Roe v. Wayne County Board of Education
ORDER directing Plaintiff to provide full and complete responses to the interrogatory and request for production of documents referenced in Defendant's 42 MOTION to Compel Interrogatory and Request for Production Responses within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order; further directing that Defendant shall have through and including 2/5/2018 in which to file an affidavit of reasonable fees and expenses incurred in making the motion to compel; Plaintiff shall have through and includ ing 2/19/2018 in which to respond to Defendant's submission; Defendant shall have through and including 2/26/2018 in which to file a reply memorandum. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cheryl A. Eifert on 1/22/2018. (cc: counsel of record; any unrepresented party) (jsa)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
Case No. 3:17-cv-00094
WAYNE COUNTY BOARD OF
Pending is Defendant’s Motion to Compel Interrogatory and Request for
Production Responses, (ECF No. 42). The motion pertains to discovery requests served
on Plaintiff, which seek the disclosure of information pertaining to factual allegations
asserted in the following three paragraphs of the complaint:
48. The information conveyed to third parties ultimately led to Plaintiff
being suspended and subsequently discharged from the above company,
thereby leaving her without any employment or income.
112. Defendant falsely represented and publicized to the public and
members of Plaintiff’s community including, but not limited to, coworkers
of Plaintiff and persons involved in Plaintiff’s subsequent employment that
she is mentally unstable.
113. Defendant’s false representation of Plaintiff to the public resulted in
Plaintiff’s termination from subsequent employment.
In an interrogatory, Plaintiff was asked to provide “all facts known” to her which
supported the allegations made in the three paragraphs. In an accompanying request for
admission, she was asked to admit that she actually had no evidence supporting the
allegations. In a request for production of documents, Plaintiff was asked, in the event
that she denied the request for admission, to produce the documents that formed the basis
of her denial. In other words, the documents showing that Defendant had made
statements to other people about Plaintiff—some of which were false and concerned her
mental stability—and these statements led to Plaintiff’s termination from subsequent
Plaintiff served responses to the three discovery requests. First, in answer to the
interrogatory, Plaintiff described (1) information she disclosed to Defendant’s employees
regarding her private health information, (2) how Defendant’s employees responded to
Plaintiff immediately upon hearing the disclosure; and (3) what Plaintiff did thereafter.
Consequently, Plaintiff’s answer was not responsive to the interrogatory. The
interrogatory asked for facts demonstrating that Plaintiff was discharged from
subsequent employment due to statements made by Defendant; facts showing that
Defendant made false statements that Plaintiff was mentally unstable; and facts
indicating that Defendant’s false statements about Plaintiff’s mental instability led to her
discharge from subsequent employment. Clearly, the focus of the interrogatory is on
information communicated by Defendant to people other than Plaintiff and whether
Defendant’s communications with people other than Plaintiff led to Plaintiff’s
termination from subsequent employment. Accordingly, a recitation of Plaintiff’s
statements to Defendant and Defendant’s response to Plaintiff is entirely irrelevant to the
subject matter of the interrogatory.
In response to the request for admission, Plaintiff denied that she lacked evidence
to support the allegations in the three paragraphs of the complaint. Having denied the
request for admission, Plaintiff was required to produce any documents she had
supporting the denial. Plaintiff provided a copy of her letter of resignation to the
Defendant in which Plaintiff discussed her interactions with Defendant’s employees that
led to her resignation. Once again, given that Defendant asked for documents pertaining
to the allegations contained in the three paragraphs, and the three paragraphs largely
involve Defendant’s statements to people other than Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s
resignation letter is entirely irrelevant to the subject matter of the request.
Therefore, Plaintiff is hereby ORDERED to provide full and complete responses
to the above-referenced interrogatory and request for production of documents within
fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order.1
Defendant additionally requests that the Court award it reasonable attorney’s fees
and costs incurred in filing the motion to compel pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5).
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall have through and including
February 5, 2018 in which to file an affidavit of reasonable fees and expenses incurred
in making the motion to compel, as well as any supportive documentation or argument to
justify the amount of fees and expenses requested. See Robinson v. Equifax Information
Services, LLC, 560 F.3d 235, 243-44 (4th Cir. 2009). Defendant shall explain to the Court
why Defendant believes it is entitled to expenses although it failed to file the motion to
compel within the time frame allowed by Local Rule. Failure to timely file the affidavit
and supporting documentation shall result in a denial of fees and costs.
Plaintiff shall have through and including February 19, 2018 in which to
respond to Defendant’s submission. The response shall include any justification that
Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s motion to compel should be denied, because it was not timely filed under
L. R. Civ. P. 37.1(c). While it is true that the motion was filed late, the undersigned finds good cause in this
case to extend the deadline to the date on which the motion to compel was filed. Such an extension is not
inordinately long, does not interfere with any other deadline in the case, and is not particularly prejudicial
to Plaintiff. However, Defendant’s delay in filing the motion will be considered when determining whether
reasonable costs should be awarded.
would obviate against an award of expenses. Failure to file a response shall be deemed an
admission of or agreement with the representations and arguments of Defendant.
Defendant shall have through and including February 26, 2018 in which to file a reply
memorandum. At the conclusion of the period allowed for briefing, the Court will either
schedule a hearing, or simply rule on the request for reasonable fees and costs.
The Clerk is instructed to provide a copy of this Order to counsel of record and any
ENTERED: January 22, 2018
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