Logan v. MGM Grand Detroit Casino
ORDER granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's 34 Motion to Compel--Signed by Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti. (MWil)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 4:16-CV-10585
District Judge Linda V. Parker
Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti
MGM GRAND DETROIT CASINO,
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT TO ANSWER
INTERROGATORIES (DE 34)
The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery, Defendant’s
response, and Plaintiff’s reply. (DE 34, 35 & 37.) The Court has also reviewed
the first set of interrogatories and document requests in question and the responses
thereto, the second set of interrogatories and document requests in question and the
responses thereto, as well as Defendant’s supplemental responses to both sets of
discovery requests. (DE 35-3 – 35-6.) Based upon Defendant’s supplementation
of some of the requests which were challenged in Plaintiff’s opening brief, and the
more limited scope of requests discussed in her post-supplementation reply brief,
the Court will restrict its analysis to those requests/responses which appear to
remain in dispute, and will not address those requests/responses which appear to
have been resolved. The Court finds it unnecessary to hold oral argument on this
motion, and accordingly reaches its decision on the papers alone.
Plaintiff pleads two claims in her complaint, namely, sex discrimination
(Count I) and retaliation (Count II). Her pleadings do not present a model of
clarity, although the Court recognizes her pro se status and construes them broadly
for purposes of this motion and when construing the scope of discovery.
Defendant responded to nearly all, if not every single, discovery requests with a
rote objection, stating that, “Defendant objects to this request and its subparts as
vague, overly broad, and unduly burdensome. Defendant further objects as this
request and its subparts are neither relevant to Plaintiff’s claims nor proportional to
the needs of the case.” The Court neither condones nor appreciates pro forma
objections. As Plaintiff correctly points out, “generalized objections that a
discovery request is unduly burdensome are insufficient; rather, the party objecting
to the requested discovery on the grounds of undue burdensomeness must submit
an affidavit or offer other evidence ‘revealing the nature of the burden.’” (DE 34
at 7.) Likewise, my practice guidelines for discovery state that:
[A] party objecting to a request for production of documents as
unduly burdensome must submit affidavits or other evidence to
substantiate its objections. In re Heparin Prods. Liab. Litig., 273
F.R.D. 399, 410-411 (N.D. Ohio 2011); Sallah v. Worldwide
Clearing, LLC, 855 F. Supp. 2d 1364, 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2012);
Convertino v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 565 F. Supp. 2d 10, 14 (D.D.C.
Defendant makes no real effort to comply with this requirement.
Nevertheless, the Court will not enforce discovery requests which are vague,
lacking in foundation, abusive, violative of the local or national procedural rules,
or which offend judicial economy by unduly expanding the scope of discovery
beyond what is warranted by the case. The Court always remains cognizant of its
responsibility to construe, administer and employ the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure “to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every
action and proceeding.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 1. The scope of discovery – which
permits a party to obtain “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” – is always subject
to being “limited by court order[,]” and thus, within the sound discretion of the
court. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). In terms of the parties’ relative access to relevant
information and their respective resources, the Court acknowledges that Plaintiff is
a pro se litigant who worked in a modest service job at Defendant Casino, i.e., the
MGM Grand Detroit Casino, the latter of which, without a doubt, has more access
to information and substantially greater resources than does Plaintiff.
In light of these considerations and its own review of the discovery requests,
objections, responses and supplemental responses at issue, the Court makes the
following findings and gives the following directives with regard to the respective
requests at issue:
Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories and Requests to Produce
Int. No. 1: The Court finds that this interrogatory is premature and
that it is unnecessary to obtain this information in order to respond to
Defendant’s impending motion for summary judgment; rather, this
interrogatory seeks information which would only be relevant to the
question of punitive damages, if liability were established and such
damages were appropriate and awarded. Accordingly, Defendant will
not be required to answer this interrogatory unless this case survives
summary judgment, at which point Defendant will have 21 days
within which to list its net profits for the years 2011 through 2016.
The Court recognizes, as Defendant points out, that this information
may be publicly available, but it also recognizes that Defendant
should have ready access to it and that Plaintiff, as a layperson, should
not have to go on what may be a wild goose chase to find it.
