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Cabrales v. Aerotek, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 8, 2018

Gomez Cabrales
v.
Aerotek, Inc.

          Present: The Honorable KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

         Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order (1) Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion to Compel Responses to Requests for Production [Dkt. 17]; (2) Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion to Compel Further Responses to Interrogatories [Dkt. 19]; and (3) Vacating the Hearings set for May 10, 2018

         On April 19, 2018, Defendant Aerotek, Inc. (“Defendant”) filed Motions to Compel Plaintiff Myrna Gomez Cabrales (“Plaintiff”) to provide further responses to (1) Requests for Production, Set One, Nos. 15, 16, 26, 29, and 30; and (2) Interrogatories, Set One, Nos. 10, 12, 14, 16, and 21. ECF Docket Nos. (“Dkts.”) 17, 19. Plaintiff also requests an award of $4, 900.50 as reasonable attorney's fees incurred in bringing each Motion to Compel. Id.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendant's Motions to Compel and DENIES Defendant's request for reasonable attorney's fees incurred in bringing both Motions to Compel. In addition, the Court hereby VACATES the hearings set for May 10, 2018.

         I.

         RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of the alleged wrongful termination of Plaintiff on or about April 7, 2017. Dkt. 1-1, ¶ 15. On June 20, 2017, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a Complaint against Defendant in San Bernardino Superior Court setting forth the following causes of action: (1) Disability Discrimination; (2) Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process; (3) Failure to Accommodate a Disability; (4) Retaliation for Exercising Rights to Take Protected Leave in Violation of California Family Rights Act/FEHA; (5) Retaliation under the FEHA; (6) Failure to Prevent Disability Discrimination; and (7) Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy. Dkt. 1-1.

         On July 28, 2017, Defendant filed an Answer. Dkt. 1-2. On July 31, 2017, Defendant removed the action to this Court. Dkt. 1.

         On October 2, 2017, Defendant served Requests for Production of Documents, Set One, on Plaintiff. Dkt. 17-1, Declaration of Michael S. Kun in support of Defendant's Motion to Compel Production (“Kun RFP Decl.”) ¶ 2, Ex. A. On October 2, 2017, Defendant also served Interrogatories, Set One, on Plaintiff. Dkt. 19-1, Declaration of Michael S. Kun in support of Defendant's Motion to Compel Interrogatories (“Kun ROG Decl.”) ¶ 2, Ex. A.

         On October 13, 2017, the Court issued a Scheduling Order setting a discovery cut-off of June 11, 2018, a dispositive motion hearing cut-off of August 20, 2018, and a jury trial for October 16, 2018. Dkt. 11.

         On November 13, 2017, Plaintiff served responses to Defendant's Requests for Production, Set One. Kun RFP Decl., ¶ 3, Ex. B. On November 13, 2017, Plaintiff also served responses to Defendant's Interrogatories, Set One. Kun ROG Decl., ¶ 3, Ex. B.

         On December 6, 2017, Defendant's counsel sent Plaintiff's counsel a letter setting forth the deficiencies in Plaintiff's responses to the Requests for Production and Interrogatories. Kun RFP Decl., ¶ 4; Kun ROG Decl., ¶ 4.

         On December 15, 2017, counsel for both parties met and conferred and discussed the Requests for Production and Interrogatories that are the subject of the instant Motions. Kun RFP Decl., ¶¶ 5-7; Kun ROG Decl., ¶¶ 5-6.

         On January 26, 2018, Plaintiff served supplemental responses to the Requests for Production. Kun RFP Decl., ¶ 8, Ex. E. On January 26, 2018, Plaintiff served supplemental responses to the Interrogatories. Id., ¶ 9, Ex. F.

         On March 30, 2018, Defendant served Defendant's portion of the Joint Stipulations in support of the instant Motions on Plaintiff. Dkt. 19-5, Declaration of Michael Velarde in support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Compel Interrogatories (“Velarde ROG Decl.”) ¶ 3.

         On April 7, 2018, Plaintiff served further supplemental responses to Interrogatories, Set One, Nos. 10, 11, 14, and 16. Id., ¶ 4, Ex. 1. That same day, Plaintiff also served additional responsive documents. Dkt. 17-5, Declaration of Michael Velarde in support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Compel Production (“Velarde RFP Decl.”) ¶ 2, Ex. 1.

         On April 19, 2018, Defendant filed the instant Motions to Compel with Joint Stipulations pursuant to Local Rule 37-2. Dkts. 17, 18, 19, 20. On April 26, 2018, Defendants filed Supplemental Briefs in support of their Motions to Compel. Dkts. 21, 22. The Motions thus stand submitted.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure effective December 1, 2015 emphasize that “[t]he parties and the court have a collective responsibility to consider the proportionality of all discovery and consider it in resolving discovery disputes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory committee notes (2015 amendments). Salazar v. McDonald's Corp., No. 14-CV-02096-RS (MEJ), 2016 WL 736213, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2016) (noting there is “a shared responsibility on all the parties to consider the factors bearing on proportionality before propounding discovery requests, issuing responses and objections, or raising discovery disputes before the courts”). Moreover, “Rule 1 is amended to emphasize that just as the court should construe and administer these rules to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action, so the parties share the responsibility to employ the rules in the same way.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1 advisory committee notes (2015 amendments).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) provides that parties may obtain discovery regarding:

any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information “need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id. A court “must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed” if “(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).

         “[G]eneral or boilerplate objections such as ‘overly burdensome and harassing' are improper - especially when a party fails to submit any evidentiary declarations supporting such objections.” A. Farber & Partners, Inc. v. Garber, 234 F.R.D. 186, 188 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (faulting defendant for making “boilerplate objections to almost every single request for production, including broad relevancy objections, objections of ‘overly burdensome and ...


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