Heinrich v. Master Craft Engineering, Inc. et al
ORDER striking 47 Motion to Compel by Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher on 5/24/2014.(ggall, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE GORDON P. GALLAGHER
Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-01899-PAB-GPG
ERIC A. HEINRICH,
MASTER CRAFT et al.
ORDER STRIKING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL AGAINST DEFENDANT
MASTERCRAFT ENGINEERING, INC. (document #47)
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion to compel against Defendant Master Craft
Engineering, Inc. (document #47). Plaintiff wishes the Court to enter an order compelling
Defendant to correct what Plaintiff believes are deficient answers or productions with regard to:
interrogatories 4, 15, 16 and 19; requests for admission 9–11; and requests for production 1-9.
Because the Plaintiff failed to comply with the requirements of D.C.COLO.LCivR 7.1A, the
Motion to Compel is STRICKEN.
Local rule 7.1A, D.C.COLO.LCivR, requires:
The court will not consider any motion, other than a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12 or 56, unless counsel for the moving party or a pro se party, before filing the
motion, has conferred or made reasonable, good-faith efforts to confer with
opposing counsel or a pro se party to resolve the disputed matter. The moving
party shall state in the motion, or in a certificate attached to the motion, the
specific efforts to comply with this rule.
Plaintiff’s motion states “Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 37(a)(1) Certification. The undersigned has in
good faith conferred or attempted to confer with Master Craft in an effort to obtain discovery
without court action. See ¶ 3, below.” Attached to Plaintiff’s motion is an approximately 2 ¼
page letter to Ms. Dodd, Counsel for Master Craft, requesting certain additional information and
stating “[t]his letter is our good faith effort to confer with you in an effort to obtain proper
discovery responses without court action.”
The parties do not dispute that the above mentioned letter was the only communication
made regarding this issue prior to the filing of Plaintiff’s motion to compel (document #47).
There is some dispute over whether such conferral might be fruitful which the Court finds
irrelevant at this stage.
The purpose of Rule 7.1A is to require the parties to confer and to attempt to
resolve a dispute before incurring the expense of filing a motion and before
requiring the court to address a disputed issue. Rule 7.1A serves a particularly
important function in connection with discovery disputes because the parties,
through negotiations, frequently are able to narrow the discovery requests in a
way which eliminates the need for judicial intervention. Hoelzel v. First Select
Corp. 214 F.R.D. 634 (D. Colo. 2003). The purpose of Rule 7.1A is to require the
parties to confer and to attempt to resolve a dispute before incurring the expense
of filing a motion and before requiring the court to address a disputed issue. Rule
7.1A serves a particularly important function in connection with discovery
disputes because the parties, through negotiations, frequently are able to narrow
the discovery requests in a way which eliminates the need for judicial
intervention. Id. (citation omitted).
The instant case is a perfect example of a circumstance where the conferral requirement
might first resolve the issues and if not then at least narrow the issues. Take for example
interrogatory 4. Plaintiff asks “How did you qualify the process of welding the balance weight
to the Flexplate at issue in this case?” and Defendant Master Craft answers “Master Craft has
performed the same welding process for over ten years per ACM’s request. Master Craft utilizes
a hot welding process to ensure control and quality per industry standard.”
dissatisfied with the specificity of this answer because, as Plaintiff argues in its reply (document
#58, p. 3) “all welding is hot.”
This is an issue which seems to turn on specific industry definitions, definitions which
Counsel should familiarize themselves with if they wish to effectively litigate such a case. By
sitting down and having a meaningful conferral which should include a discussion of relevant
definitions, the dispute over what Defendant Master Craft meant when it answered “hot welding”
might be avoided without involving the Court.
Interrogatory 16 gives another such example. Plaintiff asks “Identify all makes, models
and types of flexplates manufactured by you since July 1, 2010.” Defendant Master Craft
answers “The left column identifies Master Craft’s job number. The right column identifies the
corresponding parts numbers provide to Master Craft by ACM.” Master Craft then includes the
3801 HD 6100 HD
3877 HD 6102 HD
4039 HD 6103 HD
4747 HD G l 42 HD
Plaintiff complains in its reply (document #58, p. 4) that the above answer and associated chart
are “indecipherable” and that the answer is “evasive, incomplete, and non-responsive.”
The Court, at this stage, has no idea as to whether the above chart has any meaning or
not. However, a meaningful conferral might have shed light on whether the answer and chart
were helpful or not.
One letter with no follow up, however detailed and long that letter may be, is not
meaningful conferral. To confer means “to hold a conference; compare views; consult together.”
THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 278–79
(Ninth Printing 1971). On this issue, there has been no conferral.
In addition, conferral is not a one way street. Upon receiving Plaintiff’s letter, Counsel
for Master Craft was on notice that there was a wrinkle in the discovery process. Both sides
have the ability to and responsibility to engage in meaningful conferral and the obligation to do
so before bringing this type of dispute before the Court.
It is ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion to compel (document #47), Defendant Master Craft’s
response (document #52) and Plaintiff’s reply (document #58) are all STRICKEN.
Dated this 24th day of May, 2014.
Gordon P. Gallagher
United States Magistrate Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?