International Aerospace Group, Corp. v. Evans Meridians Ltd.
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 20 Motion to Compel. Signed by Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres on 5/10/2017. (js02)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 16-24997-Civ-KING/TORRES
EVANS MERIDIANS LTD.,
ORDER ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO COMPEL
This matter is before the Court on Evans Meridians Ltd.’s (“Defendant”)
Motion to Compel (“Motion”) [D.E. 20] complete answers to interrogatories against
International Aerospace Group Corp. (“Plaintiff”).
Defendant’s Motion on May 2, 2017.
Plaintiff responded to
Therefore, this Motion is now ripe
After careful consideration of the Motion, response, and relevant
authority, and for the reasons discussed below, Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED in
PART and DENIED in part.1
This matter was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge by the
Honorable James Lawrence King on April 20, 2017. [D.E. 21].
This lawsuit was originally filed on December 1, 2016 [D.E. 1] and arises from
the parties’ attempt to complete a transaction for the sale of seven large jet engines.2
The authenticity and formation of the contracts is undisputed. The only genuine
disputes involve the parties’ performance under the contract and the damages
resulting therefrom. Both Plaintiffs’ Complaint and the Counterclaims asserted by
Defendant focus on the liabilities and remedies available due to three of the engines
not being delivered by Plaintiff (who still has possession of the engines) to Defendant.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant owes a balance on the transaction [D.E. 1-1 at ¶¶12,
23], while Defendant asserts that it paid the balance in full. Defendant further
claims that Plaintiff failed to deliver the three engines [D.E. 7 at ¶¶ 86, 94], and,
after delivery was not accomplished within 45 days of the required date, Defendant
cancelled the contracts and demanded a refund. [D.E. 7 at ¶¶ 68-71, 79-82, 87, 95].
As it relates to Plaintiff’s claim against Defendant for breach of contract, Defendant
contends that Plaintiff had a duty to mitigate damages once the contracts were
purportedly breached, and that Plaintiff is responsible for any diminished value of
the engines from the date it claims that the contracts were breached. [D.E. 7 at ¶¶
On March 17, 2017, Defendant served Plaintiff its First Set of Interrogatories.
After multiple extensions, and after the parties worked through disputes as to
Defendant is a Florida corporation involved in the sale and leasing of aircraft
engines, airframes, and component parts.
Plaintiff’s initial responses, Plaintiff served its Amended Response to the First Set of
Interrogatories on March 17, 2017. Because the Amended Response was allegedly
deficient for several reasons, Defendant filed its Motion to Compel on April 19, 2017.
APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES AND LAW
Under the Federal Rules, a party may pose interrogatories related to any
matter into which Rule 26(b) allows inquiry, FED. R. CIV. P. 33(a)(2), request the
production of any documents that fall within the scope of Rule 26(b), FED. R. CIV. P.
34(a), and serve requests to admit certain matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1),
FED. R. CIV. P. 36(a)(1).
Rule 26(b) also allows discovery “through increased
reliance on the commonsense concept of proportionality.”
In re: Takata Airbag
Prod. Liab. Litig., 2016 WL 1460143, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 1, 2016) (quoting Chief
Justice John Roberts, 2015 Year–End Report on the Federal Judiciary 6 (2015)).
“Proportionality requires counsel and the court to consider whether relevant
information is discoverable in view of the needs of the case.” Tiger v. Dynamic
Sports Nutrition, LLC, 2016 WL 1408098, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 11, 2016). If the
opposing party objects to interrogatories or requests, the requesting party may then
file a motion to compel production pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 37, but only after its
counsel, in good faith, confers with opposing counsel to resolve discovery disputes
without court intervention. See FED. R. CIV. P. 37(a)(1).
