Garcia v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. et al

Filing 107

ORDER on 106 Joint Motion Re Discovery Dispute. To the extent that the Joint Motion Re Discovery Dispute presents Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Production of Documents, it is DENIED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin on 1/11/2022. (bxr)

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Case 3:18-cv-00500-L-MDD Document 107 Filed 01/11/22 PageID.1677 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 11 12 JULIO GARCIA, individually and on behalf of all those similarly situated, Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 WAL-MART ASSOCIATES, INC., et al., 15 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 ORDER ON JOINT MOTION RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE [ECF NO. 106] Defendants. 16 18 Case No.: 18-cv-0500-L-MDD Before the Court is the Joint Motion of the parties for determination of a discovery dispute filed on January 6, 2022. (ECF No. 106). The dispute pertains to a single document that Plaintiff asserts should have been disclosed pursuant to certain Requests for Production served during the period of fact discovery. Although fact discovery closed long ago, which normally would render this dispute untimely, the district judge, in an Order dated November 19, 2021, authorized Plaintiff to seek production of this document and for Defendant to oppose production. (ECF No. 100 at 2). // // 1 18-cv-0500-L-MDD Case 3:18-cv-00500-L-MDD Document 107 Filed 01/11/22 PageID.1678 Page 2 of 4 LEGAL STANDARD 1 The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize parties to obtain 2 3 discovery of “any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or 4 defense and proportional to the needs of the case ....” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). 5 “Information within the scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence 6 to be discoverable.” Id. District courts have broad discretion to limit 7 discovery where the discovery sought is “unreasonably cumulative or 8 duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more 9 convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C). A party may request the production of any document within the scope of 10 11 Rule 26(b). Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a). “For each item or category, the response 12 must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as 13 requested or state an objection to the request, including the reasons.” Rule 14 34(b)(2)(B). If the responding party chooses to produce responsive 15 information, rather than allow for inspection, the production must be 16 completed no later than the time specified in the request or another 17 reasonable time specified in the response. Id. An objection must state 18 whether any responsive materials are being withheld based on that objection. 19 Rule 34(b)(2)(C). An objection to part of a request must specify the part and 20 permit inspection or production of the rest. Id. The responding party is 21 responsible for all items in “the responding party’s possession, custody, or 22 control.” Rule 34(a)(1). Actual possession, custody or control is not required. 23 Rather, “[a] party may be ordered to produce a document in the possession of 24 a non-party entity if that party has a legal right to obtain the document or 25 has control over the entity who is in possession of the document.” Soto v. City 26 of Concord, 162 F.R.D. 603, 620 (N.D. Cal. 1995). 27 // 2 18-cv-0500-L-MDD Case 3:18-cv-00500-L-MDD Document 107 Filed 01/11/22 PageID.1679 Page 3 of 4 DISCUSSION 1 2 The document at issue reflects certain policies of Defendant regarding 3 payment of wages including PTO and sick pay. Plaintiff asserts that the 4 document should have been disclosed in response to its Requests for 5 Production (“RFP”) numbers 3 and 4. RFP No. 3 required Defendant to 6 produce all employee handbooks or manuals that applied to California 7 employees during the relevant period. (ECF No. 106 at 3). RFP No. 4 required 8 Defendant to produce all documents pertaining to policies, procedures and 9 practices regarding compliance with [California] Labor Code Sections 201-203 10 applying to California employees during the relevant time period. (Id.). 11 Defendant’s short answer is that the document at issue does not apply 12 to California employees. (ECF No. 106 at 11-15). Defendant explains that it 13 has differing policies affecting employees in different states due to the 14 vagaries of various state laws. In California, departing employees must be 15 paid their final wages immediately; in certain other states, employees may be 16 paid final wages on their next payday. Defendant asserts that the document 17 at issue applies to states allowing for next payday payments; it does not and 18 has not applied to California employees. See Declaration of Diana 19 McChristian, ¶¶ 4-14 (ECF No. 106-3). Consequently, Defendant argues, this 20 document is not subject to production pursuant to RFPs 3 and 4 as it does not 21 apply to California employees. 22 Plaintiff has viewed the disputed document and argues that there is 23 nothing in the document itself that states it is not applicable to California 24 employees. That argument is unavailing in the face of evidence, in the form of 25 Ms. McChristian’s Declaration, that the policy expressed in the disputed 26 document does not apply to California employees. Plaintiff has offered no 27 evidence to the contrary. Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendant violates its 3 18-cv-0500-L-MDD Case 3:18-cv-00500-L-MDD Document 107 Filed 01/11/22 PageID.1680 Page 4 of 4 1 California policies does not make this document relevant. Consequently, as 2 the document does not apply to Defendant’s California employees, it is not 3 subject to production under RFP 3 or 4. 4 CONCLUSION 5 To the extent that the Joint Motion Re Discovery Dispute presents 6 Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Production of Documents, it is DENIED. 7 Dated: January 11, 2022 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 4 18-cv-0500-L-MDD

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