Peterson v. Outback Steakhouse, Inc. et al
OPINION and ORDER Granting Plaintiff's 22 Motion to Compel Discovery. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Case No. 15-13980
Honorable Linda V. Parker
OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE, INC. and
BLOOMIN’ BRANDS, INC.,
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO
COMPEL DISCOVERY [ECF NO. 22]
Plaintiff Renata Peterson commenced this action in Michigan state court
alleging negligence against Defendants Outback Steakhouse, Inc. and Bloomin’
Brands, Inc. (collectively, “Defendants”) for personal injuries that occurred at their
premises. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Discovery.
(ECF No. 22.)
The scope of discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is
traditionally quite broad. Lewis v. ACB Bus. Servs., 135 F.3d 389, 402 (6th Cir.
1998). Parties may obtain discovery on any matter that is not privileged and is
relevant to any party’s claim or defense if it is reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery admissible evidence. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Rule 33 allows a party to
serve requests for production of documents on an opposing party. Fed. R. Civ. P.
33. A party receiving these types of discovery requests has 30 days to respond
with answers or objections. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2). If the receiving party fails to
respond, Rule 37 provides the party who sent the discovery requests the means to
file a motion to compel. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iii) and (iv). If a court grants
a Rule 37 motion to compel, then the court must award reasonable expenses and
attorney’s fees to the successful party, unless the successful party did not confer in
good faith before the motion, the opposing party’s position was substantially
justified, or other circumstances would make an award unjust. Fed. R. Civ. P.
Plaintiff filed the instant motion December 9, 2016. (ECF No. 22.) In her
motion, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have failed to respond to Plaintiff’s First
Interrogatories and Requests for Production that were served on June 30, 2016.
(Id. at Pg ID 286.) This Court held a telephonic status conference with the parties
on November 9, 2016 stating that Defendants must respond to Plaintiff with
answers to their previous discovery requests on or before December 2, 2016. On
November 11, counsel for the Defendants e-mailed Plaintiff’s counsel and stated
that they will file their responses by November 23. (ECF No. 22-4.) After missing
that deadline, Plaintiff’s counsel reached out on November 28, 2016, asking
defense counsel for a status on the responses. (ECF No. 22-5.) As of the filing of
the motion to compel, Plaintiff has not received a response from Defendants. (ECF
No. 22 at Pg ID 287.)
Defendants have failed to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery requests by the
initial deadline and subsequent deadline agreed upon during the telephonic status
conference in November. Similarly, Defendants have failed to file a response to
Plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery. Defendants have now had over six months
since Plaintiff submitted her discovery requests. (ECF No. 22 at Pg ID 286.)
Despite having over 45 days since Plaintiff filed its Motion to Compel, Defendants
have not filed any response. Defendants were required to respond to Plaintiff’s
interrogatories within 30 days of service. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2). Defendants
were also required to respond to Defendant’s motion within 14 days. E.D. Mich.
By not filing any proper objections during the response period, Defendants
have waived any objections to the discovery. Further, Defendants have not
presented any reason why awarding reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees would
be unjust under Rule 37. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(A)(5)(a) (requiring court to award
reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees “unless the successful party did not confer
in good faith before the motion, the opposing party’s position was substantially
justified, or other circumstances would make an award unjust.”)
Therefore, the Court will grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Discovery and
order Defendants to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery requests.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Discovery (ECF No.
22) is GRANTED. Defendants must submit to Plaintiff’s counsel full and
complete responses, without objection, to Plaintiff’s First Interrogatories and
Requests for Production within 14 days of this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants and their attorneys shall pay
Plaintiff’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs associated with its Motion to
Compel Discovery. Counsel for Plaintiff shall submit a certification of time
invested in the Motion, along with its billing rate, and any costs.
Any objections to Plaintiff’s certifications shall be filed within ten (10) days.
s/ Linda V. Parker
LINDA V. PARKER
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: January 24, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of
record and/or pro se parties on this date, January 24, 2017, by electronic and/or
U.S. First Class mail.
s/ Richard Loury
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