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Breunlin v. Village of Oak Park

July 17, 2008

CYNTHIA BREUNLIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF OAK PARK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nan R. Nolan United States Magistrate Judge

Magistrate Judge Nan R. Nolan

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Cynthia Breunlin has filed suit against the Village of Oak Park (the "Village"), alleging that Village Manager Thomas Barwin terminated her employment on August 1, 2007 in retaliation for a leave of absence she took under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. Currently before the court is Breunlin's Motion to Compel. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Breunlin began her employment with the Village in 1997 as a Housing Programs Manager. In that position, she oversaw multiple housing programs, including the Single Family Housing Rehabilitation Program (the "Single Family Program"). Sometime in early 2006, the Village hired K & H Consulting Services ("K & H") to review the operation of the Single Family Program in response to allegations of improper activity. The Village also hired William Keefe of R.E. Walsh & Associates in January 2006 to investigate potential improprieties in the Program. In March 2007, Breunlin took a leave of absence under the FMLA for major depression with generalized anxiety disorder. Breunlin later returned to work with her psychiatrist's approval, but the Village terminated her employment on August 1, 2007, purportedly because she violated and failed to implement regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD").

In her motion to compel, Breunlin originally sought production of seven categories of documents and information. (Pl. Mot., at 1.) At a hearing on June 18, 2008, the court instructed the parties to conduct a Rule 37 conference, and to meet and confer in a good faith effort to resolve their dispute. The court understands that the parties have now resolved all but the following three requests:

1. A copy of all billing statements and payments made to K & H from 2004 to 2008;

2. All documents relating to prior investigations for the Village done by William Keefe and R.E. Walsh; and

3. The bates numbers for all documents provided that show action taken by the Village after William Keefe's report(s).

(Def. Resp., at 2.) The court considers each below.

DISCUSSION

A party "may obtain discovery regarding any matter that is relevant and not privileged." Semien v. Life Ins. Co. of N. America, 436 F.3d 805, 813 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 26(b)(1)). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "provide a court with broad discretion in resolving discovery disputes" and, thus, "[a] motion to compel discovery is granted or denied at the discretion of the trial court." Meyer v. Southern Pacific Lines, 199 F.R.D. 610, 611 (N.D. Ill. 2001).

A. Billing Statements

Breunlin first seeks billing statements and other documents reflecting payments made to K & H. The Village has agreed to produce a copy of the company's report, but argues that the billing statements are not relevant to Breunlin's retaliation claim. Breunlin claims that the Village only hired K & H because she contacted the company in an effort to improve the Village's housing department and make its policies consistent with HUD regulations. (Pl. Reply, at 2.) She contends that the billing statements "will show that the Defendant paid a lot of money" for the K & H report, but that the Village "chose not to fully implement these recommendations in satisfaction of HUD policy." (Id. at 2-3 (emphasis in ...


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