Int. No. 2: The Court agrees that this interrogatory, on its face, is
overbroad and possibly unduly burdensome, and thus limits
Defendant’s responsibility to identifying the names of any cases in
which this defendant had judgment entered against it for race or
gender discrimination, retaliation and/or for maintaining a hostile
work environment (including, for each, the case number, date of
judgment and identity of the court in which the case was pending)
between November 1, 2011 and November 30, 2014. The scope of
this interrogatory shall not include Defendant’s parent companies,
subsidiaries, or related entities.
Int. No. 9: Defendant’s objections to this interrogatory are not well
taken and are overruled. Plaintiff’s interrogatory relates to a relatively
short period of time, namely 2013 and 2014, and information which
would not otherwise be obtainable. Defendant must either identify
any policies, procedures and practices that relate to the management
team’s distribution of daily job assignments in the Wolfgang Puck
Steakhouse by producing the same and providing an answer with
Bates stamp references, or state definitively that there are no such
policies, procedures or practices.
Req. to Prod. 9: Defendant must certify that its answer to this
request, as supplemented, is complete. Based upon the information
(or the lack thereof) that the parties have placed before the Court
regarding this request and response, the Court is unable to determine
whether more is required.
Int. No. 10: Defendant’s objections to this interrogatory are rote, illfounded and overruled. Defendant must answer.
Int. No. 11: Defendant’s objections to this interrogatory are rote, illfounded and largely overruled. Defendant must respond to this request
for the year 2014 with respect to the Wolfgang Puck Steakhouse and
Cucina Restaurant at Defendant’s Detroit Casino. Defendant may
respond to any subpart (a-c) by producing documents in lieu of an
answer, so long as the documents are referenced in its response by
Bates stamp number or range.
Plaintiff’s Second Set of Interrogatories and Requests to Produce
Int. No. 2: Defendant’s response and supplemental response are
Int. No. 11: Defendant’s response and supplemental response are
Int. Nos. 15-16: Defendant’s objection to Plaintiff exceeding 25
interrogatories is sustained. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1). Defendant’s
answer and supplemental answer are adequate. Plaintiff is free to
depose the person who allegedly called her into his office and ask this
question (and other questions, if she so chooses) before the end of
Int. No. 17: Defendant’s objection to Plaintiff exceeding 25
interrogatories is sustained. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1). The answer and
supplemental answer are adequate.
Int. No. 19: Defendant’s objection to Plaintiff exceeding 25
interrogatories is well taken under Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1); however,
given how little effort it should take for Defendant to answer this
question, Plaintiff’s pro se status, and Defendant’s previously
demonstrated willingness to supplement this answer, the Court will
permit Plaintiff to exceed the maximum number of interrogatories in
this instance and require Defendant to name the individual or
individuals within Plaintiff’s Department and within the Human
Resources Department, as had been previously and generally
referenced in the prior supplementation, who approved of Plaintiff’s
April 9, 2014 return. The identities of decision-makers may be a
crucial piece of information in an employment case. There is no point
in shielding these identities from disclosure.
Int. No. 21: Defendant’s objection to Plaintiff exceeding 25
interrogatories is sustained. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1). Defendant’s
answer and supplemental answer are adequate, as it essentially takes
the position that Plaintiff’s interrogatory lacks foundation, thus
indicating that there is a factual dispute on this issue.
All supplemental interrogatory answers which are required by this order must be
sworn. Full contact information (last known street address, phone number and email address) must be supplied for any person the Court is requiring to be
identified who is no longer employed by Defendant. The deadline for complying
with the directives of this order, except as otherwise stated herein, is May 15,
2017. The Court finds that it would be unjust to award costs or attorney’s fees, as
neither party entirely prevailed, and neither party completely complied with the
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: May 3, 2017
s/Anthony P. Patti
Anthony P. Patti
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
I hereby certify that a copy of the following document was sent to parties of record
on May 3, 2017, electronically and/or by U.S. Mail.
Case Manager for the
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