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Rodriguez v. Akima Infrastructure Services, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 16, 2019




         Before the court is Akima Infrastructure Services, LLC and Akima, LLC's (together, “Akima”) motion for Evidentiary Sanctions, or in the Alternative, Motion to Modify the Scheduling Order. Dkt. 54. The matter is fully briefed and suitable for decision without oral argument. Accordingly, the hearing set for October 23, 2019 is VACATED. Having read the parties' papers and carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby GRANTS the motion for evidentiary sanctions, as follows.


         On May 17, 2016, plaintiff Sarah Rodriguez filed this action in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda. Dkt. 1 at ECF p. 21 (“Compl.”). On June 27, 2016, Akima removed the action to this court. Dkt. 1. The complaint asserts three causes of action: (1) a claim under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601, et seq. ("FMLA"); (2) a claim under the California Family Rights Act, Cal. Lab. Code § 12945.2; and (3) a claim alleging wrongful termination.

         The complaint alleges that plaintiff was employed by defendants as a recruiter from approximately October 7, 2014, until her termination on approximately October 23, 2015. Compl. ¶ 6. She alleges that she requested a leave of absence from work due to the impending birth of twins, she gave birth, and she was subsequently granted and took a leave of absence. Id. ¶¶ 9-12. Plaintiff alleges that while she was on her approved leave of absence, defendants discharged her from employment. Id. ¶ 13.

         Fact discovery was originally scheduled to end on February 24, 2017. Dkt. 20. The parties stipulated to extend that deadline to March 24, 2017. Dkts. 24-25. Defendants moved for summary judgment on April 7, 2017, following the close of fact discovery. Dkt. 32.

         On May 19, 2017, this court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment. See Dkts. 37-38. Plaintiff appealed the order, and the Ninth Circuit found that “a genuine dispute of material fact exists regarding whether Akima replaced her [plaintiff] while she was on leave under the” FMLA. Dkt. 42 at 2. The Ninth Circuit accordingly reversed this court's order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment, and it remanded the action. Id. The Ninth Circuit's mandate issued on January 31, 2019. Dkt. 43.

         On February 21, 2019, this court conducted a case management conference with the parties. See Dkt. 46 (minute entry). At that conference, the parties informed the court that all fact discovery had been completed, although defendant may need to supplement. Id. The court set deadlines for expert discovery and scheduled trial to begin on December 9, 2019. Id.; see also Dkt. 47 (case management and pretrial order). Fact discovery remained closed.

         On April 22, 2019, plaintiff produced for the first time certain emails and related documents. See Iskander Decl., Dkt. 54-1 ¶ 6 & Ex. C. On September 3, 2019, in response to plaintiff's production of records after the close of discovery, defendants filed the present motion for evidentiary sanctions to exclude those materials. Dkt. 54.


         A. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 (“Rule 26”) requires, “[e]xcept as exempted by Rule 26(a)(1)(B) or as otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, ” that “a party must, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to the other parties . . . . a copy-or a description by category and location-of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(ii).

         Rule 26(e) requires a party to “supplement or correct its [Rule 26(a)] disclosure . . . in a timely manner if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(e)(1)(A).

         “Compliance with Rule 26's disclosure requirements is ‘mandatory.'” Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High Sch. Dist., 768 F.3d 843, 863 (9th Cir. 2014) ...

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