Toney et al v. JP Morgan Chase Bank
MINUTE ORDER striking 60 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 62 Motion for Sanctions, by Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe on 3/14/2016.(slibi, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 14-cv-03397-CMA-MJW
JOHN TONEY, and
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, a National Association,
Entered by Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe
It is HEREBY ORDERED that:
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Sanctions Against Chase for Failing to Respond to
Discovery Requests Pursuant to the Court’s Order on January 13, 2016
and to Strike Chase’s Motion for Summary Judgment Due to Outstanding
Discovery Issues (Docket No. 62) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 60) is
Plaintiffs’ motion (Docket No. 62) is denied in all other respects.
On June 4, 2015, Plaintiffs served written discovery requests on Defendant. As
is relevant here, those requests included requests for admissions -- specifically, various
requests that Defendant admit to ordering Plaintiffs’ credit reports and certifying a
permissible purpose for doing so. Defendant denied those requests, after several
extensions of time (and two orders from the Court warning Defendant that the Court’s
patience was wearing thin, see Docket Nos. 37 & 45). Plaintiffs felt that Defendant’s
denials did not fairly respond to the substance of the matter, see Fed. R. Civ. P.
36(a)(4), and on December 1, 2015, Plaintiffs moved the Court for an order compelling
amended responses. (Docket No. 46.)
The Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion on January 13, 2016. (Docket No. 51.) In
granting the motion, the Court ordered Defendant to:
(1) correct its deficient verifications;
(2) explain the discrepancies between its admission responses and interrogatory
(3) admit or deny Plaintiffs’ requests for admissions “without imposing extraneous
limitations on the scope of Plaintiffs’ requests.”
The Court imposed that third condition because “Plaintiffs’ requests for admission were
not limited to Chase’s Credit Department and were not limited to [credit report] requests
related to a mortgage.” Defendant predicated its denials on these limitations, and the
Court agreed with Plaintiffs that the denials therefore did not respond fairly to the
substance of Plaintiffs’ requests for admission.
Plaintiffs now move for sanctions, arguing that Defendant’s updated responses
continue to impose extraneous limitations.
The Court disagrees with most of Plaintiffs’ arguments. For example, Plaintiffs
argue that Defendant again imposed extraneous limitations because Defendant
volunteered additional information to explain its responses. Needless to say, offering
additional information does not impose an extraneous limitation – indeed, the additional
information was provided because Court ordered Defendant to explain its responses
better, at Plaintiffs’ request. Plaintiffs’ argument on this point is frivolous. Likewise,
Plaintiffs disagree with the legal positions taken by Defendant in responding to the
requests -- but that disagreement does not make Defendant’s responses insufficient.
However, Plaintiffs make one argument that the Court agrees with. Defendant
again denied that its Credit Department ever requested Plaintiffs’ credit reports. This is
one of the two specific limitations that the Court explicitly ordered Defendant to remove
from its responses. And in responding to Plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions, Defendant
offers no explanation for this continued limitation. Defendant’s actual discovery
responses included objections that the requests are “overly broad and not reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” (e.g., Docket No. 70-1, p.2),
a point that the Court might be inclined to agree with. But this appears to be mere
boilerplate: Defendant made no mention of it in its brief opposing Plaintiffs’ motion for
sanctions, and indeed “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence” is no longer part of Rule 26. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26, Committee Notes on
Rules--2015 Amendment. Accordingly, the Court cannot rule on the basis of these
objections. Plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions is granted.
As sanctions, Plaintiffs ask that the Court:
(1) strike Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 60);
(2) extend the dispositive motions deadline;
(3) prohibit Chase from “supporting or defending claims or defenses that involve
Plaintiffs’ credit reports”;
(4) render default judgment against Chase; and/or
(5) hold Defendant in contempt.
(See Docket No. 62, p.8.) The latter three of these are all unwarranted; the Court sees
no bad faith in Defendant’s conduct and little prejudice to Plaintiffs, and it is notable that
Defendant complied with all other aspects of the Court’s January 13, 2016 Minute
Order. As to the dispositive motions deadline, the Court has already twice extended it
at Plaintiffs’ request. (Docket Nos. 48 & 55.) Further, Plaintiffs appear to have all the
evidence they need to file a dispositive motion. (See Docket No. 62, p.7 (describing
evidence allegedly proving that Defendant’s responses are in bad faith).) The Court
sees no grounds for further extending the deadline.
As a result, the only requested sanction that the Court grants is to strike
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Date: March 14, 2016
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