Almanza v. Lynch (TV3)
Order; The parties appeared telephonically before the Court on October 4, 2017, for a status conference regarding discovery. The Defendant stated that the Mission Statement [Doc. 21-1] should be filed under seal, and the Plaintiff responded that she had no objection with placing the document under seal. Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to place Doc. 21-1 under seal. The Court scheduled another telephonic status conference for October 31, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., to address any remaining discovery disputes. Signed by Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton on 10/10/17. (ADA) Modified on 10/10/2017 to note that the document to be sealed is [21-2] upon verification with chambers (ADA).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Rules of this Court,
and Standing Order 13-02.
The parties appeared telephonically before the Court on October 4, 2017, for a status
conference regarding discovery. Attorney Jennifer Morton appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff.
Attorneys Brandi Stewart and Christopher Yates appeared on behalf of the Defendant.
During the telephonic conference, the Plaintiff reported that the Defendant was still
producing documents and that she expected to receive additional documents this week. With
respect to any remaining discovery issues, the Plaintiff stated that she disagreed with the Court’s
previous Order limiting the temporal scope of discovery from January 1, 2012, to December 28,
2014. The Court observes that the Plaintiff originally requested that the Court order the Defendant
to produce documents starting when Mr. English arrived in January 2012 to the present. During
the October 4 telephonic hearing, the Plaintiff explained that the person who replaced her was not
hired until eighteen months later and that she needed discovery to review the individual’s job
duties. The Defendant responded that the Plaintiff has the individual’s personnel file. The Plaintiff
also mentioned a complaint made by another employee against Nancy Harr that is relevant and
that occurred after the alleged constructive discharge. The Defendant agreed to identify the
position of the employee who made the complaint and the nature of the compliant. The Court
ORDERS the Defendant to provide the name of the employee but admonishes the parties that such
information is protected by the Protective Order. Finally, the Plaintiff states that other cases have
allowed plaintiffs to discover information after the adverse employment action. While the Court
acknowledges that other cases have allowed such discovery, the Court observes that the only
allegation in the instant Complaint that relates to the time period after the alleged constructive
discharge is that the Plaintiff’s office was given to the student who had taken over her IT duties.
[Doc. 1 at ¶ 99]. Again, the Plaintiff has this individual’s personnel file. If the Plaintiff can provide
specific reasons as to why additional discovery beyond the date of the alleged constructive
discharge is relevant, the Court will revisit the parameters of discovery at the October 31 status
In addition, Plaintiff’s counsel requested that the Plaintiff have access to the documents I
a database that were produced by the Defendant. The Defendant proposed that the parties enter an
agreed protective order regarding the parameters of Plaintiff’s access. The parties agreed to
resolve this issue without the Court’s involvement. If the parties are unsuccessful, they should be
prepared to address this issue at the October 31 status conference. Further, the Court instructs the
parties to work together on scheduling depositions and to allow both parties adequate time to
review discovery before the depositions proceed.
In addition, the Defendant stated that the
Mission Statement [Doc. 21-1] should be filed under seal, and the Plaintiff responded that she had
no objection with placing the document under seal.
DIRECTED to place Doc. 21-1 under seal.
Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is
Further, the Plaintiff requested Defendant’s litigation hold letter because there was some
information that documents had been destroyed or modified. The Defendant stated that he
provided the date that the litigation hold letter was sent but that the letter was privileged. The
Court granted the Plaintiff leave to file a motion showing what specific documents were destroyed
and/or modified. If the Plaintiff chooses to file a motion, the Court will then consider whether the
Plaintiff is entitled to the litigation hold letter. See Little Hocking Water Ass'n, Inc. v. E.I. Dupont
de Nemours & Co., No. 2:09-CV-1081, 2013 WL 5311292, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 20, 2013)
(noting that hold letters are generally privileged but may become a proper subject of discovery if
spoliation occurs). Finally, as mentioned above, the Court scheduled another telephonic status
conference for October 31, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., to address any remaining discovery disputes.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States Magistrate Judge
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