Tenorio v. Synchronoss Technologies, Inc.
ORDER granting 33 Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. The defendant shall answer Interrogatories 7 and 8 and produce all documents responsive to Production Requests 2, 5, and 7, as specified above, on or before 2/9/2015. The 35 [First] Motion for Leave to Restrict Access and the 43 [Second] Motion for Leave to Restrict Access are DENIED and Doc #33, 33-1, and 44 shall not be restricted and shall be open to public inspection. By Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland on 1/28/2015.(alowe)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland
Civil Action No. 14-cv-01274-WJM-BNB
SYNCHRONOSS TECHNOLOGIES, INC.,
This matter arises on the following:
Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel [Doc. # 33];
Plaintiff’s Motion to Restrict Access [Doc. # 35] (the “First Motion to Restrict
Plaintiff’s Motion to Restrict Access [Doc. # 43] (the “Second Motion to
The Motion to Compel [Doc. # 33] is GRANTED. The Motions to Restrict Access [Doc.
## 35 and 43] are DENIED.
The plaintiff was employed as an account manager for Synchronoss Technologies, Inc.
(“STI”), and its predecessor corporation, SPATIALInfo, Inc. His compensation package
included commissions on sales. The plaintiff was terminated from his employment on
February 14, 2014, at a time when he alleges that he was working on six sales for which he
claims to be due commissions, including sales to Comcast Western Division, Charter
Communications, Mediacom Communications, IMMCO, Construction CAD Solutions, and
At issue here are two interrogatories and three requests for production. Interrogatory 7
requests the following information:
7. With regard to the deal outlined in the Complaint dealing with
Comcast, state with specificity if this deal has funded, will fund in
the near future, or will not fund at all. If this deal may fund in the
future to any extent, please indicate the terms of the present
negotiations, and list the names and addresses of all individuals
involved in the negotiation process with both Synchronoss and
The defendant objected to Interrogatory 7 as “vague and ambiguous as to the term ‘deal’”
and as calling for speculation. Notwithstanding its objections, the defendant stated that
“Comcast has not made a purchase with Synchronoss since Plaintiff’s termination of
employment.” In its Response in Opposition to the Motion to Compel [Doc. # 41], the defendant
also argued that the discovery is irrelevant because:
Under Colorado law, the issue of if and when an employee earns a
commission is a matter of contract between the employer and the
employee. While the statute has been held in some instances to
apply to payments becoming due after the date of discharge, those
instances are limited to situations where “future payments have
been ‘earned,’ i.e., they are ‘vested and determinable,’ at the time
of the employee’s termination.
Id. at 7 (internal citations omitted).
The parties dispute whether there is a contract between them concerning the payment of
commissions. In any event, the defendant’s argument based on Colorado law puts the cart before
the horse. Whether commissions are owed is the central issue in this case, and the status of the
sales underlying the plaintiff’s claims is relevant until there is a determination that the
commissions are not owed, which has not occurred.
I disagree that the term “deal” as it is used in Interrogatory 7 is vague--the defendant’s
Response makes clear that it knows precisely what the interrogatory concerns, and the Complaint
clearly describes the sales at issue.
Some, but not all, of Interrogatory 7 calls for speculation. The defendant must “indicate
the terms of the present negotiations, and list the names and addresses of all individuals involved
in the negotiation process with both Synchronoss and Comcast.”
Interrogatory 8 requests:
8. Have any other complaints of wrongfully withholding wages of
commissions of any kind, whether litigation ensued or not, ever been
made by an employee against Defendant? I so, please identify:
a. The parties involved;
b. The type of action, including case numbers; and
c. Determinations relating to the action.
The defendant objected to Interrogatory 8 as “overly broad as to timeframe and scope,
unduly burdensome, outside the scope of the pleadings, and not reasonably calculated to lead to
the discovery of admissible evidence.” Notwithstanding its objections, the defendant stated that
“no employees who report to Bill Scheffler or Mark Mendez have made complaints of
wrongfully withheld commissions.”
The defendant has failed to present any evidence sufficient to carry its burden of
establishing that responding to Interrogatory 8 would be unduly burdensome. The duty to pay
falls on the employer and not on supervisors, so the defendant’s attempt to limit the interrogatory
to certain supervisors is misplaced. In addition, section 8-4-109(3)(c), C.R.S., provides for the
imposition of a sanction on a showing that the employer’s failure to pay is willful, and a pattern
of wrongfully withholding commissions, if one can be shown, is relevant to the issue of
willfulness. I agree, however, that Interrogatory 8 is overly broad as to time, and I will limit the
inquiry to January 1, 2010, to the present, which generally is the period of time that the plaintiff
was employed by STI and its predecessor.
