United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER FOLLOWING DISCOVERY HEARING
WILLIAM V. GALLO, Magistrate Judge.
On July 23, 2014, Plaintiff The Sherwin-Williams Company (hereinafter "Plaintiff"), notified the Court of a discovery dispute involving Defendants' JB Collision Services, Inc., JJT, Inc., and John Tyczki (hereinafter "Defendants") responses to Plaintiff's written discovery requests. Plaintiff's counsel represented to the Court that counsel had met and conferred telephonically.
On July 24, 2014, this Court Ordered the parties to file a Joint Statement for Determination of Discovery Dispute ("Joint Statement") by July 31, 2014, at 12:00 p.m. (Doc. No. 44 at 2.) The Court set a Discovery Hearing to be held on August 8, 2014, at 7:30 a.m. Id . In compliance with the Court's Order, the parties filed a Joint Statement on July 31, 2014. (Doc. No. 45.) On August 8, 2014, at 7:30 a.m., the Court convened a Discovery Hearing. Mr. Jeffrey Wilson and Mr. Michael Murray appeared on behalf of Plaintiff, and Mr. John Nordlund appeared on behalf of Defendants.
A. DISPUTE NO. 1 - CUSTOMER INFORMATION REDACTED
Plaintiff argues that Defendants have produced numerous discovery documents such as repair orders and invoices, and they have redacted the identity of vehicle owners, insurers, and other third parties. (Doc. No. 45 at 2.) Plaintiff contends that the redacted information is highly relevant for many reasons, including Plaintiff's need to investigate the circumstances that led to Defendants' submission of warranty claims on behalf of vehicle owners. Id.
Defendants claim that they redacted the identifying information because they are concerned with their customer's third-party privacy rights in their financial, ownership, insurance, and contact information. (Doc. No. 45 at 2.) Defendants also argue that they are concerned with potential third-party liability for disclosure of private information without a Court Order. Id.
2. COURT'S RULING
Defendants' objections are overruled. Defendants shall respond to Plaintiff's requests.
The Court finds that Plaintiff has the right to the identity of the vehicle owners that Defendants claim had issues with Plaintiff's paint products, which is relevant to the claims asserted in Defendants' Second Amended Counterclaim ("SACC"). (Doc. No. 36.)
1. RELEVANCE OF THE REQUESTED INFORMATION
The purpose of discovery is to "remove surprise from trial preparation so the parties can obtain evidence necessary to evaluate and resolve their dispute." U.S. ex rel. O'Connell v. Chapman University , 245 F.R.D. 646, 648 (C.D.Cal.2007) (internal quotation omitted). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) offers guidance as to the scope of discovery permitted in an action:
Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense... Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears ...