National Franchisee Association v. Burger King Corporation

Filing 40

ORDER on Discovery Procedures. Signed by Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton on 6/9/2010. (par)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT S O U T H E R N DISTRICT OF FLORIDA C A S E NO. 09-23435-CIV-MOORE/SIMONTON N A T IO N A L FRANCHISEE ASSOCIATION, P l a i n t i ff , v. B U R G E R KING CORPORATION, D e fe n d a n t. / O R D E R ON DISCOVERY PROCEDURES T h i s matter is before the Court sua sponte. The Honorable K. Michael Moore, U n ite d States District Judge, has referred all pretrial discovery matters not affecting d e a d lin e s set by the Court's Scheduling Order to the undersigned Magistrate Judge (DE # 5 ). In order to efficiently resolve discovery disputes, the parties are hereby notified that t h e follow in g rules apply to discovery objections before this Court. If discovery r e s p o n s e s contrary to this Order have been made prior to the entry of this Order, any re s p o n s e to a motion to compel shall correct the deficiency. 1. Vague, Overly Broad, and Unduly Burdensome T h e Parties shall not make nonspecific, boilerplate objections. Such objections do n o t comply w i t h Local Rule 26.1 G.3.(a) w h i c h provides, "W h e r e an objection is made to a n y interrogatory or sub-part thereof or to any document request under Federal Rule of C iv il Procedure 34, the objection shall state w ith specificity all grounds." Objections that s ta te that a discovery request is "vague, overly broad, or unduly burdensome" are, s ta n d in g alone, meaningless, and w ill be found meritless by this Court. A party objecting o n these grounds must explain the specific and particular w a y in w h ic h a request is v a g u e , overly broad, or unduly burdensome. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4); Josephs v. Harris C o r p ., 677 F.2d 985, 992 (3d Cir. 1982) ("[T]he mere statement by a party that the i n t e r r o g a t o r y w a s `overly broad, burdensome, oppressive and irrelevant' is not adequate to voice a successful objection to an interrogatory. On the contrary, the party resisting d is c o v e r y `must show specifically how . . . each interrogatory is not relevant or how each q u e s t i o n is overly broad, burdensome or oppressive.'" [citation omitted]). If a party b e l ie v e s that the request is vague, that party shall attempt to obtain clarification prior to o b je c tin g on this ground. 2 . Objections Based Upon Scope If there is an objection based upon an unduly broad scope, such as time frame or g e o g ra p h ic location, discovery should be provided as to those matters w ith in the scope w h ic h is not disputed. For example, if discovery is sought nationw id e for a ten-year p e r io d , and the responding party objects on the grounds that only a five-year period lim ite d to activities in the state of Florida is appropriate, the responding party shall p r o v id e responsive discovery falling w ith in the five-year period as to the State of Florida. 3 . Irrelevant and Not Reasonably Calculated to Lead to Admissible Evidence A n objection that a discovery request is irrelevant and not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence must include a specific explanation describing w h y the r e q u e s t lacks relevance and w h y the information sought w i ll not reasonably lead to a d m is s ib le evidence. The Parties are reminded that the Federal Rules allow for broad d is c o v e ry that does not need to be admissible at trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1); O p p e n h e im e r Fund, Inc., v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351-52 (1978); see also Local Rule 26.1 G .3 .(a ). 4 . Formulaic Objections Followed by an Answer T h e Parties shall not recite a formulaic objection follow e d by an answ e r to the 2 r e q u e s t. It has become common practice for a Party to object on the basis of any of the a b o v e reasons, and then state that "notw i t h s t a n d i n g the above," the Party w i ll respond to th e discovery request, subject to or w ith o u t w a iv in g such objection. Such an objection a n d answ e r preserves nothing and serves only to w a s t e the time and resources of both th e Parties and the Court. Further, such practice leaves the requesting Party uncertain as to w h e th e r the question has actually been fully answ e re d or w h e th e r only a portion of the q u e s tio n has been answ e re d . See Civil Discovery Standards, 2004 A.B.A. Sec. Lit. 18; see a ls o Local Rule 26.1 G.3.(a). 5 . Objections Based upon Privilege G e n e ra liz e d objections asserting attorney-client privilege or w o r k product doctrine a ls o do not comply w ith local rules. Local Rule 26.1 G.3.(b) requires that objections b a s e d upon privilege identify the specific nature of the privilege being asserted, as w e ll a s , inter alia, the nature and subject matter of the communication at issue and the sender a n d receiver of the communication and their relationship to each other. The Parties are in s t r u c t e d to review Local Rule 26.1G.3.(b) carefully and to refrain from objections such a s : "Objection. This information is protected by attorney/client and/or w o r k product p r i v i le g e . " If a general objection of privilege is made w i t h o u t attaching a proper privilege log, the objection of privilege may be deemed w a iv e d . DONE AND ORDERED in chambers in Miami, Florida, on June 9, 2010. ANDREA M. SIMONTON U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE C o p ie s furnished via CM/ECF to: T h e Honorable K. Michael Moore, United States District Judge A ll counsel of record 3

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