The Federal Rules afford the Court broad authority to control the scope of
discovery, Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence Repairs, Inc., 662 F.3d 1292, 1307
(11th Cir. 2011), but Astrongly favor full discovery whenever possible.@
v. Procter & Gamble Co., 758 F.3d 1545, 1547 (11th Cir. 1985).
consequently employ a liberal and broad scope of discovery in keeping with the spirit
and purpose of these rules.
See Rosenbaum v. Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., 708 F.
Supp. 2d 1304, 1306 (S.D. Fla. 2010) (collecting cases).
The “overall purpose of
discovery under the Federal Rules is to require the disclosure of all relevant
information, so that the ultimate resolution of disputed issues in any civil action may
be based on a full and accurate understanding of the true facts, and therefore embody
a fair and just result.”
State Nat’l Ins. Co. v. City of Destin, 2015 WL 11109379, at
*1 (N.D. Fla. Sept. 1, 2015).
However, while the scope of discovery is broad, it is not without limits.
Washington v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco, 959 F. 2d 1566, 1570 (11th Cir. 1992);
Rossbach v. Rundle, 128 F. Supp. 2d 1348 (S.D. Fla. 2000) (citing Oppenheimer Fund
v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340 (1978)).
To show that the requested discovery is otherwise
objectionable, the onus is on the objecting party to demonstrate with specificity how
the objected-to request is unreasonable or otherwise unduly burdensome. See
Rossbach, 128 F. Supp. 3d at 1354 (citing in part Panola Land Buyers Ass’n v.
Shuman, 762 F.2d 1550, 1559 (11th Cir. 1985)).
Boilerplate objections and generalized responses are improper.
v. Bank of America, 2015 WL 1120273, at *2 (S.D. Fla. March 12, 2015). This
District has frequently held that objections which fail to sufficiently specify the
grounds on which they are based are improper and without merit.
See, e.g., Taylor
v. Bradshaw, 2014 WL 6459978 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 14, 2014); Abdin v. Am. Sec. Ins. Co.,
2010 WL 1257702 (S.D. Fla. March 29, 2010). More specifically, objections simply
stating that a request is Aoverly broad, or unduly burdensome@ are meaningless and
Abdin, 2010 WL 1257702 at *1 (quoting Guzman v. Irmadan, Inc.,
249 F.R.D. 399, 400 (S.D. Fla. 2008)).
In addition to the Federal Rules, Southern District Local Rule 26.1 controls
the necessary procedure a party must follow when objecting to a request for
production or asserting a claim of privilege. It requires that:
All motions related to discovery, including . . . motions to compel
discovery . . . shall be filed within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of
grounds for the motion. Failure to file a discovery motion within thirty
(30) days, absent a showing of reasonable cause for a later filing, may
constitute a waiver of the relief.
S.D. Fla. L.R. 26.1(i)(1) (emphasis added). On its face, Rule 26.1(i) is therefore
plainly discretionary. While the “occurrence” of grounds for a motion tends to be the
moment at which responses are filed, this is not always necessarily the case.
e.g., Socas v. Northwestern Mut. Life Ins., 2008 WL 619322 (S.D. Fla. March 4, 2008)
(finding that the “occurrence” triggering the motion to compel was when the
requesting party examined certain documents months after their initial requests had
been answered); United States v. Polo Pointe Way, Delray Beach, Fl., 444 F. Supp. 2d
1258, 1261 (S.D. Fla. 2006) (finding that the “occurrence” at issue was a deposition
that took place after responses were filed).
In pertinent part, the Local Rules also provide that where a claim of privilege
is asserted, the objecting party must prepare “a privilege log with respect to all
documents, electronically stored information, things and oral communications
withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege or work product protection” except for
“written and oral communications between a party and its counsel after
commencement of the action and work product material created after commencement
of the action.”
S.D. Fla. L.R. 26.1(g)(3)(C) (emphasis added).
“[w]here a claim of privilege is asserted in objecting to any . . . production demand . . .
and an answer is not provided on the basis of such assertion . . . [t]he attorney
asserting the privilege shall . . . identify the nature of the privilege . . . being
claimed.” S.D. Fla. L.R. 26.1(g)(3)(B)(I).
