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Wellens v. Daiichi Sankyo Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 5, 2014

SARA WELLENS, Plaintiff(s),
v.
DAIICHI SANKYO INC, Defendant(s)

ORDER RE: JOINT DISCOVERY LETTER [DOCKET NO. 64]

DONNA M. RYU, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is a joint discovery letter filed by Plaintiffs and Defendant Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. [Docket No. 64.] Plaintiffs move to compel Defendant to produce the names and contact information for certain of Defendant's sales employees. A hearing was held on the letter on February 27, 2014. For the reasons stated below and at the hearing, Plaintiffs' motion to compel is granted in part.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Allegations

Defendant manufactures and sells cardiovascular, diabetes, and metastatic melanoma therapies and pharmaceuticals. Compl. [Docket No. 1] ¶ 1. Plaintiffs are current and former female sales employees of Defendant. Id. ¶¶ 14-19. In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs bring class and collective claims alleging violations of Title VII, California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Equal Pay Act, the California Equal Pay Act, and the California Unfair Business Practices Act, in their individual capacities, and on behalf of certain current, former, and future female sales employees of Defendant. See generally Compl.

Plaintiffs aver that the putative class consists of approximately 1, 500 female sales employees. Letter at 3. Plaintiffs list approximately ninety of these putative class members in their Initial Disclosures. Id. Eighteen putative class members have already opted into this case. Id.

B. Class-Related Data Produced to Date

On May 8 and 23, 2013, Plaintiffs requested personnel data regarding Defendants' sales employees, including their names, contact numbers, and addresses, as well as demographic information (e.g., gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, and number of children) and employment history (e.g. dates of employment and termination; job titles, functions, and descriptions; and pay and benefits information). Letter Ex. A, Request for Production of Documents Nos. 1, 31. On July 22, 2013, Defendants produced the requested information except for the names and contact information of the sales employees. Defendant anonymized the information by giving each employee a unique identifier in lieu of using his or her name. Plaintiffs now move for the production of putative class members'[1] names and contact information-specifically, Plaintiffs request that the court "compel the production of class members' names and contact information that is linked to Defendant's [previously-produced anonymous] data." Letter at 4.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides that a party may obtain discovery "regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). "Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). "Relevancy, for the purposes of discovery, is defined broadly, although it is not without ultimate and necessary boundaries." Gonzales v. Google, Inc., 234 F.R.D. 674, 679-80 (N.D. Cal. 2006). "[T]he party opposing discovery has the burden of showing that discovery should not be allowed, and also has the burden of clarifying, explaining and supporting its objections with competent evidence." Louisiana P. Corp. v. Money Mkt. 1 Institutional Inv. Dealer, 285 F.R.D. 481, 485 (N.D. Cal. 2012).

"District courts have broad discretion to control the class certification process, and whether or not discovery will be permitted lies within the sound discretion of the trial court." Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 571 F.3d 935, 942 (9th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs argue that even though Defendant has provided employment information that is suitable for statistical analysis, Plaintiffs nevertheless require the names and contact information of the female sales employees. Plaintiffs intend to contact these putative class members for investigatory purposes to gather evidence in support of class certification. Plaintiffs note that anecdotal evidence of their personal experiences is important to bring "the cold [statistical proof] convincingly to life." Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324, 339 (1977) (Title VII class action). Letter at 2.

Defendant resists the production of the putative class member contact information for several reasons, ...


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