Lopez et al v. Bursey and Associates, PC et al
DISCOVERY ORDER by Chief Magistrate Judge Karen B. Molzen denying in part 46 Motion to Stay insofar as it requests that the scheduled settlement be vacated, and authorizing limited discovery and otherwise deferring ruling until after that mediation. (KBM)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
GILBERT LOPEZ AND HERBERTA LOPEZ,
CIV. No. 17-0337 MCA/KBM
BURSEY AND ASSOCIATES, P.C., and
THIS MATTER came before the Court for a discovery conference on October 27,
2017. Having heard the arguments of counsel as to Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel
Defendants Bursey and Associates, P.C. and Bryan Thomason to Respond to Plaintiffs’
First Sets of Discovery (“First Motion to Compel”) (Doc. 34) and Defendants’ Motion to
Stay Discovery, to Vacate and Reset Case Management Deadlines, Including the
Settlement Conference, and for Protective Order (“Motion to Stay and Vacate”) (Doc. 46),
the Court provided certain rulings and rationale, which it incorporates herein.
Plaintiffs, in their First Motion to Compel, ask the Court to compel responses to
various discovery requests, many of which seek information related to Defendants’ filing
of debt collection actions in New Mexico state court against parties other than Plaintiffs
but which contain the same prayer for relief that is the subject of this litigation. In the
interest of promoting proportionality and in observance of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
1, which requires the Court to construe, administer, and employ all rules of civil procedure
to secure a “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination,” the Court finds that only limited
discovery should be permitted with respect to these “other cases” at this time. 1
Accordingly, the Court will require Defendants to provide and verify, in advance of the
November 6, 2017 Settlement Conference, statistical information concerning these “other
cases,” to include the number of complaints filed by Defendants which contained the
same prayer for relief, the time period during which each complaint was filed, and, if
already calculated by Defendants, the difference between the attorney fees awarded and
those arguably allowable pursuant to the relevant contracts. Moreover, Defendants
should provide proper verification of the additional statistical information provided to
Plaintiffs and the Court at the October 27, 2017 discovery conference.
Given the pending Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, in which Defendants
seek dismissal of Plaintiffs’ common law tort claims (i.e. the only claims which would
support a claim for punitive damages), the Court finds Plaintiffs’ request for disclosure of
Defendants’ financial information to be premature. The Court will deny Plaintiffs’ First
Motion to Compel in this regard but will revisit this issue if the presiding judge denies
Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.
The Court will reserve ruling on the balance of Plaintiffs’ First Motion to Compel
until after the November 6, 2017 settlement conference.
The Court indicated that it would revisit this ruling and the scope of discovery if the presiding
judge denies Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 35).
As to Defendants’ Motion to Stay and Vacate, the Court will deny Defendants’
request to vacate the settlement conference and will defer ruling on Defendants’ request
for a protective order and for an extension or stay of pretrial deadlines until after the
parties’ settlement conference.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
UNITED STATES CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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