United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
DIRECTV, INC., Plaintiff,
STEVEN PICKERT, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff DIRECTV, Inc. brought this action against defendant
Stephen Pickert alleging federal statutory violations and
conversion for intercepting satellite signals with a decoding
device. Defendant now brings his second motion to compel complete
responses to his discovery requests. After defendant filed his
first motion to compel, plaintiff submitted amended answers to
defendant's interrogatories and request for production. Defendant
argues that these amended answers are deficient. He maintains
that plaintiff's objections are improper and unsupported, and
complete responses are not provided. As relief, defendant
requests that the court dismiss the case or, in the alternative,
order plaintiff to provide complete responses and award defendant
reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses. Defendant's motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
In its amended responses, plaintiff provided the following
information. In late February 2000, defendant purchased a DIRECTV
system from a Radio Shack in Yorkville, Illinois, and informed
the store that his address was 1641 Waterford Road, North Aurora,
Illinois 60542, and his telephone number was (630) 879-0580.
After purchasing the equipment, defendant never activated a
DIRECTV account in his name, nor was an account opened for that address. DIRECTV has purchase records indicating that on
February 20, 2001, defendant ordered access devices, "two Cobalt
Emulators and two MK2 Unloopers with SU2 code," from a Canadian
distributer. The distributer shipped the devices to defendant at
40W980 Seavey Rd., Sugar Grove, Illinois 60554. The following
month, defendant ordered two more MK2 Unloopers with SU2 Code
from the same distributor, which were also shipped to Pickert's
Sugar Grove address.
DIRECTV informed defendant that there are four people who have
information on the shipment of access devices to him, and his
receipt of them: Mark McHugh, operator of the Canadian
distributor that supplied the devices; Scott Madvig, operator of
the shipping facility that mailed the devices to defendant; Lance
McGlothin, a FedEx representative; and defendant. DIRECTV
identified these four witnesses in response to many of
defendant's interrogatories regarding individuals who have
information on defendant's use of the devices. DIRECTV also
informed defendant of records from ICG, Inc., establishing his
membership in an internet forum dedicated to discussions of
piracy of satellite television programming. In response to
several interrogatories concerning individuals who may have
information regarding defendant's alleged piracy of satellite
programming, DIRECTV stated that residents or visitors to
defendant's home may be aware of his activities. The only
resident or visitor of which plaintiff indicated specific
knowledge is Barbra Ferrill, who opened a DIRECTV account at
defendant's Sugar Grove address and phone number on September 14,
2003, after this suit was filed.
Following defendant's filing of his second motion to compel,
plaintiff supplemented its Rule 26(a)(1) disclosure of
individuals who may have relevant discoverable information and
the nature of their information. Plaintiff also filed its Rule
26(a)(2) disclosures on expert witnesses. In its response to defendant's motion, plaintiff
updated its responses to numerous interrogatories to reflect
these new filings. Plaintiff noted that its objections to several
of defendant's interrogatories for prematurely seeking
information on experts were now moot. DIRECTV listed its two
experts, Michael Barr and William Gatliff, as witnesses with
opinions on a variety of issues addressed in defendant's
interrogatories. Plaintiff also updated its information on ICG,
Inc., the company that provided documents evidencing defendant's
membership in a piracy forum, Plaintiff's responses now included
the names of ICG, Inc.'s operators, Lacey Walker, Michael Stoabs,
and Jim Emerson.
Defendant argues that even after plaintiff's amended responses
and supplemental filings, it has failed to cure its incomplete
discovery responses. First, defendant maintains that plaintiff's
objections are often improper and preclude defendant from
determining whether plaintiff's responses are complete. Though
plaintiff objected to many interrogatories to the extent they
prematurely called for information on expert witnesses, its
amended responses proceeded to answer the questions and included
a statement that any expert reports filed would supplement its
response. Plaintiff's approach to this issue was neither
unreasonable nor confusing. Furthermore, now that plaintiff has
filed its Rule 26(a)(2) disclosures on expert witnesses, this
issue is moot. As plaintiff has provided its list of witnesses
and expert witnesses, defendant's arguments regarding
interrogatories nos. 26 and 27 are also moot. However, plaintiff
must answer interrogatory no. 25, to which it provided no
response in its amended responses. All other arguments regarding
plaintiff's objections are without merit.
Defendant also claims that plaintiff's Rule 26(a)(1)
disclosures fail to remedy the deficiencies in its responses
because the disclosures are incomplete and do not correspond with
specific interrogatories. Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure requires parties to disclose the names, addresses and telephone numbers, if known, of
individuals likely to have discoverable information. The party
must also state the nature of the individual's pertinent
information. Plaintiff's disclosures satisfy these requirements.
While plaintiff's disclosures do not include individuals'
occupations or home addresses, this information is not required.
As defendant highlights, many of the names that appear on
plaintiff's disclosure list do not appear in plaintiff's amended
responses to defendant's interrogatories. This may be because
plaintiff did not know of these individuals at the time it
created its amended responses or because none of these
individuals has information related to defendant's
interrogatories, most of which ask plaintiff to identify people
who have information specific to the defendant. It just may be,
as defendant's attorney surmised in a letter to opposing counsel
(attached to defendant's Second Motion to Compel as Exhibit C),
that "most or all [of plaintiff's] evidence will be
circumstantial." However, if individuals listed in plaintiff's
supplemental disclosures should have been included in response to
any of defendant's interrogatories, then plaintiff must inform
Finally, defendant argues that documents, which plaintiff
references, have not been produced or properly identified.
Defendant cites three records that have been discussed but not
produced: defendant's DIRECTV account history (referenced in
plaintiff's first response to defendant's interrogatory no. 1);
defendant's purchase of DIRECTV equipment from Radio Shack; and
defendant's membership in internet forums on piracy. None of
these examples supports defendant's contention that plaintiff has
failed to produce requested documents. Plaintiff's amended
response to interrogatory no. 1 makes no claim that defendant had
a DIRECTV account history, so it appears no such record exists.
As for both defendant's purchase from Radio Shack and his
involvement with internet forums on piracy, documents were produced that appear to relate to those allegations.
However, neither the document containing a "Forum Summary"
(attached to plaintiff's amended response to requests for
production and inspection) nor the strip of information
indicating Pickert purchased DIRECTV satellite equipment at Radio
Shack (attached to plaintiff's supplemental disclosures) gives
any indication where the documents came from or who created them.
Plaintiff must provide defendant with some context for these
documents. Plaintiff must also produce the CD-ROM of documents
and exhibits that it refers to in its amended response to
defendant's request for production and in its response to
defendant's second motion to compel, if defendant does not have a
Defendant's second motion to compel is granted in part and
denied in part. Plaintiff must supplement its responses to
defendant's interrogatories and requests as described above. No
attorney's fees are to be awarded.
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