Artis v. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 32 Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions and Renewed Motion to Compel. Plaintiff's request for sanctions is denied, but the Motion to Compel is granted. Defendant is ordered to provide the plaintiff with a copy of its document retention policy and to provide the discovery the plaintiff is seeking in regards to Document Request #2 by 1/1/2015. Parties are notified that a trial in this matter will be held on 3/2/2015 in Elizabeth City. . Signed by US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle on 12/10/2014. (Fisher, M.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
BENITA L. ARTIS,
NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DIVISION
OF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICE OF THE STATE
This matter is before the Court on plaintiffs request for sanctions and renewed motion to
compel. [DE 32]. For the following reasons, motion for sanctions is DENIED, and the motion to
compel is GRANTED.
Plaintiff filed this action nearly three years ago on December 22, 2011. Plaintiff alleges
that she was employed by the defendant Department of Health and Human Services and, after
three years of work without incident, she began having problems with the new lead technologist
in her department, Radish Persaud, a male. Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Persaud made sexist
comments to her regularly, demeaned her in front of her coworkers, and blamed her for his and
other's mistakes. Plaintiff alleges she complained to her supervisors which resulted in a
mediation being arranged with her supervisors as mediators. Plaintiff alleges this mediation was
biased, and when she refused to sign a mediation plan she received a negative review. Plaintiff
appealed the negative review to no avail. After the appeal concluded, plaintiff alleges she was
demoted and later transferred to a different department within her employer. In her new position
she alleges that she was forced to do work that was not similar to the work she was hired for.
Plaintiff alleges further retaliatory actions were taken against her and that she was fired after
filing an EEOC complaint and contacting a Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendment
No dispositive motions have been filed in this matter. Plaintiff has filed several motions
to compel including the instant motion and United States Magistrate Judge James E. Gates
granted one of the motions to compel on September 11, 2013. Plaintiff filed the instant motion
on June 23, 2014, alleging that defendant had still not complied with Judge Gates's order.
"Rule 37(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure gives the district court wide
discretion to impose sanctions for a party's failure to comply with its discovery orders." Mutual
Federal Savings and Loan Assoc. v. Richards & Assocs., Inc., 872 F.2d 88, 92 (4th Cir. 1989).
Such a sanction includes "dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in part." FED. R. CIV.
Plaintiff complains that defendant has failed to answer all of her discovery requests. She
specifically claims that defendant has not responded to her request for missing discovery
documents requested in Document Request #2, that defendant has refused to produce a
substantial number of documents on the grounds that they have been destroyed pursuant to its
document retention policy, but has not provided plaintiff with a copy of its document retention
policy, and that defendant provided some of the documents covered by Judge Gates's order two
Defendants lack of regard of the deadlines contained within Judge Gates's order is
concerning to the Court. Further, with this matter on the eve of trial, any missing discovery is of
obvious concern. However, defendant states that it has complied with Judge Gates's order and
had complied as of July 3, 2014. In light of the status of this case, the Court will not sanction
defendant at this time, however defendant is warned that a failure to comply with this Court's
orders in the future will have serious consequences. Further, defendant is ORDERED to provide
plaintiff with a copy of its document retention policy and to provide the discovery plaintiff seeks
in regards to Document Request #2 by January 1, 2015.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs motion for sanctions is DENIED and her motion to
compel is GRANTED. Parties are NOTIFIED that a trial in this matter will be held on March 2,
2015 in Elizabeth City, NC.
This the _Lfl_ day of December, 2014.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JU
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