Defendant’s Motion seeks to compel Plaintiff to provide better responses to
Defendant’s first set of interrogatories.
Plaintiff takes issue with Defendant’s
Motion because it purportedly seeks to impose obligations on Plaintiff that are
outside the boundaries of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff further
contends that, had Defendant performed even a cursory review of the documents
Plaintiff identified, then Defendant’s Motion would not have been filed.
The primary issue throughout many of the interrogatories at issue is that
Plaintiff relies on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(d) as an exception to the
completeness requirement in responding to Defendant’s interrogatories.3 Rule 33(d)
was first enacted in 1970 with the purpose to shift the time and cost burden of
perusing documents from the producing party to the party seeking the information.
See Minter v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 286 F.R.D. 273, 277 (D. Md. 2012) (“The Rule
serves to put the burden of extracting and collating the information on the party
seeking it in cases in which it would be time-consuming and expensive to extract data
from the records.”) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
In filing a motion to compel, the party seeking discovery “must make a prima
facie showing that the use of Rule 33(d) is somehow inadequate to the task of
answering the discovery, whether because the information is not fully contained in
the documents, is too difficult to extract, or other such reasons.” U.S. S.E.C. v.
Elfindepan, S.A., 206 F.R.D. 574, 576 (M.D.N.C. 2002). After a prima facie case has
been made, the burden shifts to the producing to justify the use of Rule 33(d).
In order “for Rule 33(d) to apply, the burden of ascertaining the answer from
the documents at issue must be substantially the same for either party. When one
party is substantially more familiar with the documents at issue than the other, the
burden will generally not be the same.” Id. (citing T.N. Taube Corp. v. Marine
Rule 33(d) provides “that, if the answer to an interrogatory may be determined
by examining, auditing, compiling, abstracting, or summarizing a party’s business
records, and the burden of ascertaining the answer would be substantially the same
for either party, the responding party may answer by specifying the records in
sufficient detail that must be reviewed and allowing the interrogating party a
reasonable opportunity to examine and audit those records.” Jones Creek Inv’rs,
LLC v. Columbia Cty., Georgia, 2012 WL 12898402, at *5 n.9 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 8, 2012).
Midland Mortg. Corp., 136 F.R.D. 449, 454 (W.D.N.C. 1991) (“An important—often
key—factor in weighing the respective burdens on the parties is the interrogated
party's familiarity with its own documents.”)); see also Reliance Ins. Co. v. Core
Carriers, Inc., 2008 WL 2414041, at *3 (M.D. Fla. June 11, 2008) (determining that
Rule 33(d) “allows a party to respond to an interrogatory by identifying business
records from which the answer to the interrogatory may be derived so long as ‘the
burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer will be substantially the same for”’
either party.) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 33(d)). “Reliance on Rule 33(d) is appropriate
when the interrogatory requests objective facts that are obvious from the specified
documents, but is generally inappropriate when the interrogatory asks a party to
state its contentions or to state facts supporting its allegations.” Morock v.
Chautauqua Airlines, 2007 WL 4247767, *2 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 3, 2007).
“The producing party must satisfy a number of factors in order to meet its
First, it must show that a review of the documents will
actually reveal answers to the interrogatories.” Elfindepan, S.A., 206 F.R.D. at 576.
This means that the producing party must explain that the named documents
contain all of the information requested.
Second, the producing party must
precisely specify for each interrogatory “the actual documents where [the]
information will be found.” Id. (citing 8A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller &
Richard L. Marcus, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2178, at 336 (2d ed. 1994)).
Because Plaintiff purportedly complied with Rule 33(d), Plaintiff argues that
Defendant’s Motion has no merit and should be denied. We will discuss the parties’
arguments in turn.
