Salazar et al v. Landis+Gyr Technology, Inc., et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motions to Compel filed by Defendants Henkels & McCoy, Inc. (ECF No. 26 ) and Landis+Gyr Technology, Inc. (ECF No. 27 ) are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, consistent with this Memorandum a nd Order. Plaintiffs shall fully answer the interrogatories and requests for productions other than requests for the workers' compensation agreement no later than August 12, 2015. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall submit a motion fo r protective order and a proposed protective order regarding the discoverable confidential settlement agreements no later than August 10, 2015. (Response to Court due by 8/10/2015.) Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on August 5, 2015. (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JAMES SALAZAR and DAWN SALAZAR,
LANDIS+GYR TECHNOLOGY, INC.,
formerly doing business as CELLNET
TECHNOLOGY, INC., and HENKELS &
No. 4:14CV1974 RLW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Henkels & McCoy, Inc.'s ("Henkels")
Motion to Compel Discovery Answers Prior to Mediation Directed against James Salazar and
Dawn Salazar (ECF No. 26). Also pending is Defendant Landis+Gyr Technology, Inc.'s
("Landis+Gyr") Motion to Compel Directed to Plaintiff James Salazar (ECF No. 27). The
motions are fully briefed and ready for disposition. Upon review of the motions and related
memoranda, the Court will grant the motions to compel, in part.
The scope of discovery for actions filed in federal court are set forth in Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(b)(l). That rule provides:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant
to any party's claim or defense .... For good cause, the court may order
discovery of matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant
information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(l). "The rule vests the district court with discretion to limit discovery if it
determines, inter alia, the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit." Roberts v. Shawnee Mission Ford, Inc. , 352 F.3d 358, 361 (8th Cir. 2003) (citing Fed.
R. Civ. P. 26(b)(l))
Here, both Defendants seek answers to interrogatories and production of documents
pertaining to previous settlements stemming from Plaintiffs' present claims. Specifically,
Defendants ask whether Plaintiff has received any settlement monies or things of value from any
person or entity for personal injury or damages resulting from the accident involved in this suit.
(Henkels' Mot. to Compel Ex. A #1 , ECF No. 26-1 ; Landis+Gyr's Mot. to Compel Ex. A #2,
ECF No. 27-1) Defendants also request the production of documents pertaining to settlement
documents and documents involving Plaintiffs' workers' compensation claims. (Henkels '
Request for Production #1 , ECF No. 26-1; Landis+Gyr' s Request for Production Ex. A #1 , ECF
In the responses in opposition, Plaintiffs state that they "have decided to produce their
civil court settlement agreements with Ameren Services Company and Altec Industries ... under
seal to the Court after a Protective Order is put in place." (Responses if 7, ECF Nos. 28, 29)
However, Plaintiffs contend that the settlement information regarding the workers' compensation
case is irrelevant and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
In support, Plaintiffs rely on Lockwood v. Schreimann, 933 S.W.2d 856 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996). In
that case, defendant sought to amend the judgment after the jury returned a verdict in favor of the
plaintiff, who had been injured in a vehicle accident. Id. at 257-58. The Missouri Court of
Appeals found that defendant was not entitled to credit against the judgment for the amount of
workers' compensation settlement that the plaintiff received. Id. at 861-62.
Defendants argue that they are entitled to the requested discovery because the workers'
compensation information is relevant to show the extent of Plaintiffs injuries and medical bills
and also relevant to the extent that Plaintiffs employer maintains its subrogation interest.
Defendants also maintain that the documents will be helpful in the upcoming mediation. The
Court notes that the standard under Rule 26 is that the discovery sought be reasonably calculated
to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. '" Broad discovery is an important tool for the
litigant, and so ' [r]elevant information need not be admissible at the trial ifthe discovery appears
reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. "' WWP, Inc. v. Wounded
Warriors Family Support, Inc. , 628 F.3d 1032, 1039 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.
The Court finds that the documents contained in the workers ' compensation file are
relevant to show Plaintiffs medical claims and injuries. The Court does not presently have
before it any claims for subrogation and declines to address Defendants' arguments regarding
potential subrogation issues. Therefore, while the workers' compensation file/award is relevant,
Defendants have failed to demonstrate that the settlement agreement falls within the scope of
discovery of Plaintiffs injuries, medical bills, return to work, or capability to work. See Central
States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. King Dodge, Inc., No. 4:11MC00233
AGF, 2011 WL 2784118, at *2 (E.D. Mo. July 15, 2011) (" [t]he moving party carries the burden
of showing that the requested documents are discoverable within the meaning of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26.") Further, although Defendants argue that the settlement agreement will aid
in mediation, the Court finds that the production of the settlement agreements with Ameren
Services Company and Altec Industries should be sufficient to demonstrate off-set amounts and
assist in achieving a successful ADR.
Finally, with regard to Plaintiffs' decision to produce the aforementioned civil court
settlement agreements, the Court notes that Plaintiffs agree to submit the confidential agreements
under seal after a protective order is in place. Therefore, the Court will direct the parties to
submit a motion for protective order with an agreed upon order for the Court's review.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motions to Compel filed by Defendants Henkels &
McCoy, Inc. (ECF No. 26) and Landis+Gyr Technology, Inc. (ECF No. 27) are GRANTED in
part and DENIED in part, consistent with this Memorandum and Order. Plaintiffs shall fully
answer the interrogatories and requests for productions other than requests for the workers'
compensation agreement no later than August 12, 2015.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall submit a motion for protective order
and a proposed protective order regarding the discoverable confidential settlement agreements no
later than August 10, 2015.
Dated this 5th day of August, 2015.
RONNIE L. WHITE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?