Whitney Bank v. S M I Companies Global Inc et al
MEMORANDUM RULING re 39 Motion to Compel. Considering the evidence, the law, and the arguments of the parties, and for the reasons fully explained herein, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the oral argument previously scheduled for March 22, 2018 is CANCELLED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick J Hanna on 3/12/2018. (crt,Alexander, E)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DIVISION OF LOUISIANA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:16-cv-01427
SMI COMPANIES GLOBAL, INC.
AND VAUGHN S. LANE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HANNA
Currently pending is the motion to compel that was filed by defendants SMI
Companies Global, Inc. and Vaughn S. Lane. (Rec. Doc. 39). The motion is
opposed. Considering the evidence, the law, and the arguments of the parties, and for
the reasons fully explained below, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
In this business dispute, Whitney Bank is seeking to collect amounts allegedly
owed by the defendants pursuant to two promissory notes executed by SMI and
guaranteed by SMI’s director, officer, and shareholder, Mr. Lane. The bank is also
seeking recognition of the enforceability of the bank’s security interest in SMI’s
accounts receivables. The defendants asserted counterclaims against the bank.
The defendants propounded their second set of requests for the production of
documents on October 25, 2017. The bank responded with objections and refused to
produce documents responsive to certain of the requests. This motion followed.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) permits discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter
that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case. Although Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a)(1)(A) permits a party to request the production
of any documents or electronically stored information, any such request must conform
to the scope of discovery set forth in Rule 26(b)(1). With these rules in mind, this
Court has reviewed the requests for production and now rules as follows.
SMI’s Request No. 1 requested the production of all written procedures or
guidelines for the bank’s “Asset Based Lending Department.” This Court finds this
request to be relevant, reasonable, and proportional. Therefore, with regard to
Request No. 1, the motion is granted.
SMI’s Request No. 2 sought the production of the forbearance agreement
typically used by the bank when dealing with certain types of customers. This Court
finds that any agreements actually used in dealing with SMI are relevant and
discoverable but any other agreements not used by the bank in its dealings with SMI
are not relevant. Accordingly, with regard to Request No. 2, the motion is denied.
SMI’s Request No. 3 sought a copy of all written procedure used by the bank’s
commercial lending department employees, credit department employees, or special
assets employees applicable to any of the bank’s commercial loan customers. This
Court finds Request No. 3 to be overly broad and therefore not proportional to the
needs of the case. Accordingly, with regard to Request No. 3, the motion is denied.
Request No. 4 sought the production of certain specified documents that were
used by certain listed bank employees “in the origination, handling, or management
of the SMI Companies Global lines of credit at issue in this litigation.” Because the
information sought in this request is tailored to the actual transactions involving the
bank and SMI and underlying this litigation, this Court finds it to be relevant and
discoverable. Accordingly, with regard to Request No. 4, the motion is granted.
Request No. 6 seeks the production of job descriptions for certain listed bank
employees. This Court fails to discern the relevance or importance of this request.
Accordingly, with regard to Request No. 6, the motion is denied.
Request No. 7 seeks the production of certain documents that might be used by
the bank in certain situations involving the release of a customer’s claims against the
bank. This Court fails to discern the relevance or importance of this request.
Accordingly, with regard to Request No. 7, the motion is denied.
All of the other requests for production were answered and are not currently
The defendants also seek to recover expenses and fees incurred in bringing this
motion. Under Rule 37(a)(5)(C), a court is not required to award attorneys’ fees or
costs when a motion to compel is granted in part and denied in part. Accordingly, to
the extent that the defendants’ motion seeks the recovery of the fees and costs
incurred in bringing this motion, the motion is denied.
Having resolved the motion on the basis of the parties’ briefing, oral argument
For the foregoing reasons,
IT IS ORDERED that the defendants’ motion to compel (Rec. Doc. 39) is
GRANTED with regard to Request for Production Nos. 1 and 4, and the plaintiff shall
produce all responsive documents not more than fourteen days following the date of
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, in all other respects, the motion to compel
(Rec. Doc. 39) is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the oral argument previously scheduled for
March 22, 2018 is CANCELLED.
Signed at Lafayette, Louisiana, this 12th day of March 2018.
PATRICK J. HANNA
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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