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Hardie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 20, 2013

DOMINIC HARDIE, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

ORDER REGARDING JOINT MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF DISCOVERY DISPUTE [ECF No. 98]

DAVID H. BARTICK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff and Defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association (the "NCAA") filed a Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute on November 1, 2013. (ECF No. 98.) After reviewing the Joint Motion, the Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff's request to compel, as outlined below.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brings this action under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, et seq. Plaintiff alleges the NCAA implemented a coaching certification policy that unlawfully discriminates against African Americans in places of public accommodation in violation of Title II. Plaintiff filed his Complaint on February 13, 2013. (ECF No. 1.) On March 7, 2013, the NCAA filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 9.) On March 14, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, seeking to enjoin the NCAA from enforcing the coaching certification policy, which prevents all persons with felony convictions from coaching at NCAA events. (ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Expedite Discovery. (ECF No. 19.)

On April 5, 2013, the Court granted, in part, and denied in part, Plaintiff's request for expedited discovery. (ECF No. 46.) Plaintiff was permitted to serve limited discovery on the NCAA prior to the Rule 26(f) conference.[1] Thereafter, Plaintiff served his First Set of Requests for Production of Documents, which are the subject of the instant discovery dispute.

On May 30, 2013, the NCAA's Motion to Dismiss was denied (ECF No. 66), and on June 21, 2013, Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction was denied. (ECF No. 84.) Following the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference on July 31, 2013, the parties held the Rule 26(f) conference. On September 13, 2013, the Court issued a Scheduling Order, setting forth the pretrial deadlines, including a discovery cutoff. (ECF No. 97.)

II. DISCUSSION

The document requests at issue sought:

• All Documents concerning or relating to the number of coaches of high school age basketball teams who were denied certification under the 2011 Certification Rules, by year, race, and ethnicity.
• All Documents that You relied upon to determine certification of coaches of high school age basketball teams between January 1, 2005 and the present.

(ECF No. 98 at 1.)

In response, the NCAA produced spreadsheets that list the coaching certification applicants. However, the personally identifiable information of the applicants, including last names and addresses were redacted. Plaintiff now moves to compel unredacted versions of the documents that were produced. Plaintiff argues the document requests call for the applicants' personally identifiable information; that production of the information is relevant to the issues at the core of this litigation; and that the privacy interests of the third party applicants should not bar production. The NCAA counters that the requested information falls outside the scope of the document requests; that the information is not relevant to Plaintiff's claim under Title II; and that Plaintiff has not shown a compelling need for the information that is strong enough to outweigh the third parties' privacy interests.

1. Legal Standard

The threshold requirement for discoverability under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is whether the information sought is "relevant to any party's claim or defense." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). In addition, "[f]or 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 the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Id. The relevance standard is thus commonly recognized as one that is necessarily broad in scope in order "to encompass any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that ...


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