United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division
June 9, 2005.
KENYADA CLARK, CELINA JACKSON, PRICILLIA BEASLEY, and MELISSA SNYDER Plaintiffs,
THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF AMERICA, a corporation, THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB ASSOCIATION OF ROCKFORD, a corporation, and ROBERT CAIN Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: P. MICHAEL MAHONEY, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs' Complaints seek redress for sexual harassment,
discrimination, and retaliatory discharge under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and other common law
theories of recovery, against Defendants. On or about October 8,
2004, this court consolidated Plaintiffs' four separately filed
lawsuits for discovery purposes. This matter is now before the
court on Plaintiffs' May 2, 2005, Motion to Strike and Compel to
Defendant Boys and Girls Club of America ("BGCA"). For the
reasons stated below, Plaintiffs' Motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
After exchanging written discovery and attempting to resolve
discovery disputes pursuant to Local Rule 37.2, the parties are
unable to reach an agreement on the proper scope of thirteen of
Plaintiffs' production requests and seven of Plaintiffs'
interrogatories. Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel/Strike raises five main discovery issues, each of which is
discussed separately below. Under the Federal Rules, parties may
obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is
relevant to the claim or defense of any party. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if
the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of admissible evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26.
Nonetheless, the court has authority to limit discovery that is
unreasonably cumulative, unduly burdensome, or expensive. See
Patterson v. Avery Dennison Corp., 281 F.3d 676, 681-82 (7th
Cir. 2002). Generally, when a party objects to a discovery
request, it is that party's burden to show the request is
improper. The court's determination will be based on a balance of
the propounding party's need for the requested items or
information and the objecting party's burden of production.
A. Production Requests 8, 27, 31, and Interrogatory 8
Plaintiffs seek documentation regarding BGCA's employee
handbooks, personnel manuals, supervisor manuals, or any document
that describes BGCA's policies and practices (Request 8); BGCA's
standard employment forms (Request 27); BGCA's sexual harassment,
discrimination, EEO, or discipline policies (Request 31); and
descriptions of BGCA's policies and practices, specifically on
sexual harassment, discrimination, EEO, or discipline policies
(Interrogatory 8). BGCA objects to production, stating as an
affirmative defense that it is not Plaintiffs' employer, which
makes its internal policies and procedures irrelevant to
Plaintiffs' lawsuit. Plaintiffs argue they are not obligated to
accept BGCA's representation and are entitled to discovery that
may support their position.
The court looks to a plaintiff's complaint to define the scope
of discovery. Because Plaintiffs allege within their Complaints
that BGCA is their employer, Defendant's contentions on its employer status (alone) are not enough to limit the scope
of discovery.*fn1 Thus, this court orders Defendant to
produce materials responsive to Requests 8, 27, 31, and
Interrogatory 8 within twenty-one days of receipt of this Order.
The court, however, limits the time period of the Order to 2002
through the present in keeping with the time restraints in other
Requests and the time period of the Complaints.
B. Production Requests 16, 18, 22, and Interrogatory 10
Plaintiffs seek documents and information regarding prior
complaints by BGCA's employees and by member clubs' employees of
retaliation, discrimination, and harassment based on sex, with no
time limitations. BGCA contends that its provided information
(from January, 1999, through the present) regarding Title VII
complaints is more than sufficient. This court agrees. While the
court recognizes that Plaintiffs wish to examine patterns and
practices of BGCA's handling of sexual discrimination/harassment
complaints, Plaintiffs have not shown how BGCA's practices of
more than five year ago, and before the time periods at issue in
Plaintiffs' Complaints, is relevant to their case. Accordingly,
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further responses to Production
Requests 16, 18, 22, and Interrogatory 10 is denied.
C. Production Requests 29, 30
Plaintiffs seek financial information and tax documents from
BGCA. BGCA states that it has already produced its Annual Report
containing detailed information about its income and net worth.
After reviewing BGCA's Annual Report, this court concludes that
Defendant has adequately responded to Plaintiffs' Requests.
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further responses to Production
Requests 29 and 30 is denied. D. Production Request 36
Plaintiffs seek documents related to contacts made between BGCA
and the Boys and Girls Club Association of Rockford. BGCA states
it has truthfully and completely responded to Request 36. Under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g), every discovery response must be
accompanied by the signature of the attorney or party
constituting a certification that to the best of the signer's
knowledge, information, and belief, formed after a reasonable
inquiry, the response is complete and correct. Thus, this court
accepts BGCA's representation that its response is complete, but
reminds Defendant of its responsibilities under the Federal Rules
to supplement production that it learns was incorrect or
incomplete when made. Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further
responses to Production Request 36 is denied.
E. Production Requests 21, 38, 40, 44, and Interrogatories 2,
11, 20, 21, 24
Plaintiffs generally object to Defendant's responses that are
"subject to" an objection, stating they are concerned that word
playing may be being used to withhold otherwise relevant and
discoverable documents. BGCA states it has produced all
non-privileged documents in its possession, and notes that it
clearly identified instances where it limited its responses.
Again, this court accepts BGCA's representation that its
response is complete, but reminds Defendant of its
responsibilities under the Federal Rules, including its
responsibility to complete a privilege log so that the court and
counsel can assess the applicability of the privilege.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26. Therefore, Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike BGCA's
responses to Production Requests 21, 38, 40, 44, and
Interrogatories 2, 11, 20, 21, 24 is denied. However, if a
privilege log has not been produced to Plaintiffs, the court
orders one to be produced within twenty-one days of receipt of
this Order. II. Conclusion
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel/Strike
is granted in part and denied in part. Defendant shall produce
within twenty-one days of receipt of this Order: (1) materials
responsive to Requests 8, 27, 31, and Interrogatory 8 (limited to
2002 through the present), and (2) a privilege log if one has not
been previously produced. Plaintiffs' Motion compelling any
further production is denied.