Huval v. The Louisiana State University Police Department, et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 17 Motion to Compel Discovery Responses. Signed by Magistrate Judge Richard L. Bourgeois, Jr. on 7/14/2017. (LLH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
THE BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPT.
THROUGH THE CITY OF BATON ROUGE, ET AL.
Before the Court is Defendants Baton Rouge Police Department through the City of Baton
Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana, Cpl. Troy
McCreary, and Officer Ory Holmes’ (collectively, “Movants”) Motion to Compel Discovery (R.
Doc. 17) filed on June 14, 2017. Plaintiff has not filed a response within the time allowed by
Local Rule 7(f). Accordingly, the Motion is unopposed.
This is a civil rights action initiated by Blake Huval (“Plaintiff”) in state court and
subsequently removed by one of the defendants. (R. Doc. 1). Among other things, Plaintiff
alleges that in light of injuries suffered during a wrongful arrest, he has sustained a loss of wages
and wage-earning capacity. (R. Doc. 1-2 at 6).
On May 9, 2017, Movants requested Plaintiff to supplement his responses to previously
served discovery requests: Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for Production Nos. 1, 2,
and 3. (R. Doc. 17-3 at 5-6). It is unclear from the record, however, when these previously served
discovery requests were actually served on Plaintiff, and to what extent, if any, Plaintiff responded
or objected to those discovery requests in a timely manner. That same day, Movants served a
single Supplemental Request for Production of Documents on Plaintiff (“Request for Production
No. 8”). (R. Doc. 17-3 at 7-10).
Movants assert that pursuant to Rules 33(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, Plaintiff had until June 8, 2017 to respond to the request for supplemental
responses and the supplemental request for production. (R. Doc. 17-1 at 1).
On June 8, 2017, Movants’ counsel sent an email to Plaintiff’s counsel to check on the
status of Plaintiff’s responses. (R. Doc. 17-4 at 2). Plaintiff’s counsel responded the next day that
the responses would likely be provided by the beginning of the following week. (R. Doc. 17-4 at
On June 13, 2017, Movants’ counsel attempted to contact Plaintiff’s counsel to schedule a
Rule 37(a)(1) conference, but was informed that Plaintiff’s counsel was out of the country until
June 23, 2017. (R. Doc. 17-4 at 1; R. Doc. 17-5).
On June 14, 2017, the deadline to complete non-expert discovery, Movants filed the instant
motion. (R. Doc. 17).
Law and Analysis
“Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may
obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or
defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake
in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the
parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of
discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). The
court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery if it determines that: “(i) the discovery
sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that
is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had
ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed
discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C).
“The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from
annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1).
Rule 26(c)’s “good cause” requirement indicates that the party seeking a protective order has the
burden “to show the necessity of its issuance, which contemplates a particular and specific
demonstration of fact as distinguished from stereotyped and conclusory statements.” In re Terra
Int'l, Inc., 134 F.3d 302, 306 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting United States v. Garrett, 571 F.2d 1323,
1326 n.3 (5th Cir. 1978)).
Rules 33 and 34 provide a party with 30 days after service of the discovery to respond or
object. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A). If a party fails to respond fully to discovery
requests made pursuant as to Rules 33 and 34 in the time allowed by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the party seeking discovery may move to compel disclosure and for appropriate
sanctions under Rule 37. An “evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must be
treated as a failure to disclose, answer or respond.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(4).
Supplemental Responses to Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and
Request for Production Nos. 1, 2, and 3
Movants have provided the text of Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for
Production Nos. 1, 2, and 3 in the context of their request for supplemental responses. (R. Doc. 173 at 5-6). Movants have not, however, indicated whether and to what extent Plaintiff responded
and/or objected to those discovery requests prior to the request for supplemental responses. In the
absence of Plaintiff’s original responses and/or objections, if any, the Court is unable to determine
whether and to what extent an order requiring supplemental responses or a waiver of objections is
Nevertheless, considering the procedural posture of this case, Plaintiff’s counsel’s
representation that supplemental responses would be provided prior to the discovery deadline, and
Plaintiff’s lack of any response to the instant motion, the Court will require Plaintiff to respond to
Movant’s request for supplemental responses to Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for
Production Nos. 1, 2, and 3 within 7 days of the date of this Order.
