Tourtelotte et al v. Anvil Place Master Tenant, LLC et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 96 Motion to Compel. Please read attached ruling for upcoming compliance deadlines. Signed by Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons on 11/9/2012. (Garcia, M.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
FRANCIS TOURTELOTTE and
ANVIL PLACE MASTER TENANT,
LLC, ANVIL PLACE LIMITED
PARTNERSHIP, ANVIL PLACE
AFFORDABLE HOUSING INC.
and MILLENNIUM REAL ESTATE
ANVIL PLACE MASTER TENANT,
LLC and ANVIL PLACE LIMITED
Third Party Plaintiffs
MILLENIUM REAL ESTATE SERVICES:
Third Party Defendant
MILLENIUM REAL ESTATE SERVICES:
Third Party Plaintiff
WILLIAM H. RECKMEYER, ESQ.
Third Party Defendant
CIV. NO. 3:11CV1454 (WWE)
This is an action for injunctive relief and damages for
violation of the rights of plaintiffs Francis Tourtelotte and
Geraldine Linewebber under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of
1988 (“FHA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Defendants are Anvil Place Master Tenant, LLC; Anvil Place, LP
and its general partner, Anvil Place Affordable Housing, Inc.
(collectively “Anvil Place”) and its agent and property manager,
Millennium Real Estate Services, LLC.
Plaintiffs allege that
defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1),(2) & (4) by
subjecting plaintiffs to less favorable terms and conditions of
tenancy on the basis of disability, making housing unavailable
to them on the basis of disability, and refusing to grant their
request for a reasonable accommodation.
Plaintiffs also allege
that defendants violated 42 U.S.C. §3617 by pursuing an eviction
action against plaintiffs based on the presence of an overnight
aide. Because defendants are recipient of federal funding,
plaintiffs also contend that defendants‟ conduct violates
Section 405 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by discriminating
against plaintiffs on the basis of their disabilities. [Doc.
Pending is plaintiffs‟ Motion to Compel Discovery. [Doc.
A conference and oral argument as held on the record on
November 1, 2012, to address this motion and other discovery
Standard of Review
“A court can limit discovery if it determines, among other
things, that the discovery is: (1) unreasonably cumulative or
duplicative; (2) obtainable from another source that is more
convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; or (3) the
burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit.” In re Priceline.com Inc. Securities Litigation, 233
F.R.D. 83, 85 (D. Conn. 2005) (quoting Chavez v. DaimlerChrysler
Corp., 206 F.R.D. 615, 619 (S.D. Ind. 2002)).
The party resisting discovery bears the
burden of demonstrating that its objections
should be sustained, and pat, generic, nonspecific objections, intoning the same
boilerplate language, are inconsistent with
both the letter and the spirit of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. An
objection to a document request must clearly
set forth the specifics of the objection and
how that objection relates to the documents
being demanded. The objecting party must do
more than simply intone the familiar litany
that the interrogatories are burdensome,
oppressive or overly broad. Instead, the
objecting party must show specifically how,
despite the broad and liberal construction
afforded the federal discovery rules, each
request is not relevant or how each question
is overly broad, burdensome or oppressive by
submitting affidavits or offering evidence
revealing the nature of the burden.
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel [Doc. #96]
Plaintiffs move to compel Millenium to respond to
Interrogatory Nos. 10 and 11 and Requests for Production Nos.
12, 13, and 14, served on May 24, 2012. They seek an award of
costs for this motion.
Defendant Millenium filed identical boilerplate objections
to each of these interrogatories and requests for production.1
Defendant‟s identical responses state,
The third party defendant objects to this interrogatory as
overly broad, unduly burdensome and not calculated to lead
to any discoverable evidence. Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. allows
discovery regarding “any nonprivileged matter that is
relevant to any party‟s claim or defense.” The third party
defendant‟s profits, [bank accounts and tax returns] are
not relevant to the plaintiff‟s claims nor the third party
“„[B]oilerplate objections that include unsubstantiated
claims of undue burden, overbreadth and lack of relevancy‟ while
producing „no documents and answering no interrogatories are a
paradigm of discovery abuse.‟”
Freydl v. Meringolo, 09Civ.
07196(BSJ)(KNF), 2011 WL 2566087, *3 (S.D.N.Y. June 16, 2011)
(quoting Jacoby v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 254 F.R.D.
477, 478 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)). “The party resisting discovery bears
the burden of showing why discovery should be denied.”
(quoting Cole v. Towers Perrin Forster & Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79,
80 (D. Conn. 2009)). Millenium had made no specific showing
“how, despite the broad and liberal construction afforded the
federal discovery rules, each request is not relevant or how
each question is overly broad, burdensome or oppressive by
submitting affidavits or offering evidence revealing the nature
of the burden.” In re Priceline.com Inc. Securities Litigation,
233 F.R.D. at 85.
Accordingly, plaintiffs‟ Motion to Compel
[doc. #96] is GRANTED on this record.
Defendant will provide interrogatory responses under oath
and complete production by Friday November 16, 2012.
are no responsive documents, after a good faith effort to locate
defendant‟s defenses, particularly since the plaintiff has
not plead over against the third party defendant.
