Hill et al v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company et al
ORDER granting 11 Motion to Compel Discovery Responses; granting 11 MOTION for Leave to conduct the depositions and Independent Medical Examinations of Plaintiffs after the 10/13/20 fact discovery deadline; denying request for reasonable expense s associated with filing Motion to Compel; denying as moot 12 Motion to Expedite. Deadline for Plaintiffs to submit substantive responses to Defendants' discovery requests: 11/16/20. Deadline for depositions and Independent Medical Examinations: 11/30/20. Signed by Magistrate Judge Scott D. Johnson on 11/16/20. (DCB)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
JEFFREY HILL, et al.
COMPANY, et al.
Before the Court are the Motion to Compel Discovery Responses and Motion for Leave to
Take Depositions Outside of Discovery Period (“Motion to Compel”) (R. Doc. 11), filed on
October 7, 2020, and Motion to Expedite same (R. Doc. 12), filed on October 12, 2020, both by
Defendants Auto-Owners Insurance Company, TLK Transportation, LLC, and Daniel Taylor
(collectively, “Defendants”). In their Motion to Compel, Defendants seek an order compelling
Plaintiffs to provide responses to Defendants’ pending discovery requests. Defendants also seek
leave to conduct the depositions and Independent Medical Examinations (“IMEs”) of Plaintiffs
after the October 13, 2020 fact discovery deadline, as well as an award of their reasonable
expenses, including attorney’s fees, associated with filing the instant Motion to Compel pursuant
to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs oppose Defendants’ Motion to
Compel (R. Doc. 14).
According to Defendants, they served Interrogatories and Requests for Production of
Documents on Plaintiffs on June 8, 2020.1 Following the expiration of Plaintiffs’ statutory
deadline to respond to said discovery requests, counsel for Defendants, instead of filing a motion
R. Doc. 11 at 1.
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to compel, filed a consent motion to extend the fact discovery deadline, which was granted, giving
the parties until October 13, 2020 to resolve their discovery issues.2 During a phone conversation
after the extension had been granted, Plaintiff’s counsel “assured Defendants’ counsel that Plaintiff
would respond to the Discovery Requests by the end of August, at the latest.”3 Those responses,
however, were not produced.4 Similarly, Plaintiffs’ counsel did not provide prospective dates on
which Defendants could conduct the depositions or IMEs of Plaintiffs, which had yet to take
On September 22, 2020, prior to filing this Motion to Compel, counsel for Defendants sent
an email to Plaintiffs’ counsel asking that discovery responses be sent by September 25, 2020, and
for tentative dates for scheduling Plaintiffs’ depositions prior to the October 13, 2020 fact
discovery deadline.6 Defendants’ counsel received no response.7 Counsel sent a second email to
Plaintiffs’ counsel on September 29, 2020, saying they may need to file a discovery motion given
the impending fact discovery deadline.8 Again, receiving no response, Defendants filed the instant
Motion to Compel.9
Plaintiffs filed an opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Compel, claiming that Defendants’
Motion to Compel was “premature and procedurally defective” because Defendants failed to
adequately confer with Plaintiffs regarding the outstanding discovery prior to filing the Motion to
Compel.10 Specifically, Plaintiffs’ counsel claims he never received the emails sent by defense
R. Doc. 11-2 at 2-3.
Id. at 3.
Id.; R. Doc. 11-5.
R. Doc. 11-2 at 3.
Id.; R. Doc. 11-6.
R. Doc. 11-2 at 3.
R. Doc. 14 at 1, 2.
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counsel on September 22 and 29, 2020.11 A teleconference with the Parties subsequently was held
before this Court on October 28, 2020, during which Defendants’ pending motions and the status
of discovery were discussed.12
A. Motion to Compel
Given Plaintiffs’ failure to respond to Defendants’ discovery requests and to schedule the
depositions and IMEs of Plaintiffs, the parties that instigated this litigation, this Court hereby
compels Plaintiffs to respond to Defendants’ discovery requests. In addition, this Court will allow
the depositions and IMEs of Plaintiffs to be conducted after the fact discovery deadline; however,
those must take place on or before November 30, 2020.
B. Request for Reimbursement of Expenses
“Rule 37(a)(5)(A) provides that the payment of expenses by the non-moving party is
required if the motion to compel is granted or if the discovery is provided after the filing of the
motion.” Sabree v. Whelan Sec. Co., No. 17-1100, 2019 WL 511837, at *2 n.1 (M.D. La. Feb. 8,
2019). However, a court “must not order this payment” if the party seeking expenses “filed the
motion before attempting in good faith to obtain the disclosure or discovery without court action”
or if “other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)(i), (iii).
Here, the Court recognizes that counsel for Defendants sent two emails to Plaintiffs’ counsel
discussing the Parties’ outstanding discovery issues and attempting to resolve same. However, no
phone call was ever placed to Plaintiffs’ counsel, or other means of communicated attempted,
before Defendants filed the instant Motion. While the Court does not find that Defendants failed
to engage in a good faith attempt to resolve these discovery issues prior to filing their Motion to
Id. at 2.
R. Doc. 16.
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Compel, as explained during the October 28, 2020 teleconference, Defendants’ attempts were not
so robust as to warrant an award of expenses in this matter.
For the foregoing reasons,
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Compel Discovery Responses and Motion
for Leave to Take Depositions Outside of Discovery Period (R. Doc. 11) is GRANTED. Plaintiffs
must submit substantive responses to Defendants’ discovery requests by November 16, 2020.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants are hereby granted leave to conduct the
depositions and Independent Medical Examinations of Plaintiffs after the October 13, 2020 fact
discovery deadline. The deadline for completing these is November 30, 2020.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ request for reasonable expenses
associated with filing the instant Motion to Compel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
37 is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that in light of this Order, Defendants’ Motion to Expedite
Motion to Compel Discovery Responses and Motion for Leave to Take Depositions Outside of
Discovery Period (R. Doc. 12) is DENIED AS MOOT.
Signed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on November 16, 2020.
SCOTT D. JOHNSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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