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CARDENAS v. FLEETWOOD
November 22, 2004.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge
Plaintiff Abel Cardenas filed a complaint alleging age-based
employment discrimination by Defendant Fleetwood, Inc.
("Fleetwood"). On September 9, 2004, Cardenas filed a motion to
extend the discovery deadline in order to propound additional
discovery on Fleetwood. At a hearing on September 28, 2004 I
asked both parties to address the potential value of additional
discovery. I specifically urged Cardenas to address any facts
disclosed during traditional discovery that would support his
request to extend discovery and to address the proposed scope of
any further discovery.
Cardenas wishes to propound the following additional discovery
on Fleetwood: 1) written discovery addressing the facts and
circumstances of the company's decision to dismiss eleven
employees within the protected class between December 2001 and
September 2002, including their names and last known addresses;
2) written discovery regarding a reorganization that was the
alleged reason for at least some of the eleven dismissals; and 3)
written discovery addressing the facts and circumstances of the
company's decision not to re-hire fourteen individuals within the
protected class when Fleetwood Systems became Fleetwood, Inc. in
I previously denied Cardenas's Motion to Compel Fleetwood to
furnish contact information for the eleven individuals dismissed
between December 2001 and September 2002. With one exception,
Cardenas has failed to establish how information uncovered during
the course of discovery entitles him to further discovery on this
topic. The exception stems from the depositions of Fleetwood
staff including Human Resources Director Zak Volz. It appears
that Volz was unable or unwilling to discuss the facts
surrounding the decisions to dismiss these eleven employees,
other than to suggest that several positions were eliminated due
to a "reorganization." Fleetwood offered no further information
about this alleged reorganization. Therefore, Cardenas is
entitled to propound written discovery to determine the scope and
nature of the reorganization, including the departments that were
reorganized and the ages of the employees retained in departments
in which members of the protected age group were dismissed.
However, this is the full extent of the additional discovery
Cardenas may pursue on this issue.
With respect to the 1999 "failure to hire" fourteen individuals
in the protected class, Cardenas has demonstrated the need to
extend discovery on a very limited basis. During his deposition,
Volz stated that he could only confirm the accuracy of documents
Cardenas obtained from the Illinois Department of Human Rights by
reviewing company records that were not available during the
deposition. Therefore, Cardenas may serve Requests for Admission
on Fleetwood regarding the truth and accuracy of the documents
obtained from the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Additionally, Volz offered testimony suggesting that several
individuals retained by Fleetwood in 1999 were not employed with
the company in early 2000. Plaintiff may propound written
discovery to determine the names, ages and reasons for the
departures of the individuals specifically identified by Volz.
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