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Parvati Corp v. City of Oak Forest

August 23, 2010

PARVATI CORP
v.
CITY OF OAK FOREST ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court, in its discretion, grants Plaintiff's motion to compel [187]. Defendants must produce the requested documents, affidavits of completeness, and/or appropriate privilege logs by no later than 9/1/10. The Court denies Plaintiff's request for fees.

O [ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

On December 14, 2009, Plaintiff Parvati Corporation ("Parvati") filed a five-count Fourth Amended Complaint against Defendants the City of Oak Lawn ("the City"), Adam Dotson, Steve Jones, and David Newquist alleging race discrimination in preventing the sale of Parvati's hotel to Bethlehem Enterprise, Inc. ("Bethlehem") for use as a senior living facility/extended stay hotel for the predominantly African-American members of Bethlehem church. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1982. Also, Parvati alleges an equal protection claim based on race, as well as a due process claim and a First Amendment retaliation claim. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court is Parvati's third motion to compel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B). For the following reasons, the Court, in its discretion, grants Plaintiff's motion to compel. Defendants must produce the requested documents, affidavits of completeness, and/or appropriate privilege logs by no later than September 1, 2010. The Court denies Plaintiff's request for fees.

LEGAL STANDARD

The federal discovery rules are liberal in order to assist in the preparation for trial and settlement of litigated disputes. See Bond v. Utreras, 585 F.3d 1061, 1075 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Kodish v. Oakbrook Terrace Fire Prot. Dist., 235 F.R.D. 447, 450 (N.D. Ill. 2006) ("the scope of discovery should be broad in order to aid in the search for truth"). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense.... Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Meanwhile, the "burden rests upon the objecting party to show why a particular discovery request is improper." Kodish, 235 F.R.D. at 450. In the context of motions to compel, the Seventh Circuit instructs that a "district court may grant or deny the motion in whole or in part, and similar to ruling on a request for a protective order under Rule 26(c), the district court may fashion a ruling appropriate for the circumstances of the case." Gile v. United Air Lines, Inc., 95 F.3d 492, 496 (7th Cir. 1996). As with all discovery matters, district courts have broad discretion in determining motions to compel. See Peals v. Terre Haute Police Dept., 535 F.2d 621, 629 (7th Cir. 2008); Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 756, 761 (7th Cir. 2007).

BACKGROUND

In its Fourth Amended Complaint, Parvati alleges that the City amended its zoning laws by enacting Ordinance No. 2836 in order to thwart Parvati's sale of the property in question to Bethlehem. Parvati further alleges that Ordinance No. 2836 attempted to change what had previously been a single manufacturing district into two different districts, M-1 and M-2, and to change the uses which were permitted in the original single manufacturing district. Parvati maintains that the City rushed through the hearing on the proposed ordinance and failed to publish notice of the proposed hearing 15 days prior to the hearing in violation of the Illinois Municipal Code, 65 ILCS 5/11-13-14. Parvati further alleges that the City deviated from the law by enacting the ordinance because it failed to designate which portions of the manufacturing district were to be M-1 and which were to be M-2 and then lied about its failure to designate the two different districts at the February 2006 hearing of Bethlehem's appeal from the denial of its business license before the City's Planning and Zoning Commission. In March 2006, the City passed a resolution adopting an updated zoning map to show the entire manufacturing district as M-2.

ANALYSIS

I. Document Request No. 8

First, Parvati moves to compel Defendants to produce documents in response to Plaintiff's request for the production of documents No. 8, which states:

Any and all documents, tangible things, and electronically stored information from 2003 to the present relating to the case of Lockridge v. City of Oak Forest, United States District Court Case No. 03 C 8325.

In response to this request, Defendants produced some documents, including a proposed settlement agreement (Bates Nos. 666-68), and a final signed settlement agreement (Bates Nos. 679-81). The City, however, failed to provide any correspondence or emails as requested. In response to the present motion to compel, the City contends that it does not possess any such materials. If this is the case, the City is required to provide an affidavit averring that it has no such materials. Otherwise, the Court grants Plaintiff's ...


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