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IOSELLO v. LAWRENCE

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois


May 24, 2004.

CHRISTOPHER IOSELLO, Plaintiff,
v.
VICTOR LAWRENCE d/b/a LEXINGTON LAW FIRM, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD GUZMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendant objects to certain rulings in Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason's Memorandum Opinion and Order of March 1, 2004 in which he granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's motion to compel responses to its first, second, and third discovery requests and denied defendant's motion for a protective order. For the reasons provided below, the Court rejects defendant's objections.

DISCUSSION

  As to Plaintiff's first discovery request, which seeks the number of persons who contracted with the defendant, their identities, the identities of defendant's employees, the amount of money he received from customers in the last five years, and documents to support these requests, defendant argues that this discovery seeks confidential proprietary information which must be safeguarded from disclosure. Defendant points out that a protective order cannot prevent disclosure of information to Plaintiff's counsel. As to this argument, the Magistrate Judge found that the number of defendant's clients, the identity of its employees, the amount of money it received from customers in the last five years, and documents supporting such information do not qualify as confidential proprietary information and, therefore, must be disclosed. In addition, the Magistrate Judge found that defendant failed to present sufficient evidence to support its argument that Plaintiff's counsel is a direct competitor and, therefore, that disclosure of the information would harm defendant. We agree. The objection to this ruling is overruled.

  The Magistrate Judge also found that the identity of defendant's clients, as sought in interrogatory number 4, is not protected by the attorney-client privilege as a general rule, and that the present case does not fit within any of the established exceptions. Again, we agree with the Magistrate Judge. The objection to this ruling is also overruled.

  The defendant objects to the Plaintiff's request for financial discovery, to wit, defendant's net worth, supporting financial statements, and any documents to support these requests on the basis that plaintiff has failed to establish any evidence that would justify awarding punitive damages under Credit Repair Organization Act, 15 U.S.C. ยง 1679. But it is not necessary to plaintiff prove his case for punitive damages at this stage of the litigation. Rather it is sufficient that the information sought is relevant to an alleged issue, or could reasonably lead to such relevant admissible evidence. The objection is overruled. The Magistrate Judge has also ordered plaintiff to comply fully with any previous agreements to produce documents responsive to document requests 3, 4, and 12 as well as interrogatories 5 and 7. We agree and affirm this order. Next, the Magistrate Judge overruled defendant's refusal to produce copies of correspondence and form letters because they were stored only in electronic form. This order is also affirmed.

  Finally, defendant objects to plaintiff's request seeking a list of all lawsuits defendant has filed in the last five years. Defendant's argument appears to be that the collection of such information is just as easily done by the plaintiff independently as itxis by the defendant for the plaintiff. The Magistrate Judge disagreed and we find nothing in his reasoning or conclusions that is either clearly erroneous or contrary to the law. Defendant's objections are, therefore, overruled,

CONCLUSION
  For the foregoing reasons, defendant's objections to Magistrate Judge Mason's rulings in his Memorandum Opinion and Order of March 1, 2004 are overruled.

  SO ORDERED.

20040524

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