Grice v. SL Alabama, LLC. (CONSENT)
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 17 Motion to Compel, as further set out in order; further ORDERED that the plf's 20 Motion to Amend or Correct her Motion to Compel be and is hereby GRANTED. Signed by Honorable Judge Charles S. Coody on 3/5/2013. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SL ALABAMA, LLC,
CIVIL ACT. NO. 3:12cv645-CSC
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER
Plaintiff Grace Grice (“Grice”) brings this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against her former employer,
SL Alabama LLC, alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her race and
gender. She contends that she applied for but was not hired for positions as Material
Handler. She further asserts that she was told she could not have the position of Material
Handler because she was female and the job on the second shift entailed heavy lifting.
According to Ms. Grice, she filed an internal complaint of race and sex discrimination over
the Material Handler jobs on June 6, 2011. On June 23, 2011, she was fired for “allegedly
cursing a black male co-worker” who also cursed at her. The defendant describes the
altercation as a profanity-laced tirade. Grice contends that she was fired while the black
co-worker was not fired and that other black employees who have also engaged in verbal
altercations were not fired.
The court has jurisdiction of the plaintiff’s claims pursuant to its federal question
jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and the jurisdictional grant in 28 U.S.C. § 2000e-5.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) and M.D. Ala. LR 73.1, the parties have consented to a
United States Magistrate Judge conducting all proceedings in this case and ordering the
entry of final judgment.
Now pending before the court is the plaintiff’s motion to compel (doc. # 17) filed on
February 12, 2013. The plaintiff contends that the defendant waived any objections to the
discovery requests by failing to object to her interrogatories and requests for production of
documents in a timely manner. According to the plaintiff, responses to her discovery
requests were due in November, but the defendant did not respond until December 19,
2012, and at that time, raised objections. In response to the motion to compel, the defendant
asserts that because he communicated with plaintiff’s counsel, and his failure to respond
was not done in bad faith, he established good cause to excuse any untimeliness.
Pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 33(b)(2), a party has thirty (30) days to respond to
discovery requests and raise any objections. In addition, FED.R.CIV.P. 33(b)(4) requires
that any “grounds for objecting in an interrogatory must be stated with specificity.” In
objecting to the discovery requests, the defendant recites the standard objections that the
discovery requests are over broad, not limited in time or scope, and are not reasonably
calculated to lead to admissible evidence. “Defendant’s mere recitation of buzz words –
without any further explanation – is insufficient to meet the requirements of Fed. R. Civ.
P. 33(b)(4).” Hatfield v. A+ Nursetemps, Inc., 2012 WL 1326120, * 2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 17,
2012) (No. 5:11-cv-416-OC-10TBS). “Any ground not stated in a timely objection is
waived unless the court, for good cause, excuses the failure.” FED.R.CIV.P. 33(b)(4)
All objections are deemed waived by defendant’s failure to respond timely
to the discovery requests. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4) (“Any ground not stated
in a timely objection [to interrogatories] is waived unless the court, for good
cause, excuses the failure.”); Poulos v. Naas Foods, Inc., 959 F.2d 69, 74
(7th Cir.1992) (party “waived any objection to production by failing to object
when disclosure was due”); Marx v. Kelly, Hart & Hallman, P.C., 929 F.2d
8, 10, 12–13 (1st Cir.1991) (objections to requests for production were
waived by failure to make timely objections); McLeod, Alexander, Powell &
Apffel v. Quarles, 894 F.2d 1482, 1484 (5th Cir.1990) (vague objections
lacking in specificity held invalid); In re United States, 864 F.2d 1153, 1156
(5th Cir.1989) (“[A]s a general rule, when a party fails to object timely to
interrogatories, production requests, or other discovery efforts, objections
thereto are waived.”); accord Autotech Techs. Ltd. P'ship v.
Automationdirect.Com, Inc., 236 F.R .D. 396, 398 (N.D.Ill.2006);
Brown–Stahlman v. Charter Trust Co., No. 04–CV–322–SM, 2006 WL
680874, at *1 (D.N.H. Mar. 16, 2006); Banks v. Office of Senate
Sgt.–at–Arms, 222 F.R.D. 7, 21 (D.D.C.2004).
Brumfield v. Dodd, 2013 WL 360572, *3 (E.D.La. Jan. 30, 2013) (NO. CIV.A. 71-1316)
The court concludes that the defendant has waived objections to the discovery
requests by failing to object in a timely and specific manner. Notwithstanding that failure,
the court nonetheless will exercise its authority to control discovery, see Josendis v. Wall
to Wall Residence Repairs, Inc., 662 F.3d 1292, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011), and will disallow
some requests. Accordingly, it is
ORDERED as follows:
The motion to compel responses to interrogatories 1 and 2 be and is hereby
The motion to compel a response to interrogatory 3 be and is hereby DENIED
as the interrogatory is not specific and over broad.
The motion to compel responses to interrogatories 4 and 5 be and is hereby
GRANTED to the extent that the defendant is required to provide the information requested
that has not already been provided to the plaintiff.
The motion to compel a response to interrogatory 6 be and is hereby
GRANTED. The defendant’s response that no EEOC complaints have been filed against
shift supervisors Roland Brooks and Valisha Pouge is simply non-responsive to the
The motion to compel requests for production of documents 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
be and is hereby GRANTED in part and denied in part. The defendants shall produce the
personnel files requested; provided, however, that no payroll, financial or medical
information contained in the personnel files shall be produced.
The motion to compel requests for production of documents 7 and 19 be and
is hereby GRANTED.
The motion to compel requests for production of documents 8 and 9 be and
is hereby GRANTED to the extent that the defendant shall produce documents concerning
any employee who was disciplined for using profanity, engaging in verbal or physical
altercations, being insubordinate, or otherwise causing a disturbance in the workplace from
January 1, 2008 until present. The defendant shall produce the personnel file of any
disciplined employee, provided, however that no payroll, financial or medical information
contained in the personnel file shall be produced.
The motion to compel request for production of documents 10 be and is
hereby DENIED without prejudice. The plaintiff is granted leave to refile the motion to
compel with respect to this request if, after reviewing the other information ordered
produced, the information requested has not been provided.
The motion to compel requests for production of documents 15 and 16 be and
is hereby DENIED. The defendant is DIRECTED to serve a privilege log on the plaintiff
within fourteen (14) days of the date of this order.
It is further
ORDERED that the plaintiff’s motion to amend or correct her motion to compel (doc.
# 20) be and is hereby GRANTED.
Done this 5th day of March, 2013.
/s/Charles S. Coody
CHARLES S. COODY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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