Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Brown-Thompson General Partnership
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 22 Motion to Compel, as more fully set out. Signed by Honorable David L. Russell on 8/21/17. (jw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
PARTNERSHIP D/B/A 7-ELEVEN
Case No. CIV-16-1142-R
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel (Doc. No. 22),
to which Defendant has filed a response in opposition. On August 16, 2017, the Court heard
arguments from counsel on the motion. Having considered the parties’ submissions, the
Court finds as follows.
Plaintiff filed this action alleging Defendant violated the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”) when it terminated the employment of Casey Crothers as a
stocker in the warehouse. The EEOC contends that 7-Eleven failed to make reasonable
accommodations for Mr. Crothers and other employees by failing to provide light or
modified duty assignments in the absence of workers’ compensation claims or on-the-job
injuries and by enforcing a policy that permitted no more than three-days of consecutive
absences rather than additional leave as an accommodation.1 Plaintiff asserts that since
Defendant utilizes the term “light duty” to refer to product pricing jobs it reserved exclusively for employees with
on-the-job injuries. The EEOC does not limit its usage of the term in this regard, utilizing it to refer to less
demanding jobs, that is modification of an employee’s normal responsibilities.
2012, Defendant’s policy has been that employees unable to attend work for more than
three consecutive days due to injuries or conditions not sustained on the job who are not
eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act are terminated, but may be rehired
later. Plaintiff asserts Defendant relied on this policy in lieu of accommodating disabled
employees as required by the ADA. With regard to Mr. Crothers, Plaintiff alleges that he
informed his supervisors about his psoriatic arthritis and his inability to lift more than ten
pounds for a period of two to three weeks, the result of inflammation in his hands, feet and
back. Mr. Crothers was not eligible for FMLA leave, and Plaintiff argues he was terminated
rather than temporarily transferred as he has requested or granted a leave of absence, either
of which would have been a reasonable accommodation. Crothers filed a Charge of
Discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC in turn provided Defendant with a Notice of
Expanded Investigation on June 27, 2013, seeking the names of additional 7-Eleven
employees who were discharged under the Defendant’s stated policy, from a period of
January 1, 2012 onward. The parties are now embroiled in a discovery dispute, Plaintiff
contending that Defendant has failed to provide adequate responses to certain discovery
requests, specifically Interrogatories 4 through 13 and Requests for Production 7 through
12, 17 through 20, and 26. Plaintiff contends that Defendant’s response includes untimely
and meritless objections. Defendant contends it has adequately responded to requests
seeking relevant information, in part relying on Plaintiff’s alleged failure to prove any
At the hearing counsel addressed discovery requests by category rather than by
reference to particular interrogatory or request for production number, consistent with
paragraph 2 of the instant motion, and the Court will rely on this same categorization rather
than addressing individual Interrogatories or Requests for Production.
The Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to the extent the EEOC seeks the
following categories of documents:
Information and documents relating to 7-Eleven’s providing light or
modified duty to employees with non-work related medical conditions,
including the identity of such employees from May 2012 to present.
Information and documents relating to 7-Eleven’s providing leaves of
absence for non-work related medical conditions, including the identity of
such employees from May 2012 to present.
Information and documents relating to 7-Eleven’s providing reasonable
accommodations for employees with non-work related medical restrictions
from May 2012 to present, including the identity of such employees from
May 2012 to present.
Documents that relate to 7-Eleven’s providing reasonable accommodations
to employees with work-related medical conditions from May 2012 to
Documents identified or relied upon in 7-Eleven’s response to
The Court finds the information sought is relevant and Defendant failed to establish that
provision of the requested information or documents would create an undue burden.
Defendant’s reliance on a de-centralized personnel system and the lack of computers does
not operate to the detriment of the EEOC by insulating Defendant from discovery.
As stated at the hearing, the Court denies for the time being Plaintiff’s motion as it
relates to Request for Production No. 26, wherein it sought 7-Eleven’s financial statements
for 2015 and 2016. The Court considers Plaintiff’s request for information and documents
relating to Casey Crothers as moot in light of Defendant’s supplemental discovery
responses, given that Plaintiff did not address the issue in its reply or at the hearing. Finally,
the parties disagreed at the hearing regarding Defendant’s responses as they related to
Interrogatory 13, which falls into the category of “facts and documents relevant to the
EEOC’s claims as well as allegations in the 7-Eleven’s answer and the identity of persons
with knowledge of those facts” Doc. No. 22, p. 4. Defendant contends it has proffered the
information requested as well as the documents in support of its responses, and its
supplemented answers linked the responses to the discovery Defendant previously
provided by Bates stamp number. Defendant contends they have offered all responsive
documents, and the Court cannot order additional production if none exists. Defendant is
reminded of its continuing obligation to produce documents responsive to Plaintiff’s
requests should additional documents be uncovered during the search of Defendant’s files
ordered above. As such, the Court denies Plaintiff’s motion as it relates to this category.
For the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel is GRANTED IN
PART AND DENIED IN PART.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 21st day of August 2017.
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