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.

Heath v. Google Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

February 22, 2017

ROBERT HEATH and CHERYL FILLEKES, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
GOOGLE, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER RE AMENDED DISCOVERY DISPUTE JOINT REPORT NO. 1 AND DISCOVERY DISPUTE JOINT REPORT NO. 2 RE: DKT. NOS. 100, 101

          HOWARD R. LLOYD United States Magistrate Judge.

         Amended Discovery Dispute Joint Report (DDJR) No. 1

         Plaintiffs Robert Heath (“Heath”) and Cheryl Fillekes (“Fillekes”) seek an order compelling Google to respond to their Requests for Production of Documents (“RFPs”) numbers 6, 9, and 11. The time period specified is January 1, 2010 to present. The information sought concerns Google and its alleged age discrimination against applicants and employees. Both of the plaintiffs were applicants who were not hired. Fillekes progressed to having an in-person interview. Heath did not get further than a telephone interview. They started out with the same attorney, but later Heath obtained separate counsel. Fillekes moved for conditional certification of an “opt-in” class which narrowly defined its members as those over the age of 40, who applied for engineering jobs in three classifications, who were interviewed in person, but who were not offered employment.

         Because plaintiffs allege that Google engaged in a company-wide pattern and practice of age discrimination against both applicants and employees, they contend that almost everything that has any connection with Google and claimed age discrimination, whether it pertains to applicants or employees in any position, is fair game for discovery. RFPs 6, 9, and 11 seek that very broad discovery. Google balked and, except for one category of documents, said “no.” Thereupon, plaintiffs filed DDJRs about this and other discovery grievances. The court denied, without prejudice, each DDJR because of procedural defects. (Dkt. 62). In its order, the court suggested that plaintiffs should consider dialing back the scope and breadth of their discovery requests and that defendant should not be so stingy in discovery responses that it might be seen as stonewalling.

         Now before the court is Amended DDJR #1, which again seeks company-wide discovery about age discrimination against Google applicants and employees. Plaintiffs propose to narrow RFPs 6, 9, and 11 to only seek:

Request 6: (1) all complaints lodged with the EEOC (or comparable state agency) regarding age discrimination by applicants or employees, any response by Google, any correspondence between Google and the EEOC (or state agency), all documents produced, and all documents reflecting any resolution of the complaint, (2) all complaints filed in court, any answer by Google, all expert reports prepared as part of the case (including materials relied upon by the expert, all deposition and trial transcripts, and all documents reflecting any resolution of the case.
Request 9: for any federal or state government investigation of Google regarding its hiring practices and/or age discrimination, all communications between Google and the government, all documents produced to the government, all documents reflecting testimony, and all documents reflecting any resolution of the investigation.
Request 11: all briefs filed with the court in the Reid case, as well as all documents produced in discovery, including all expert reports and any evidence relied upon by the expert, all deposition and trial transcripts, and all documents reflecting any resolution of the case.

(Dkt. 101, Amended DDJR No. 1 at 5:19-6:6). In support of their position, plaintiffs cite cases which say discovery can be broad, but none offer specific guidance on the appropriate scope of discovery when (as will be discussed below), a collective action has been conditionally certified as to a relatively small subset of job applicants in a case where the plaintiffs allege a company-wide policy and practice of age discrimination against applicants and employees alike. The defendant, which also offers no helpful case authority, complains about the scope and breadth of what plaintiffs' want, grumbles about relevance and burden, and urges that determining the permissible scope of discovery should wait until the presiding judge certifies a class or not.

         Some months have gone by since Amended DDJR #1 was filed, and the playing field has changed. The presiding judge has now conditionally certified a “Fillekes class” defined as:

All individuals who: interviewed in-person for any Site Reliability Engineer (“SRE”), Software Engineer (“SWE”), or Systems Engineer (“SysEng”) position with Google, Inc. (“Google”) in the United States; were age 40 or older at the time of the interview; and were refused employment by Google; and received notice that they were refused employment on August 28, 2014 through October 5, 2016.

(Dkt. 121 at 6).

         Heath is not a member of the Fillekes class, and the presiding judge rebuffed each of his attempts to secure an order certifying a “Heath class.” Heath, apparently, is now on his own.

         The court here is dealing with discovery, not with whether what the discovery discloses is admissible at trial. This court does not believe that the class definition should cabin what is discoverable. It seems reasonable to allow the plaintiffs to try to prove their claims by demonstrating, possibly, that there is a company-wide policy and practice of age discrimination, and ...


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.