United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE RE PLAINTIFF'S
DOCUMENTS REQUESTS TO APPLE RE: DKT. NOS. 90, 100
VIRGINIA K. DEMARCHI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Raja Kannan moves to compel the production of documents from
defendant Apple, Inc. (“Apple”) in support of his
claims that Apple discriminated against him. Dkt. No.
90.Apple objects that many of requested
documents are not relevant to Mr. Kannan's claims and
asserts that it has completed its production as to other
requested documents. Dkt. No. 100. The Court held a hearing on
this dispute on July 9, 2019. Dkt. No. 103.
Court grants in part and denies in part Mr. Kannan's
motion to compel.
Kannan brings this action against his former employer, Apple,
asserting the following claims: (1) discrimination based on
perceived disability in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101
et seq.; (2) discrimination based on relationship to a person
with a disability in violation of the ADA; (3) retaliation in
violation of the ADA; (4) discrimination based on perceived
disability in violation of the California Fair Employment and
Housing Act (“FEHA”), Cal. Gov. Code § 12900
et seq.; (5) discrimination based on association with a
disabled person in violation of FEHA; (6) retaliation in
violation of FEHA; (7) violation of the Family Medical Leave
Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §2601 et seq.; (8)
interference with rights in violation of the FMLA; (9)
retaliation in violation of the FMLA; (10) violation of the
California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), Cal. Gov.
Code § 12945.2; (11) interference with rights in
violation of CFRA; (12) retaliation in violation of CFRA; and
(13) wrongful discharge. Dkt. No. 58. With respect to his
discrimination claims, Mr. Kannan contends that his manager,
Joseph Kotni, discriminated against him with respect to
compensation, awards of stock and bonuses, performance
evaluations, and placement in Apple's job classification
structure because of Mr. Kannan's role in caring for his
autistic son and because Mr. Kotni regarded Mr. Kannan
himself as having the same or similar disability. See,
e.g., id. ¶ 55.
Kannan moves to compel Apple to produce documents responsive
to Requests for Production Nos. 13, 14, 17-27 and 57.
See Dkt. No. 90 at 46-53, 68. These requests are
directed to Mr. Kannan's efforts to discover evidence in
support of his allegations that Mr. Kotni and Apple treated
him less favorably than other employees who were similarly
situated to Mr. Kannan in terms of knowledge, experience, job
duties, and responsibilities, or whose qualifications and
performance were inferior to Mr. Kannan's. Apple objects
to producing most of the documents requested, although it has
offered to make a limited production of documents to resolve
this dispute. Dkt. No. 100 at 5.
may obtain discovery of any matter that is relevant to a
claim or defense and that is “proportional to the needs
of 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). The Court may also consider whether, for good cause
shown, the discovery may be produced in a manner that
restricts its disclosure. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
Requests for Production Nos. 13, 14, 17-27
these requests seek compensation and personnel records for
Mr. Kannan and for the other employees who reported to Mr.
Kotni from 2011 to the present. Mr. Kannan also seeks the
same information for independent contractors who reported to
Mr. Kotni during the same period. See Dkt. No. 90 at
46 (Requests for Production Nos. 13, 14).
Kannan says this discovery is relevant to his claims because
certain employees who reported to Mr. Kotni were similarly
situated to him either because they had similar job
responsibilities or were subject to the same
compensation/stock award policies or both. Although Mr.
Kannan did not begin reporting to Mr. Kotni until the fall of
2013, he seeks responsive documents for any employee or
independent contractor who reported to Mr. Kotni from 2011 to
objects to this discovery on several grounds. First, Apple
argues that the employees for whom Mr. Kannan seeks records
were not similarly situated because they did not perform the
same jobs and had greater responsibility, and therefore the
discovery is not relevant to Mr. Kannan's
claims. The Court disagrees. Mr. Kannan explains
that his claim is based in part on Apple's failure to
assign him the job classification he deserved and promotion
of less qualified employees to jobs with greater
responsibilities than his. Ultimately, Mr. Kannan may not be
able to demonstrate that all of the other employees who
reported to Mr. Kotni were similarly situated, but for
purposes of discovery, Mr. Kannan has articulated a
reasonable basis for concluding that these employees'
records are relevant to his disparate treatment
discrimination claims, and the Court will permit this
Apple objects that the discovery should not include records
of independent contractors. At the hearing, Apple advised the
Court that at most nine other employees reported to Mr. Kotni
during the period of time Mr. Kannan also reported to Mr.
Kotni, and that many more independent contractors also worked
under Mr. Kotni. Mr. Kannan has not explained how the
documents reflecting the compensation, job responsibilities,
and performance evaluations of independent contractors are
relevant to any of ...