The Requests for Production seek:
2. Produce all documents and communications, including but not
limited to e-mails, correspondence, telephone calls or documents
of any kind between Plaintiff and any representative of the clients
listed in the Complaint that pertain to the subject litigation.
5. For any deals enumerated in the Complaint that form the basis
for this lawsuit that have not yet funded, produce all
documentation pertaining to the status of said deals, the names and
addresses of all individuals involved in the negotiation process to
date, and the anticipated date of funding. In the event any deals
have been amended or altered to any extent since the Plaintiff’s
termination, produce all documentation supporting these
negotiations and alterations of the deals from the date of the
Plaintiff’s termination to the present.
7. Produce all documents and communications, including but not
limited to e-mails, correspondence, telephone calls or documents
of any kind between any representative of Synchronoss and any of
the named clients enumerated in the Complaint that pertain to the
subject of this litigation from January 1, 2010 to the present.
The defendant objected to the requests as overly broad, unduly burdensome, and not
reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. In addition, the defendant
objected to Production Request 5 because the terms “negotiation process” and “amended or
altered” are vague and ambiguous.
I do not agree that the terms of Production Request 5 are vague and ambiguous--they are
common words of ordinary meaning. To the extent that there is any uncertainty as to how they
are used in the request, it should have been addressed through a conference under
The status of the sales which the plaintiff claims he negotiated are obviously relevant to
the issue of whether he earned a commission. I do not agree that the production requests are
overly broad, particularly because they are expressly limited to sales that “pertain to the subject
litigation” or are “enumerated in the Complaint that form the basis for this lawsuit.” Nor has the
defendant presented evidence establishing that responding to the production requests would be
Production Request 5 appears to blend the requirements of a request for production with
those of an interrogatory. In responding to Production Request 5 the defendant is required only
to produce responsive, existing documents and materials in its possession, custody, and control.
It is not required to create new documents specifying “the anticipated date of funding” or a list of
“the names and addresses of all individuals involved in the negotiation process to date.” Of
course, if such documents already exist, they must be produced.
Local rule of practice 7.2, D.C.COLO.LCivR, governs restricted access to court filings.
It provides in relevant part:
(a) Policy. Unless restricted by statute, rule of civil procedure, or
court order, the public shall have access to all documents filed with
the court and all court proceedings.
* * *
(c) Motion to Restrict. A motion to restrict public access shall be
open to public inspection and must:
(1) identify the document or the proceeding for which restriction
(2) address the interest to be protected and why such interest
outweighs the presumption of public access (stipulations between
the parties or stipulated protective orders with regard to
discovery, alone, are insufficient to justify restricted access);
(3) identify a clearly defined and serious injury that would result if
access is not restricted;
(4) explain why no alternative to restricted access is practicable or
why only restriction will adequately protect the interest in question
(e.g., redaction, summarization, restricted access to exhibits or
portions of exhibits); and
(5) identify the level of restriction sought.
The plaintiff has failed to meet the burden established by Rule 7.2. In particular, the only
bases relied on in seeking restriction are that the documents “contain confidential information”
and that “[t]he Court signed a Protective Order . . . concerning the protection of ‘Confidential
Information’ and [the documents] therefore should be file with a Level One Restriction.” The
conclusory statement that documents contain confidential information fails to “address the
interest to be protected and why such interest outweighs the presumption of public access” and
to “identify a clearly defined and serious injury that would result if access is not restricted,” and
the local rule expressly provides that the existence of a protective order, alone, is insufficient to
justify restricting access.
IT IS ORDERED:
Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel [Doc. # 33] is GRANTED.
The defendant shall answer Interrogatories 7 and 8 and produce all documents
responsive to Production Requests 2, 5, and 7, as specified above, on or before February 9, 2015.
The First Motion to Restrict Access [Doc. # 35] and the Second Motion to
Restrict Access [Doc. # 43] are DENIED, and Doc. ## 33, 33-1, and 44 shall not be restricted
and shall be open to public inspection.
Dated January 28, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Boyd N. Boland
United States Magistrate Judge
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