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Alford v. Aaron Rents

July 8, 2010

ASHLEY ALFORD, INTERVENOR PLAINTIFF
v.
AARON RENTS, INC. D/B/A AARON SALES AND LEASE OWNERSHIP, RICHARD MOORE AND BRAD MARTIN DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Donald G. Wilkerson United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

On January 19, 2010, this Court appointed Professor Bill B. Dorothy as Pretrial Master in this action pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 53(a)(1)(c). The Pretrial Master was directed to proceed with all reasonable diligence and (1) review all disputed discovery; (2) recommend disposition of all pending discovery motions; and (3) determine whether sanctions are appropriate against any party based upon his or her conduct during the discovery process. On May 17, 2010, the Pretrial Master issued his Report and Recommendations (Doc. 184). Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 53(f), the Court entered an order granting the parties 21 days in which to file objections to the Report and Recommendations (Doc. 185).

On June 7, 2010, the Plaintiff-Intervenor Ashley Alford and Defendant Aaron Rents filed a Joint Response to the Special Master's Report and Recommendations (Doc. 186).*fn1 In that report the parties accepted the Pretrial Master's recommendations regarding disputed discovery and regarding the disposition of pending discovery motions. The parties jointly made objections to the Special Master's findings regarding impositions of sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37.

Having considered the Master's recommendations de novo, the Court ADOPTS the Pretrial Master's Report in PART.*fn2 Specifically, the Court ADOPTS the recommendations regarding disputed discovery and the disposition of pending discovery motions. The Court will issue a separate Report and Recommendation to the District Court on the objections made by the parties on the issue of sanctions.

For the reasons stated in the Report and Recommendation of the Special Master the Court ORDERS the following:

1. Defendant Aaron Rents, Inc.'s Motion for Time to Complete the Deposition of Plaintiff-Intervenor Ashley Alford, for an Order Instructing Plaintiff-Intervenor's Counsel to Not Make Coaching Objections, and to Compel Responses to Prior Deposition Questioning (Doc. 84) is GRANTED IN PART. Plaintiff's deposition, after production of medical history, health insurance providers, employment and salary history from employers, and tax records, should be extended by two hours. Plaintiff-Intervenor's objections to questioning about disciplinary problems in school does not require invasion of FERPA-privileged material and therefore are DENIED.

2. Defendant Aaron Rents, Inc. and Brad Martin's Motion for Extension of Time to Complete the Deposition of Belynda Woods and for an Order Requiring Plaintiff-Intervenor's Counsel to Cease Engaging in Tactics to Delay and Impede the Taking of Depositions in this Case (Doc. 95) is GRANTED. Belynda Woods' deposition will be extended by one hour.

3. Defendant Aaron Rents, Inc.'s Motion for an Order to Admonish Plaintiff-Intervenor's Counsel to Allow All Deponents to Complete Their Answers Without Interruption, and Against Taking Photographs in Connection with a Judicial Proceeding (Doc. 106) is DENIED. Counsel are forewarned that any witness coaching, speaking objections, uncivil behavior, interruptions of witnesses, or efforts to delay either deposition will result in sanctions. Further it is ORDERED that the Special Master shall be present at these depositions to report to the Court any such behavior.

4. Ashley Alford's Motion to Compel Responses to Plaintiff-Intervenor's First Request for Production of Documents to Brad Martin (Doc.124);

5. Ashley Alford's Motion to Compel Responses to Plaintiff-Intervenor's Second Request for Production to Aaron Rents, Inc. (Doc.125);

6. Ashley Alford's Motion to Compel Responses to Plaintiff-Intervenor's Third Request for Production (Doc. 126);

7. Ashley Alford's Motion to Compel Responses to Plaintiff-Intervenor's Fourth Request for Production (Doc. 134); and

8. Ashley Alford's Motion to Compel Responses to Plaintiff-Intervenor's Fifth Request for Production (Doc. 135) are all DENIED. Within fifteen days of this order, the parties are specifically ORDERED to meet and confer to create a listing of all extant document requests and undertake serious efforts to resolve the outstanding issues. Defendants shall identify any document not produced premised upon its "specific request objections," excepting those based upon a privilege that has been included in the privilege log. Upon notification from the parties regarding the outcome of this process, the Court will set a time to review and hear arguments on Defendants' objections. All the requested documents, with the exception of privileged documents, shall be present at that review, even those not produced due to objections.

9. Plaintiff's Motion to Require Defendants Aaron Rents, Inc. and Brad Martin to Provide a Privilege Log that Satisfies Rule 26 (Doc. 130) is GRANTED. Defendants shall resubmit their privilege logs in accordance with the Seventh Circuit document-by-document standard within 15 days of this order. Defendants' privilege logs must, at a bare minimum, consist of the following information: (1) the name and job title or capacity of the author(s)/originator(s); (2) the names of all people who received the document or a copy of it and their affiliation with the party producing the document; (3) a general description of the document by its type; (4) the document's date; and (5) a general ...


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