Defendant first seeks to compel Plaintiff to provide a better answer to
interrogatory 1. Specifically, interrogatory 1 requests Plaintiff to “[i]dentify every
payment by date, check or wire number, source, and amount received by you, from or
on behalf of Evans, in connection with the sale of any and all aircraft engines to
Evans by you, from January 1, 2012 to the present date.” [D.E. 20]. Defendant
argues that Plaintiff’s discovery response is inadequate because it merely contains
boilerplate objections that fail to articulate why the request is overboard or seeking
irrelevant information. Although only three engines are at issue in this litigation,
Defendant suggests that the contracts for those engines involve the sale of four
additional engines. The payments and contracts purportedly overlap, and in order
to prove that Plaintiff did receive the funds owed on the three engines (which
Plaintiff allegedly disputes), Defendant claims that it must obtain proof of the sums
paid under both contracts. This is why interrogatory 1 includes a broader time
period for responsive information other than the 2013 contract for the three engines
Relatedly, Plaintiff’s privilege log identifies 2013 bank records being
withheld, but allegedly does not identify whether any records were withheld for the
years 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. For these reasons, Defendant argues that
Plaintiff must provide a better response to interrogatory 1 and provide a clarifying
statement as to whether any responsive documents (other than 2013 materials) were
Plaintiff’s response is that interrogatory 1 is vastly overbroad because it seeks
information outside the relevant time period. More specifically, Plaintiff argues
that interrogatory 1 seeks the discovery of financial information relating to
transactions almost eighteen months before the execution of the contracts at issue.
Nonetheless, in an effort to comply with interrogatory 1, Plaintiff produced
highlighted bank records from October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. As for
Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff did not specify anything about the redacted
bank records, Plaintiff argues that the documents produced amount to no more than
twenty-five pages of records.
As such, Plaintiff believes that the burden is
extraordinarily light for the Defendant to locate the relevant information and that
Defendant’s Motion should be denied.
Plaintiff’s response is well taken. Based on a thorough review of Plaintiff’s
amended responses to Defendant’s interrogatories, the Court finds that the level of
detail provided is specific enough to pass muster under Rule 33(d).
LeBlanc v. Unifund CCR Partners, G.P., 2007 WL 2446900, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 23,
2007) (“As requested by the interrogatory and consistent with this rule, the Plaintiff
should identify specific documents that are responsive to the interrogatory.”).
Plaintiff adequately explained in its response that the bank records relate
specifically to the engines at issue and that they reflect the date, check or wire
number, source, and amount received. In other words, the response identifies where
to find the information requested.
Plaintiff also redacted the bank records (to
presumably remove extraneous information) and highlighted them to assist the
Defendant in locating the relevant information.
Because Plaintiff provided a
specific level of detail about the bank records in its discovery response, redacted the
documents, and took the additional step of highlighting them for the Defendant,
there is practically nothing more that Plaintiff could have done to comply with Rule
33(d). To this extent, Defendant’s Motion is DENIED.4
As for interrogatory 2, Defendant seeks to compel Plaintiff to provide an
amended answer and “[i]dentify what each payment identified in Interrogatory 1 was
for, and detail which contract or invoice it related to.” [D.E. 20]. Defendant argues
that Plaintiff’s objections are boilerplate and the limited records identified do not
properly respond to the discovery request nor allow Defendant to match payments to
specific contracts. Furthermore, Defendant suggests that two documents identified
on Plaintiff’s privilege log appear relevant to interrogatory 2 and should be produced.
As for Defendant’s contention that Plaintiff must identify whether any
responsive documents were withheld on the basis of privilege – for the years 2012,
2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 – Defendant’s argument is persuasive. Plaintiff's
confidentiality objections to Defendant’s interrogatories would be improper if, in fact,
Plaintiff withheld responsive documents. If no documents or information were
actually withheld, a clarifying statement to that effect is necessary. If Plaintiff,
however, relied on a privilege to withhold such materials, an amended privilege log is
required for those documents. To this extent, Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED.
