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MUZIKOWSKI v. PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION

August 5, 2004.

ROBERT E. MUZIKOWSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORPORATION, SFX TOLLIN/ROBBINS, INC. and FIREWORKS PICTURES, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: IAN LEVIN, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND FINDING INTRODUCTION

On July 1, 2004, this matter was referred by the District Judge to a Magistrate Judge*fn1 "for resolution of the current issue on whether or not there has been good faith compliance with the court's last order on the part of the plaintiff to make a realistic assessment of the documents intended to be used at trial, if a trial were to be had in this case." (Referral order and minute order of Hon. Charles P. Kocoras.)

ISSUE

  Defendants maintains that as of July 1, 2004 (the date of the referral), and to this date, Plaintiff has failed to comply with Judge Kocoras's order requiring Plaintiff to identify the documents upon which he intends to rely upon at trial. Plaintiff claims he has made good faith compliance with Judge Kocoras's June 9, 2004 order. Background

  The case herein is premised on Plaintiff's allegation that Defendants based the main character in the movie Hardball on him. Plaintiff therefore alleges inter alia claims for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, false endorsement, false advertising, commercial disparagement, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unjust enrichment. (Defs.' Submission at 1-2.)

  Chronology

  A. Pre-July 1, 2004

  4/9/04: Defendants served contention interrogatories (including request for documents) on Plaintiff to determine the factual basis for his contentions. (Defs.' Submission at 2; Defs.' Ex. 2A.)

  5/10/04: In Plaintiff's response, he failed to identify any documents. (Defs.' Submission at 2; Defs.' Ex. 2B at 4.)

  5/04: Defendants unsuccessfully tried to resolve this issue with Plaintiff. (Defs.' Submission at 2; Defs.' Exs. 2C-2F.)

  6/7/04: Defendants filed a motion to compel. (Defs.' Submission at 2; Defs.' Ex. 2.)

  6/9/04: Judge Kocoras heard the motion to compel and ordered Plaintiff to identify the documents upon which he intended to rely on at trial (by about June 23, 2004). (Defs.' Submission at 2; Defs.' Ex. 3 at 6-7, 8, 9.)

  6/24/04: Plaintiff served supplemental responses on Defendants but did not identify those documents he would use at trial. (Defs.' Submission at 2-3; Defs.' Ex. 4.) Instead, he identified virtually every document produced in the pending litigation by using broad descriptions of categories of documents. (Id.) See e.g., Interrogatory No. 2 (in responding to Plaintiff's contention that Defendants had made misrepresentations in connection with the advertising of Hardball, Plaintiff set forth a page of broad descriptions of categories of documents and noted that the documents included "all documents containing descriptions of the movie Hardball." (Defs.' Ex. 4 at 10.)

  Defendants sent Plaintiff a letter stating that the supplemental responses did not comply with Judge Kocoras order because he was "required . . . to identify with particularity the documents which you contend support your contentions." (Defs.' Submission at 3; Defs' Ex. 5.) 6/25/04: In response to Defendants' June 24, 2004 letter, Plaintiff wrote to Defendants indicating that he had complied with Judge Kocoras's order even though he stated that since the interrogatories "requested identification of all documents that relate to the various contentions-not the much narrower request for identification of documents that [Plaintiff] ...


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