Barnett v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, National Association
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART and DENYING IN PART 18 MOTION to Compel Discovery Responses and for Sanctions as set out herein. GRANTING 31 MOTION for Court To Accept Late Filing. Signed by Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on 11/7/2012. (JLC)
2012 Nov-07 AM 10:35
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
APRIL K. BARNETT,
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, as
successor by merger to CHASE
HOME FINANCE, LLC,
) Case No.: 1:12-CV-1745-VEH
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending before the court is Plaintiff’s Motion To Compel Discovery Responses
and for Sanctions (Doc. 18) (the “Motion”) filed on October 22, 2012. On November
1, 2012, the court entered an order resetting the evidentiary hearing on the Motion for
November 6, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. and giving Plaintiff until 5:00 p.m. on November 5,
2012, to file a Notice of Remaining Issues, after the parties conducted an in person
meeting. (Doc. 28).
Plaintiff filed her Notice of Remaining Issues (Doc. 30) (the “Notice”) on
November 5, 2012, at 5:34 p.m.1 Within her Notice, Plaintiff indicates that, despite
the parties’ face-to-face meeting, several outstanding discovery disputes remain.
The court conducted an evidentiary hearing on November 6, 2012. Testifying
at the hearing was Vicki Landis, who is currently employed by Defendant as a
Mortgage Office/Home Loan Research Officer. (Doc. 21-1 at 2 ¶ 1).
For the reasons stated in open court and as explained below, the Motion is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
Regarding discovery rulings:
A district court has wide discretion in discovery matters and our review
is “accordingly deferential.” Harbert Int’l, Inc. v. James, 157 F.3d
1271, 1280 (11th Cir. 1998). A court abuses its discretion if it makes a
“clear error of judgment” or applies an incorrect legal standard.
Carpenter v. Mohawk Indus., Inc., 541 F.3d 1048, 1055 (11th Cir. 2008)
(per curiam). Moreover, a district court’s denial of additional discovery
must result in substantial harm to a party’s case in order to establish an
abuse of discretion. See Leigh v. Warner Brothers, Inc., 212 F.3d 1210,
1219 (11th Cir. 2000).
Bradley v. King, 556 F.3d 1225, 1229 (11th Cir. 2009); accord Iraola & CIA, S.A. v.
Kimberly-Clark Corp., 325 F.3d 1274, 1286 (11th Cir. 2003) (“Moreover, we will not
Also pending is Plaintiff’s Motion for Court To Accept Late Filing (Doc. 31)
(the “Motion To Accept”). Because Plaintiff’s filing was less than one hour late and
for other good cause shown, the Motion To Accept is GRANTED.
overturn discovery rulings ‘unless it is shown that the District Court’s ruling resulted
in substantial harm to the appellant’s case.’” (quoting Carmical v. Bell Helicopter
Textron, Inc., 117 F.3d 490, 493 (11th Cir. 1997))).
Issues Specifically Identified By Plaintiff
As stated during the evidentiary hearing, Plaintiff has withdrawn her challenges
to Defendant’s privilege log as well as to Defendant’s objections to the production
of certain records on the basis of attorney-client or work product privilege.
Accordingly, that portion of the Motion is DENIED as MOOT.
Interrogatories and Requests for Production
Plaintiff has identified three interrogatories and one request for production to
which she contends Defendant has provided inadequate responses. Plaintiff also has
raised a challenge pertaining to Defendant’s responses to her requests for production
generally. Plaintiff’s Motion is GRANTED with respect to these interrogatories and
requests for production, as modified below.
Interrogatories No. 3 and No. 5
As ruled in open court, Plaintiff is ORDERED to provide to Defendant, no
later than November 14, 2012, a list of acronyms, jargon, abbreviations, and any other
internal terms which she needs the Defendant to define. Defendant is ORDERED
to provide to Plaintiff, no later than November 26, 2012, responsive affidavit(s) that
define all the terms included on Plaintiff’s list.
Interrogatory No. 6 and Request for
Production No. 3
As ruled in open court, Defendant is ORDERED to provide to Plaintiff, no
later than November 30, 2012, records relating to Alabama residential loans in which
Defendant either owns the loan or services the debt and there is an open dispute
involving: (i) a borrower’s request and receipt of a payoff amount from Defendant;
(ii) Defendant’s timely receipt of the funds in the amount so specified; and (iii)
Defendant’s non-application of those funds to that borrower’s loan.
Plaintiff’s generally objects to Defendant’s limiting language of producing
documents “within its possession” and not acknowledging the status of any materials
that are alternatively in Defendant’s “custody” or “control.” As clarified during the
hearing by Defendant’s counsel, as officers of the court, this omission in Defendant’s
written responses to Plaintiff’s document requests was an unintentional error.
Accordingly, Defendant has and will continue to produce all responsive records that
are in its possession, custody, or control. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a) (“A party may
serve on any other party a request within the scope of Rule 26(b): (1) to produce and
permit the requesting party or its representative to inspect, copy, test, or sample the
following items in the responding party’s possession, custody, or control: . . . .”)
Issues Not Specifically Identified By Plaintiff
To the extent that Plaintiff’s Motion raises any other matters that have not been
included in her Notice, those portions of Plaintiff’s Motion are DENIED as MOOT.
Accordingly, the Motion as modified herein is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART.
DONE and ORDERED this the 7th of November, 2012.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS
United States District Judge
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