Olivier v. International Snubbing Services L L C et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER. IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' Motions to Compel and for Attorneys Fees (Rec. Doc. 18 and 21) are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Defendants may re-file an appropriate motion, subject to the Court's caution discussed herein. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick J Hanna on 9/15/2020. (crt,Alexander, E)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CASE NO. 6:19-CV-01178
SERVICES L L C ET AL
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HANNA
Before the Court are two Motions to Compel and for Attorneys’ Fees filed on
behalf of International Snubbing Services LLC and Steve Courville. (Rec. Doc. 18
and 21 respectively). Plaintiff, Paige Olivier, opposes the Motions. (Rec. Doc. 25
Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against her former employer, International
Snubbing Services (“ISS”), and Steve Courville for alleged sexual harassment and
FMLA retaliation. (Rec. Doc. 1). Defendants propounded written discovery upon
Plaintiff and sought dates for her deposition. (Rec. Doc. 18-2; 21-2). Defendants
contend Plaintiff failed to respond to the discovery within the thirty days permitted
by F.R.C.P. Rule 33 and 34 or to provide deposition dates as requested. (Rec. Doc.
Plaintiff opposed ISS’s Motion on the grounds that additional time is needed
to respond to the discovery, because Plaintiff and her son were both ill with COVID19. Plaintiff further indicated in her Opposition that ISS’s counsel “refused to
discuss” a request for an extension of time to answer discovery. (Rec. Doc. 25, p. 2).
Email correspondence attached to Defendant Courville’s Motion indicates that
Courville’s counsel and a representative from Plaintiff’s counsel office were
communicating regarding the discovery responses. On August 24, 2020 at 3:52 p.m.,
Plaintiff’s counsel advised as follows:
I am writing to let you know that we should be finished answering Paige
Olivier's discovery around five or six tonight. However, I just spoke
with Ms. Olivier and was informed that she still has a few answers to
forward to us, but she will not be able to do so until tomorrow seeing
that her son was recently admitted to the ER. I will forward her
supplemental answers to you tomorrow as soon as I received them.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
(Rec. Doc. 21-4, p. 1).
Nonetheless, the record reflects that Courville’s counsel filed his Motion to
Compel later that same date, August 24, 2020 at 6:50 p.m., thirty-eight (38) days
after the discovery was served. (Rec. Doc. 21-2). ISS filed its Motion to Compel
forty-two (42) days after its discovery was served. (Rec. Doc. 18-2).
Plaintiff does not deny that discovery responses were not submitted within the
thirty-day period mandated by F.R.C.P. Rule 33 and 34. Plaintiff submits that
discovery responses have since been provided to both Defendants. (Rec. Doc. 25, p.
2; Rec. Doc. 26, p. 1).
The Court is troubled by Defendants’ Motions to Compel. ISS’s Motion was
filed only twelve (12) days after responses were due. ISS did not present any
evidence of a meaningful attempt to communicate with Plaintiff’s counsel regarding
an extension. Rather, ISS presented one email from its counsel to Plaintiff’s counsel
on August 19, 2020 in which she advised that she would call him on Friday to discuss
discovery issues, without any time noted or giving an option to reschedule. (Rec.
Courville’s Motion was filed a mere eight (8) days after responses due, and
then in spite of correspondence from Plaintiff’s counsel indicating that Plaintiff was
caring for her son in the emergency room, while attempting to respond to discovery.
The Court admonishes the attorneys for the defendants to consider professional
courtesies and judicial resources before filing Rule 37 motions to compel that
needlessly require briefing when a brief extension under the circumstances was
clearly in order as a matter of professionalism. (Counsel are referred to the Code of
Professionalism for guidance.) Based upon Plaintiff’s counsel’s representation in the
Oppositions that responses have since been submitted to Defendants,
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ Motions to Compel and for Attorneys’
Fees (Rec. Doc. 18 and 21) are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Defendants may
re-file an appropriate motion, subject to the Court’s caution discussed above.
THUS DONE in Chambers, Lafayette, Louisiana on this 15th day of
PATRICK J. HANNA
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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