Tramp v. Associated Underwriters, Inc.
ORDER - Plaintiff's Motion to Modify Scheduling Order, Reopen Discovery and Compel Responses (filing 95 ) is denied. Ordered by Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett. (GJG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
On June 17, 2013, this Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on
Plaintiff’s claims of wrongful termination on the basis of age and disability in violation of
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq., and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. (Filing 70.) Plaintiff
appealed the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Eighth Circuit affirmed this
Court’s dismissal of the ADA claim, but held that Plaintiff’s age discrimination claim should
have been submitted to the jury for determination. (Filing 85.) Accordingly, the Eighth
Circuit remanded this case for further proceedings related to Plaintiff’s ADEA claim.
Prior to this Court’s issuance of its summary judgment order, Plaintiff served
interrogatories and requests for production of documents on Defendant, seeking information
regarding the value of Defendant’s business operations for the calendar years of 2007
through 2011. Defendant provided answers to these discovery requests on or about March
7, 2013. Following remand, on December 22, 2014, Plaintiff served supplemental
interrogatories and requests for production, asking for updated financial information
regarding Defendant’s business operations. Defendant refused to provide responses to these
requests, stating that the time for discovery had closed and that financial information is not
relevant to Plaintiff’s claim under the ADEA.
Plaintiff now requests that this Court modify the scheduling order, reopen discovery
and compel responses to her supplemental discovery requests. (Filing 95.) Plaintiff asserts
that the requested financial information, which includes tax returns, security interest
statements, promissory notes, and profit/loss statements, is relevant to her damage claim, and
that Defendant will be able to easily produce the requested information before the April 21,
2015, trial date.
Under the federal rules, parties to a lawsuit may obtain discovery regarding any
matter, not privileged, that is relevant to a claim or defense of any party. Fed. R. Civ. P.
26(b)(1). Relevant information includes “any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could
lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case.” Roberts v.
City of Omaha, No. 8:11CV129, 2014 WL 4161993, *2 (D. Neb. Aug. 20, 2014) (quotation
omitted). However, “[m]ere speculation that information might be useful will not suffice;
litigants seeking to compel discovery must describe with a reasonable degree of specificity
the information they hope to obtain and its importance to their case. Id. Moreover, with
respect to tax returns, a heightened showing of relevance and necessity is required. Home
Instead, Inc. v. Florance, No. 8:12CV264, 2013 WL 5979629, *9 (D. Neb. Nov. 8, 2013).
Before such discovery is permitted, the moving party must establish that the tax returns are
relevant to the dispute. Id. “If relevancy is shown, the responding parties must produce the
returns unless they show there is no compelling need for production.” Id.
Plaintiff has not articulated how the requested financial records are relevant to her
ADEA claim. Plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages under the ADEA, and Plaintiff has
identified no persuasive reason why Defendant’s financial records would have any bearing
on the remaining issues in this case. See Williams v. Valentec Kisco, Inc., 964 F.2d 723, 729
(8th Cir. 1992). Therefore, Plaintiff’s request that this Court modify the scheduling order,
reopen discovery and compel responses to her supplemental discovery requests will be
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Modify Scheduling Order, Reopen
Discovery and Compel Responses (filing 95) is denied.
DATED March 5, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
S/ F.A. Gossett
United States Magistrate Judge
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