Plaintiff’s response is that Defendant is attempting to create unnecessary
work. Plaintiff contends that the bank records produced show a date, amount, and
reference number and that Defendant can simply cross reference these records with
its own. As for the documents identified on Plaintiff’s privilege log, Plaintiff notes
that the materials are confidential commercial documents that cannot be produced
because their disclosure would purposely lead to irreparable harm.
specifically, the privileged documents relate to Plaintiff’s operations, financial
health, and internal procedures.
Defendant’s argument is, in part, persuasive because Plaintiff’s discovery
response fails to comply with Rule 33(d). Plaintiff’s response merely indicates that
it produced redacted bank records. The bank records themselves do not allow the
Defendant to determine what each payment was for and its relationship to a contract
or invoice. Many courts have found that vague references to documents do not
suffice under Rule 33(d) in connection with a broad and detailed discovery request.
See Capacchione v. Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools, 182 F.R.D. 486 (W.D.N.C. 1998);
In re Bilzerian, 190 B.R. 964 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1995). While Plaintiff suggests that
locating an answer for interrogatory 2 is easier if Defendant cross-referenced the
relevant documents, it is Plaintiff’s discovery response that needs more detail to be in
compliance with Rule 33(d). See Brown v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama,
2014 WL 3519100, at *4 (W.D.N.C. July 15, 2014) (“A party seeking to utilize Rule
33(d) must specify for each interrogatory the documents that ‘will actually reveal
answers to the interrogatories.”’) (citing Elfindepan, S.A., 206 F.R.D. at 576). To
this extent, Defendant’s Motion to compel a better answer to interrogatory 2 is
GRANTED. As for Defendant’s request for Plaintiff to produce two documents on
Plaintiff’s privilege log, Defendant provides no basis to support the relief requested
and Defendant’s Motion on this basis is DENIED.
Next, Defendant seeks an amended answer to interrogatory 3. Specifically,
interrogatory 3 states the following:
For each of [the] engines 517538, 530167, and 690352, specify by date,
amount, source of payment, and your account these payments were
deposited into, each payment received by you from or on behalf of
Evans, in connection with the sale of those three engines.
[D.E. 20]. Plaintiff claims that it fully complied with interrogatory 3 and produced
documents/redacted bank records reflecting the date, check or wire number, source,
and amount received by Plaintiff on behalf of Defendant within the relevant time
period related to the engines in the discovery request. As such, Plaintiff contends
that it identified and produced the responsive bank records – totaling fewer than
twenty five pages – with dates, check or wire numbers, sources, and amounts
displayed on their face.
Because these documents purportedly provide the
information responsive to Defendant’s interrogatory, Plaintiff argues that it has met
its discovery obligations and that Defendant’s Motion should be denied.
Defendant takes issue with Plaintiff’s response because Plaintiff has allegedly
failed to identify specific records as requested and the records produced appear to be
limited in nature. But, Defendant’s argument is unconvincing because, similar to
interrogatory 1, the response specifically indicates that the redacted bank records
provide all of the information requested and relate directly to the three engines in
question. For these reasons, Defendant’s Motion, as it relates to interrogatory 3 is
Pursuant to Defendant’s interrogatory 4 that requests Plaintiff to “[s]pecify
and describe all efforts made by you and each date that effort occurred on, to deliver
engines 517538, 530167 and 690352 to Evans,” [D.E. 20] Defendant contends that
Plaintiff’s discovery response contains improper boilerplate objections. Defendant
also takes issue with the fact that Plaintiff has not complied with Rule 33(d) because
Plaintiff allegedly failed to identify which documents are responsive to the
In response, Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s interrogatory is facially
overboard and intrudes upon confidential information.
objections, Plaintiff argues that it produced documents reflecting all of its efforts to
deliver the three jet engines to Defendant including: Air Waybills, correspondence,
shipment information, and invoices for the cost of transportation. As such, Plaintiff
suggests the significance of these documents is facially apparent and requiring a
written response by Plaintiff would constitute duplicative work.