See Doc. #105 at 2-3 responses to Int. 10, 11, req. for
prod.12, 13, 14.
them, defendant will so state under oath and withdraw its
objection. Plaintiffs‟ request for sanctions is DENIED without
prejudice to renewal at the conclusion of the case.
Plaintiff’s Oral Motion to Compel Responses to Interrogatory
Nos. 3, 7, 9
Interrogatory No. 3: On August 30, 2012, defendant Millenium
stated that a response would be provided, but none was. During
the conference, Millenium agreed to provide an immediate
response with the information it now has and supplement the
response when the outstanding information from the last employee
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e).
provide a supplemental interrogatory response under oath by
November 21, 2012.
Discovery re: Attorney Reckmeyer
Interrogatory No. 7: State the basis for your Affirmative
Interrogatory No. 9: State the basis for your contention that W.
Herbert Reckmeyer, Esq. was an agent of Anvil Place Master
Tenant, LLC and/or Anvil Place Limited Partnership.
Request for Production No. 7: Please produce any written
communications between you and W. Herbert Reckmeyer Esq. for the
time period of January 1, 2010 to the present.
Both of Millenium‟s interrogatory responses refer to its
response to Interrogatory No. 6 which states, “Payment checks to
Attorney Reckmeyer, Kapa Letter, Notice to Quit, Summary Process
Complaint.” Defendant may not avoid answering an interrogatory
by reference to deposition testimony and/or documents.
On October 12, 2012, Millenium filed a Third Party
Complaint [Doc. #114] against Attorney Reckmeyer, seeking
indemnification (count one) and alleging legal malpractice
In sum, Millenium alleges that it “relied upon the
legal advice and experience of Attorney Reckmeyer to obtain the
lawful removal of John Eskedel from the apartment on the grounds
that he was an unapproved occupant who had no right to use or
possess the premises . . . .” [Doc. #114 at 5]. Defendant
alleges that Reckmeyer breached his duty of care to Millenium
and his conduct fell below that of the standard of care expected
of a legal professional. Id. at 9.
Plaintiff seeks discovery
regarding Millenium‟s relationship with Attorney Reckmeyer.
Specifically, the monetary and non-monetary evictions related to
the Anvil property as well as other Millenium properties dating
to January 2010.
At the conference, Millenium stated that there
is no retention letter with Attorney Reckmeyer for his work
performed in this matter.
Millenium will provide this response
Millenium will provide responses to these interrogatories
and request for production and provide the Court and plaintiffs
with a breakdown of the information, such as the number of
Millenium clients Attorney Reckmeyer represented and the number
of monetary and non-monetary evictions he has filed since
January 2010. Millenium will prepare a privilege log pursuant to
D. Conn. L. R. 26(e), including but not limited to: the type of
document, the general subject matter of the document, the author
of the document, each recipient of the document, the Millenium
client the document relates to, and the grounds for the
The defendant will propose a way for the Court to
review the documents. The Court will not consider hypothetical
The parties will endeavor to enter into a protective order
without the Court‟s involvement. Regarding non-privileged
documents, Millenium may redact the names of the clients without
prejudice to plaintiff seeking the information upon a further
Defendant will provide interrogatory responses under oath,
document production, and its privilege log by November 21, 2012.
If there are no responsive documents, after a good faith effort
to locate them, defendant will so state under oath and withdraw
Plaintiffs’ Oral Motion to Compel Discovery Responses Dated
September 26, 2012
At oral argument, plaintiffs sought responses from
Millenium for discovery requests dated September 26, 2012.
Millenium agreed to provide objections by the close of business
November 1, 2012. The parties will meet and confer upon
counsel‟s return from vacation and endeavor to resolve the
objections before filing a motion to compel.
encourages the parties to contact the Court to schedule a
discovery conference if they seek mediation of their discovery
Joint Proposed Amended Scheduling Order
Discovery closes on November 30, 2012. The parties will
meet and confer and file a joint proposed amended scheduling
order on or before November 15, 2012. If the parties cannot
reach an agreement, they will contact the Court to schedule a
case management conference.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's Motion to Compel
[Doc. #96] is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part in accordance
with this ruling. Plaintiffs‟ request for sanctions is DENIED
without prejudice to renewal at the conclusion of the case.
The parties are reminded of their on-going duty to
supplement or correct disclosures or responses under Fed. R.
Civ. P. 26(e).2 The parties are directed to contact the Court if
there is any delay in complying with these deadlines.
This is not a recommended ruling.
This is a discovery
ruling and order which is reviewable pursuant to the "clearly
erroneous" statutory standard of review.
28 U.S.C. § 636
(b)(1)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a), 6(e) and 72(a); and Rule 2 of
the Local Rules for United States Magistrate Judges.
it is an order of the Court unless reversed or modified by the
district judge upon motion timely made.
Entered at Bridgeport this 9th day of November 2012.
HOLLY B. FITZSIMMONS
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Fed. R. Civ. P 25(e) Supplementing Disclosures and Responses.
(1) In General. A party who has made a disclosure under Rule 26(a)--or who
has responded to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for
admission--must supplement or correct its disclosure or response:
(A) in a timely manner if the party learns that in some material respect the
disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or
corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties
during the discovery process or in writing […].
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