Turner v. Copart, Inc.
ORDER granting Defendant's 20 motion to compel, directing Plaintiff to respond to Interrogatories 10 and 12 within fourteen (14) days of the date of this order, and directing Defendant to file an affidavit of expenses and fees incurred in making its motion to compel within fourteen (14) days for the court's consideration. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett on 7/7/2017. (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
James E. Turner, Sr.,
C/A No. 3:16-3312-JFA-PJG
This employment case is before the court on the Defendant’s motion to compel and for
expenses and attorneys’ fees pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No.
20.) Defendant’s motion sought production of documents and more comprehensive responses to
Along with his response to Defendant’s motion, Plaintiff served on Defendant “EVERY
document in the [Plaintiff’s] attorney’s possession.” (Pl.’s Resp. in Opp’n, ECF No. 21 at 2.)
Plaintiff contends in his response that, accordingly, the request for production of documents is
resolved and only two interrogatories remain in dispute: Interrogatories No. 10 and 12.
Having fully reviewed the parties’ memoranda, the court grants Defendant’s motion to
compel. As to Defendant’s request for expenses and fees pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5)(A), the court
agrees that this subsection requires the court to award reasonable expenses incurred in making the
motion, including attorney’s fees, when a disclosure or requested discovery is provided after a
motion to compel is filed. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A). Plaintiff’s argument in opposition to
Defendant’s motion attempting to demonstrate his good faith in discovery misses the mark, as the
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Rule’s mandate controls—unless certain exceptions apply1—regardless of whether the party who is
the subject of the motion acted in bad faith. Cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(f) (providing a good faith
standard in determining sanctions for failing to participate in good faith in developing and submitting
a proposed discovery plan pursuant to Rule 26(f)).
Based on the record presented, the court finds that Plaintiff’s delay in producing responsive
documents was not substantially justified.2 The record before the court indicates that Plaintiff had
gathered documents responsive to Defendant’s requests no later than March 27, 2017, but, rather
than producing them then, served written objections to producing the documents beyond the date
permitted by the Rules for making such objections. Plaintiff did not produce the documents until
he filed his memorandum in opposition to Defendant’s motion to compel. As to Plaintiff’s argument
that Interrogatories No. 10 and 12 require him to obtain further information before he can respond,
Plaintiff makes no showing that he has diligently attempted to gather the information he needs to
respond to these Interrogatories. (See, e.g., Pl.’s Mem. Opp’n Mot. Compel at 4, ECF No. 21 at 4)
(indicating that the information necessary to itemize his damages is in the defendant’s possession
but not indicating that he has sent any discovery requests to the defendant for that information, and
stating that he would answer Interrogatory No. 12’s request for information as to wages and
Defendant consulted with Plaintiff before filing its motion, so pertinent here, Rule
37(a)(5)(A) would not require an award of expenses and fees if the Plaintiff’s nondisclosure,
response, or objection was substantially justified, or if other circumstances make an award of
expenses unjust. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)(i)-(iii).
Plaintiff’s counsel indicates in a separate but related filing that health concerns have
impacted his ability to litigate this matter. However, because Plaintiff has separate co-counsel who,
it appears, could have coordinated discovery responses on behalf of Plaintiff despite his co-counsel’s
illness, the court finds that this circumstance does not make an award of expenses and fees unjust
under the terms of Rule 37(a)(5)(A)(iii).
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compensation from other employers “once he acquired the required documentation from his current
employer” but not indicating that he has taken any steps to do so).
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s motion is granted. Plaintiff is directed to respond to
Interrogatories 10 and 12 within fourteen days of the date of this order. Defendant shall file an
affidavit of expenses and fees incurred in making its motion to compel within fourteen days for the
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Paige J. Gossett
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
July 7, 2017
Columbia, South Carolina
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