The Court agrees that Plaintiff’s response to interrogatory 4 is inadequate.
By relying solely on the documents produced, Plaintiff attempts again to skirt around
Rule 33(d). Plaintiff’s response to interrogatory 5 does not even explain generically
the type of documents produced other than they are responsive to the discovery
Accordingly, as to Defendant’s interrogatory 4, Defendant’s Motion is
See, e.g., Unlimited Res. Inc. v. Deployed Res., LLC, 2009 WL 1370778,
at *3 (M.D. Fla. May 13, 2009) (finding that a party failed to provide “sufficient detail
to enable [the opposing party] to locate the responsive documents”).
Pursuant to Defendant’s interrogatory 5 that requests Plaintiff to “[s]pecify
and describe by date and actin taken, all efforts made by you to mitigate the damages
you claim to have incurred in relation to the attempted sale of engines 517538,
530167, and 690352,” [D.E. 20] Defendant contends that Plaintiff has failed to
identify a single document that answers this discovery request.
Defendant believes that there are a number of entries in the privilege log that
Plaintiff identifies specifically as relating to the mitigation of damages. Although
these documents may fall within a privilege, the “date and action taken” or the
“efforts made” by Plaintiff to mitigate its claimed damages allegedly do not meet that
criteria. Therefore, Defendant argues that Plaintiff should be compelled to answer
this interrogatory and specify its attempts to mitigate damages.
Plaintiff argues in response that it identified and produced documents
reflecting its efforts to mitigate damages including via Air Waybills, correspondence,
shipment information, and invoices for the cost of transportation. As such, Plaintiff
suggests that it has met its burden of identifying and producing documents that, on
their face, answer the interrogatory. Yet, Plaintiff’s interrogatory response fails for
the same reasons as articulated in interrogatory 4. There is nothing in the response
that identifies the records in sufficient detail to enable the Defendant to locate and
identify the responsive information.
Moreover, the response calls for a more
comprehensive showing of Plaintiff’s efforts to mitigate damages than what the
documents themselves could show. Accordingly, Defendant’s Motion, as it relates to
interrogatory 5, is GRANTED.5
Interrogatories 6 and 7
In response to Defendant’s interrogatories 6 and 7 that request Plaintiff to
specify the fair market value of the three engines (including the location of the jet
engines), Plaintiff contends that the interrogatories are seeking speculative
information. More specifically, Plaintiff argues that the term “fair market value” is
undefined in the discovery request and subject to many interpretations. Plaintiff
points out that Defendant did not provide any geographical scope or limitation in the
interrogatories, rendering an educated response impossible.
Given the inherent
variances in different markets, Plaintiff suggests that it should not be compelled to
As for Defendant’s suggestion, that some of the documents identified on
Plaintiff’s privilege log may not be privileged, there is nothing in Defendant’s Motion
that supports this conclusion other than the speculative assertion that the
documents relate in some way to the mitigation of damages. Without more legal
analysis or reasoning on why these documents should be produced, the Court has no
basis to compel Plaintiff to produce these materials. As a result, Defendant’s
Motion, on this basis, must be DENIED.
answer these interrogatories until it has retained an expert.
As such, Plaintiff
requests an extension to answer these interrogatories until it has retained an expert
who can properly respond with accurate information.
Defendant disputes the fact that Plaintiff cannot answer any part of the
interrogatories. For example, Defendant notes that part of interrogatory 6 seeks
information on the current location of each jet engine and that the information
requested obviously does not approach a legal conclusion, privileged information, or
the domain of an expert. Defendant also suggests that it would be acceptable for
Plaintiff to answer the remainder of interrogatories 6 and 7 at a later date if the
information is not currently known at this time.