If Plaintiff’s supplemental responses do not moot Movant’s concerns, then may renew their
motion to compel with regard to Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for Production Nos. 1,
2, and 3 within 14 days of Plaintiff’s supplemental responses. Movants must schedule and hold a
Rule 37(a)(1) conference prior to filing any renewed motion. Furthermore, any renewed motion
must, as required by Local Rule 37, quote verbatim each interrogatory or request for production to
which the motion is addressed, followed immediately by the verbatim initial and/or supplemental
responses or objections provided by Plaintiff. Plaintiff should anticipate an expedited briefing
schedule and/or a required court appearance on any such renewed motion.
Request for Production No. 8
Request for Production No. 8 seeks “[a]ny and all federal and/or state income tax returns
filed by [Plaintif] for the last five (5) years together with W-2’s and all accompanying documents
(or any other documents evidencing you claim for loss of earnings and/or loss of earning
capacity).” (R. Doc. 17-3 at 10).
It appears from the May 9, 2017 letter that the requests for supplemental responses was the beginning of a
dialogue between the parties regarding the sufficiency of earlier responses or objections, if any. Based on
the specific circumstances of this case, the Court does not find that this letter triggered a new 30 day
deadline to provide responses pursuant to Rule 33(b)(2) or 34(b)(2)(A). Accordingly, the Court will not
conclude that Plaintiff has waived his objections with regard to Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request
for Production Nos. 1, 2, and 3 on the basis that he did not respond within 30 days to Movants’ request for
Considering Plaintiff’s claims for lost wages and earning capacity, this request seeks
information within the scope of discovery. Plaintiff has not timely objected or responded to this
discovery request. Accordingly, with the exception of any applicable privileges and/or
immunities, Plaintiff has waived any objections to this document request. See In re United States,
864 F.2d 1153, 1156 (5th Cir. 1989) (“[A]s a general rule, when a party fails to object timely to
interrogatories, production requests, or other discovery efforts, objections thereto are waived.”);
B&S Equip. Co. v. Truckla Servs., Inc., No. 09-3862, 2011 WL 2637289, at *6 (E.D. La. July 6,
2011) (finding waiver of all objections to “discovery requests based on relevance, unduly
burdensome, over broad, or any other objection not grounded on the attorney client or the work
Request for Reasonable Expenses
Where a motion to compel is granted in part and denied in part, the Court may “apportion
the reasonable expenses for the motion” after “giving an opportunity to be heard.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
37(a)(5)(C). Although it does not excuse Plaintiff’s failure to respond to Movant’s request for
supplementation and failure to respond to the instant motion, the Court finds it appropriate to
order each party to bear its own costs.
Based on the foregoing,
IT IS ORDERED that the Motion to Compel (R. Doc. 17) is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall respond to Movant’s request for
supplemental responses to Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for Production Nos. 1, 2,
and 3 (R. Doc. 17-3 at 1-2) within 7 days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff may raise any
applicable response and/or objection to these supplemental requests. Movants shall file any
renewed motion to compel with regard to Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for
Production Nos. 1, 2, and 3 within 14 days of Plaintiff’s supplemental responses,2 but not before
scheduling and holding a Rule 37(a)(1) conference.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall respond to Request for Production No. 8
without objection, other than the attorney-client privilege and/or work product immunity, within 7
days of the date of this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall bear their own expenses.
Signed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 14, 2017.
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
If supplemental responses have already been provided, then the deadline to file a renewed motion to compel is 14
days from the filing of this Order.
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