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BELL v. WOODWARD GOVERNOR COMPANY

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division


December 15, 2005.

DEMETRIC BELL, MARILYN BERRY, CATHERINE BROWN, KIMBERLY BUCHANAN, GILBERTO GONZALEZ, DELLA JARRETT, TIMMY LINK, EDDIE MANNING, JR., KIM NACHAMPASSACK, DUANE PARKS, BRENDA RILEY, DARNEL ROYAL, ROBIN SALLIS, VELMA SANDERS, BARBARA SMITH, TONY TRIPLETT, JANET WILKINS and FRED WYNNE, individually and on behalf of similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
v.
WOODWARD GOVERNOR COMPANY, Defendant.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: P. MAHONEY, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs' November 21, 2005 Motion to Compel is self-described as another "clean-up" motion. It requests that the court order responses or completion in the following seven areas of discovery: (A) Plaintiffs' May 20, 2005 Document Requests; (B) Plaintiffs' August 11, 2005 Interrogatories and Production Requests; (C) Plaintiffs' May 2, 2005 Interrogatory Regarding Job Codes; (D) Plaintiffs' December 28, 2004 Interrogatories; (E) Plaintiffs' May 2, 2005 Interrogatory Regarding Minority Compensation Review; (F) Plaintiffs' May 20, 2005 Interrogatories, Nos. 2 and 3; and (G) Completion of Depositions. Defendant's Response to Plaintiffs' Motion mooted some issues, but most of the discovery matters listed above require further action by the court. The court is pleased to note that discovery disputes that require the court's attention are narrowing as the fact discovery cut-off of January 6, 2006 approaches. To keep the parties moving in this positive direction, the court grants Plaintiffs' Motion in part and denies it in part as follows.

1. Requests A and F

  Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel a response to May 20, 2005 Document Requests and Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further response to May 20, 2005 Interrogatories, Nos. 2 and 3, is granted to the extent that Defendant is ordered to fully respond to Plaintiffs' May 20, 2005 Interrogatories, Nos. 2 and 3, and the May 20, 2005 Document Requests by January 17, 2006. However, the court limits Plaintiffs' Interrogatories Nos. 2 and 3, and the corresponding document requests, temporally. Defendant need not produce information and documents prior to April 18, 2002.*fn1

  The court recognizes there has been controversy over the court's October 12, 2005 ruling regarding Plaintiffs' May 20, 2005 Interrogatory 1.*fn2 Apparently, the parties disagree upon what the Order requires. Because this disagreement is likely to carry over to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories Nos. 2 and 3, the court notes that its October 12, 2005 Order did not attempt to re-write or limit Plaintiffs' Interrogatories, nor does it intend to do so now.

  The court did intend to impress upon Defendant its opinion that Defendant is overzealous to read 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(k)'s burden shifting framework into Plaintiffs' Interrogatories. At this late stage of the lawsuit, the court expects Defendant to understand Plaintiffs' case and the defenses that it will put on at trial.*fn3 The court does not imply that this is an easy task, but it cannot be avoided. Similar to discovery that is allowed for affirmative defenses, Plaintiffs have the right to discover whether Defendant contends its practices with respect to compensation, advancement, and performance evaluation are job related under 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(k).

  2. Request B

  Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further response to August 11, 2005 Interrogatories and Production Requests is granted to the extent that Defendant is ordered to fully respond to the August 11, 2005 Interrogatories and Production Requests by January 3, 2006.

  3. Request C

  Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further response to May 2, 2005 Interrogatory Regarding Job Codes is granted to the extent that Defendant is ordered to fully respond to Plaintiffs' inquiry into what the codes 000-1 and 001-1 were used for in the years covered by the work force database by January 3, 2006. 4. Request D

  Based on Defendant's representations in response to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further response to December 28, 2004 Interrogatories, the court finds Defendant's suggested production date production of December 17, 2005 to be a reasonable date for production. At the latest, production is to occur by December 30, 2005.

  5. Request E

  Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel further response to May 2, 2005 Interrogatory Regarding Minority Compensation Review is mooted by Defendant's Response. Verification, as previously established by the court, is due January 17, 2006.

  6. Request G

  Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Completion of Depositions is denied without prejudice. The request is premature as the parties appear to be capable of working through the scheduling of depositions on their own. The parties should meet and confer before bringing this Motion to the court's attention again.

  In conclusion, Plaintiffs' November 21, 2005 Motion to Compel is granted in part and denied in part, as set forth in the Opinion and Order.

20051215

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