Defendant’s position is, in part, well taken. Plaintiff has not explained how
the location of each jet engine requires the use of an expert, or how that information
is any way speculative or privileged. Therefore, Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED
to the extent that Plaintiff is compelled to provide a complete response to
interrogatory 6 on the current location of the jet engines. As for the remainder of
interrogatories 6 and 7, Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED in PART because
Plaintiff has not properly explained why it cannot provide a lay opinion of the fair
market value of the jet engines at this time. While it is persuasive that an expert
can provide a more accurate/detailed analysis of the information requested, Plaintiff
can certainly answer the interrogatories now and supplement its response at a later
date. See FED. R. CIV. P. 26(e). And, in supplementing a response at a later time,
the parties are directed to work cooperatively to determine the most appropriate
definition of “fair market value” to conserve judicial resources and avoid any future
discovery dispute on this issue. In other words, Plaintiff should communicate with
Defendant to the extent that there are any lingering questions on the information
Pursuant to interrogatory 9 that requests Plaintiff to “[s]pecify by payee, date,
amount and check or write number, each payment made by you to store, maintain,
preserve, transport, or for any expense which you are otherwise claiming an
entitlement to [sic] from Evans as damages, for engines 517538, 530167, and
690352,” [D.E. 20] Defendant contends that Plaintiff’s objections are boilerplate and
Specifically, Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s assertion that the
interrogatory seeks information not pertinent or relevant to the case is absurd.
Defendant also alleges that Plaintiff has failed to specify which documents answer
the interrogatory and that two entries on Plaintiff’s privilege log should be produced
because they appear relevant.
In response, Plaintiff argues that it identified and produced documents
containing the relevant information, including correspondence, invoices, and ledgers.
These documents purportedly speak for themselves and provide an excellent
response to interrogatory 9. Plaintiff argues that the relatively low volume of the
documents produced imposes a greater burden on Plaintiff to identify by specific
Bates stamp where the information is located than for Defendant to simply inspect
the documents. As for Defendant’s request for documents on Plaintiff’s privilege log
to be produced, Plaintiff notes that the documents relate to a confidential settlement
agreement that contains various terms and provisions. As such, the disclosure of
those documents would allegedly cause financial harm to Plaintiff and will likely
affect the manner in which Plaintiff conducts its business in the future. Because the
information requested is available via other documents and discovery tools, Plaintiff
argues that it should not be compelled to produce those documents.
After full consideration of the parties’ arguments, it is clear that Plaintiff must
supplement its discovery response and specify the records in greater detail so that
Defendant can locate the relevant information. As Plaintiff’s response stands now,
Plaintiff merely refers generically to the documents as “responsive,” yet Rule 33(d)
requires a level of sufficient detail in order for parties to comply with their discovery
obligations. While Plaintiff may believe that there is only a relatively low volume of
documents at issue for interrogatory 9, it does not excuse Plaintiff’s failure to comply
with Rule 33(d). In fact, the low volume of documents should make it an easier
burden for Plaintiff to amend its response and provide a sufficient level of the
documents produced. If Plaintiff cannot meet this requirement, “it must provide a
traditionally-styled answer to the interrogatory.” United States v. Peter R. Brown
Constr. Inc., 2012 WL 12903894, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 27, 2012). To this extent,
Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED.6
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that
Defendant’s Motion to Compel is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in part.
Plaintiff is compelled to provide better responses to Defendant within twenty-one
(21) days of the date of this Order.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, this 10th day of
/s/ Edwin G. Torres
EDWIN G. TORRES
United States Magistrate Judge
As for Defendant’s request to compel Plaintiff to produce documents on its
privilege log that appear relevant, Defendant has again failed to support its
argument with any support other than pure speculation. Moreover, Defendant’s
argument is devoid of any legal reasoning or case law that controls the discovery of
privileged materials. Accordingly, Defendant’s Motion as it relates to the discovery
of privileged items in response to interrogatory 9 is DENIED.
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