United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division
September 28, 2005.
WALTRAUD ("TRUDY") SCHAID, Plaintiff,
WOODWARD GOVERNOR COMPANY, a corporation, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: P. MAHONEY, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on Defendant's August 5, 2005
Motion to Strike Plaintiff's July 21 Supplemental Disclosures or
Alternatively to Compel Plaintiff to Comply with the Disclosure
Requirements of FRCP 26(a)(1) and FRCP 26(a)(3).*fn1 For the
reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
On July 21, 2005, Plaintiff provided opposing counsel with her
fifth supplemental Rule 26(a)(3) disclosure. The disclosure
identified the following four categories of individuals as
potential witnesses on the following subjects: (1) "employees in
defendant's Rockton facility" to rebut Defendant's claims
concerning Plaintiff's performance, conduct and dress; (2)
"employees in defendant's Rockford facility" to rebut Defendant's
claims concerning Plaintiff's performance, conduct and dress and
to rebut Mr. Moist's claim regarding his use of a freight
elevator; (3) "individuals identified in any document produced by
defendant and/or plaintiff" in Schaid or Bell to testify about the subject of the document
in which he or she is named; and (4) "individuals deposed and/or
identified in deposition testimony" in Schaid or Bell to
testify about the subject of the deposition testimony he or she
provided or in which they were identified.
Now, Defendant comes before the court contending that the July
21 disclosures are inadequate under the Federal Rules because
they do not specifically name witnesses, do not provide contact
information, and do not provide an adequate designation of
potential testimony. Defendant claims it is prejudiced by the
disclosures because the "broad categories of unnamed persons" do
not help "refine the factual disputes in this case" and make it
difficult to prepare for trial. (Def.'s Mtn., at 5). In support
of this statement, Defendant notes that thousands of people have
worked at Woodward, one hundred witnesses have been deposed, and
thousands of documents have been produced in the Schaid and
Bell cases. (Id.).
Plaintiff, defending her disclosures, states they provide
"sufficient information" when viewed in the context of
"defendant's broad assertions in this case" and "defendant's
habit of questioning witnesses deposed in Bell . . . concerning
facts and issues related to this case." (Pl.'s Resp., at 1, 3).
Plaintiff also argues that Defendant "has not established that it
needs more information than what it already has." (Id.).
Finally, Plaintiff points to deficiencies in Defendant's own
disclosures to undercut Defendant's Motion. (Id. at 6-7).
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules implicated
by this discovery dispute indicate a straightforward solution.
Under Rule 26(a)(3), a party shall disclose to other parties, and
the court, the following information regarding the evidence that
it may present at trial (other than solely for impeachment): the name and, if not previously provided, the address
and telephone number of each witness, separately
identifying those whom the party expects to present
and those whom the party may call if the need
arises. . . . Unless otherwise directed by the court,
these disclosures must be made at least 30 days
However, in the Western Division of the Northern District of
Illinois, Rule 26(a)(3) is subsumed within the Standing Order for
the Final Pretrial Order, approved by the court April 1, 1999.
See Local Rule 16 and Final Pretrial Order Form. Typically, the
court does not set a schedule for 26(a)(3) disclosures. Rather,
these issues are dealt with at the Final Pretrial Conference. No
Final Pretrial Conference has been set in this case as the
parties have yet to even complete their Rule 56 briefing
Plaintiff calls her disclosures 26(a)(3) disclosures; not
26(a)(1) supplemental disclosures. She titles her disclosures as
"FRCP 26(a)(3)" disclosures. If this were correct, the above
paragraph would end the Opinion of the court. The mislabeling is
probably because Plaintiff's disclosures do not comply with
Federal Rule 26(a)(1). First, Plaintiff's disclosures do not
identify names as required by Rule 26(a)(1). Instead, Plaintiff
lists broad categories of individuals, which is not authorized by
the Rule. Second, Plaintiff's disclosures do not provide the
address and telephone number of each witness.*fn2
While Plaintiff concedes her disclosure is broad, she states
she provided the fifth supplemental disclosure out of "an
abundance of caution." (Pl.'s Resp., at 5). This is plainly not in keeping with the purpose of Rule 26, which is to remove
surprise by narrowing and clarifying the issues for trial. See,
e.g., Sherrod v. Lingle, 223 F.3d 605, 613 (7th Cir. 2000)
(stating the purpose of the discovery rules is to allow "both
sides to prepare their cases adequately and efficiently and to
prevent the tactic of surprise from affecting the outcome of the
case); Bosaw v. Nat'l Treasury Employee's Union,
887 F. Supp. 1199, 1216 (S.D. Ind. 1995). Further, full compliance is required
by both parties automatically.*fn3 In fact, signature of
disclosures constitutes a certification that to the best of the
signer's knowledge, information, and belief, the disclosure is
complete and correct as of the time it is made. Fed.R.Civ.P.
Thus, Plaintiff's July 21, 2005 disclosure, which the court
treats as a Rule 26(e) supplemental disclosure of her 26(a)(1)
responsibilities, is struck pursuant to Rule 37(c)*fn4 and
37(b)(2) as: (1) unhelpful; (2) non-compliant with the statute;
and (3) just plain nonsense.
Accordingly, Defendant's August 5, 2005 Motion to Strike
Plaintiff's July 21 Supplemental Disclosures or Alternatively to Compel Plaintiff to
Comply with the Disclosure Requirements of FRCP 26(a)(1) and FRCP
26(a)(3) is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's July
21, 2005 disclosure, which the court treats as a Rule 26(e)
supplemental disclosure of her 26(a)(1) disclosures, is struck.
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