Risk v. Wells Fargo & Company et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 18 Motion to Compel. See Order for details. (Written Opinion) Signed by Magistrate Judge Katherine M. Menendez on 4/26/2021. (BJP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Lee Anne Judith Risk,
Wells Fargo & Company, and Wells Fargo
This matter is before the Court on the motion to compel discovery filed by the
Plaintiff, Lee Anne Judith Risk. Pl.’s Mot., ECF No. 18. The Court held a hearing on the
motion on April 8, 2021, at which Ms. Risk and the Defendants were represented by
counsel. The Court issued a bench ruling on Ms. Risk’s motion, which is memorialized in
this Order. Consistent with the Court’s bench ruling, Ms. Risk’s motion to compel is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
The motion is GRANTED IN PART to the extent it seeks a more complete answer
to Interrogatory No. 7, which asks the Defendants to identify each employee who worked in
the Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center branch offices in 2002 who would or might have
dealt with enrolling customers in Defendants’ payment protection plans. Consistent with
defense counsel’s representation that they are continuing to investigate whether these
individuals can be identified, the Defendants shall engage in reasonable efforts to identify the
relevant employees and disclose information regarding them in response to this
The motion is also GRANTED IN PART with respect to Interrogatories Nos. 2
and 3 and Requests for Production 5 and 6. A subset of the requested information about
other complaints regarding credit card payment protection plans is relevant and proportional
to the needs of the case, but as drafted, these requests are radically overbroad in light of the
proportionality considerations applicable under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1).
The parties are required to engage in further efforts to meet and confer about a reasonable
framework for the Defendants’ response to these requests. The Court’s guidance specifically
advised that the parties should consider a two-year date range and a geographic limitation
that is likely smaller than the State of Minnesota, but includes the two branches at issue.
The motion is DENIED IN PART to the extent that it seeks additional answers to
Requests for Production 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9,1 which seek information specific to Ms. Risk’s
credit card account that is at issue in this litigation. Defendants’ counsel represented at the
hearing that they have produced all of the information responsive to these requests and that
Defendants have no other records to be produced.
The motion is DENIED IN PART to the extent that it seeks further answers to
Interrogatories Nos. 4, 5, and 6, which ask, respectively for Defendants to identify a broad
swath of internal communications regarding payment protection plans; analyses and
projections of revenues and profits derived from payment protection plans; and the actual
income or revenue obtained from such plans. These requests are wildly overbroad and seek
discovery that is disproportionate to the needs of the case.
Finally, the request for attorney’s fees is hereby denied. ECF No. 22 at 19–20. The
record does not clearly demonstrate that plaintiff fully explored efforts at meeting and
conferring prior to filing the motion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(F)(A)(i). In addition, the motion
was granted in part and denied in part, and the Court finds that apportionment of attorney’s
fees is unnecessary under the circumstances of this case. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(4)(C)
(providing that the court may apportion reasonable expenses for a motion that is granted in
part and denied in part).
With respect to Interrogatory No. 9, which seeks identification of information the
Defendants may use for impeachment at trial, the Court notes that Defendants did not
disagree that impeachment evidence is relevant, but believes the interrogatory is premature.
The Court agrees that, at this time, the interrogatory is premature, but that the Defendants
should appropriately supplement their response to this interrogatory or otherwise make the
Plaintiff aware of evidence that will be used for impeachment at an appropriate time prior to
Date: April 26, 2021
United States Magistrate Judge
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