a deficiency balance following the disposition of the vehicle, and against who AmeriCredit has asserted, collected, or attempted to collect any portion of the deficiency balance. The class excludes persons whose obligations have been discharged in bankruptcy, persons against whom AmeriCredit has obtained final judgments in replevin actions, persons whose contracts include arbitration clauses that prohibit class membership, and persons who received NOIs that denied them the right to reinstate.

ECF No. 98 at 20. Pursuant to Judge Sabraw's Order, the above described class is "entitled to pursue all forms of requested relief, with the exception of statutory damages under the Rosenthal Act and restitution of any amounts paid toward a deficiency balance." Id. Judge Sabraw also "certifie[d] under Rule 23(b)(3) a subclass consisting of all those who made a payment toward a deficiency and are therefore entitled to restitution." Id.

On November 10, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Rosenthal Act Claim (ECF No. 105), and on December 14, 2011, Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (ECF No. 117), both of which are currently pending.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure generally allow for broad discovery, authorizing parties to obtain discovery regarding "any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Also, "[f]or good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action." Id. Relevant information for discovery purposes includes any information "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence," and need not be admissible at trial to be discoverable. Id. There is also no requirement that the information sought directly relate to a particular issue in the case; rather, relevance "encompass[es] any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 354 (1978) (citation omitted). District courts have broad discretion to determine relevancy for discovery purposes, see Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002), and "[f]or good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action," Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). District courts also have broad discretion to limit discovery to prevent its abuse. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2) (instructing that courts may limit discovery where it is "unreasonably cumulative or duplicative," "obtain[able] from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive," or where its burden or expense "outweighs its likely benefit").

A party may serve interrogatories that relate to any matter within the scope of Rule 26(b). Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a). "The grounds for objecting to an interrogatory must be stated with specificity," and any interrogatory not objected to must be answered fully in writing under oath. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b). Similarly, a party may request the production of any document within the scope of Rule 26(b). Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a). "For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state an objection to the request, including the reasons." Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(2)(B). The responding party is responsible for all items in "the responding party's possession, custody, or control." Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a)(1). However, actual possession, custody or control is not required; rather, "[a] party may be ordered to produce a document in the possession of a non-party entity if that party has a legal right to obtain the document or has control over the entity who is in possession of the document." Soto v. City of Concord, 162 F.R.D. 603, 619 (N.D. Cal.1995).

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37, "a party may move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery." Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1). The party seeking to compel discovery has the burden of establishing that its request satisfies the relevance requirement of Rule 26. Soto, 162 F.R.D. at 610. Thereafter, the party opposing discovery has the burden of showing that the discovery should be prohibited, and the burden of "clarifying, explaining, and supporting its objections." DIRECTV, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.