The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan B. Gottschall
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
The plaintiffs ask the court to compel the defendants to: (1) produce complete responses to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories Nos. 9, 10, and 14-22, (2) identify whether documents have already been produced in response to the plaintiffs' document requests and, if so, identify those documents by bates stamp number, and (3) conduct the proposed email key word search and produce responsive emails.
A. Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 9
Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 9 states, "Identify by name, home and business address and corporate title, all people with knowledge of the factual basis for Defendants' answer and each of its affirmative defenses." The defendants responded with a list of names, and argue that they need not provide those individuals' addresses and corporate titles because, as they allege, they disclosed this information in their Rule 26(a) disclosures and the plaintiffs are familiar with those facts through their work as counsel in Farmer v. DirectSat, No. 08 C 3962 (N.D. Ill. filed July 11, 2008). (Defs.' Resp. at 3.) While the defendants' Rule 26(a) disclosures do, indeed, provide an address for each of the individuals named in response to Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 9, it is unclear whether the address provided is a home address or a business address (presumably they are not one and the same) and the Rule 26(a) disclosures do not specify each individual's corporate title. (See Defs.' Resp. Ex. A.) In any event, the fact that the defendants provided some of the information requested in Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 9 in their Rule 26(a) disclosures does not relieve them of their obligation to submit a complete written response to Interrogatory No. 9. In addition, the plaintiffs argue that the defendants' response to Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 9 "is also deficient because it does not identify any supervisors, project managers or dispatch personnel who directly oversaw the Plaintiffs." (Pls.' Reply at 2.) Thus, the plaintiffs' motion to compel is granted insofar as the defendants are compelled to (a) provide a written response to Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 9 that specifies each individual's home address, each individual's business address, and each individual's corporate title, and (b) identify any supervisors, project managers, or dispatch personnel who directly oversaw the plaintiffs.
B. Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 10
Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 10 requests the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of former employees that supervised the plaintiffs or certain "subject employees."*fn1 (See Pls.' Mot. to Compel, Ex. H at 9.) Referring the court to email correspondence between the parties, the defendants allege that the plaintiffs said that the defendants did not have to provide the former supervisors' addresses and telephone numbers and instead would accept the former supervisors' names in full satisfaction of this interrogatory. (Defs.' Resp. at 4.) This is incorrect. In the email, Plaintiffs' counsel clearly states, "Plaintiffs do not agree with Defendants' positions regarding the following . . . Defendants refuse to produce addresses and telephone numbers of
former Illinois technician supervisors, identified in ¶ 10 . . . ." The plaintiffs also complain that the defendants' response fails to identify whether the individuals named in the defendants' response are current or former employees. (Pls.' Reply at 3.) However, as this interrogatory asks only for information relating to former employees, the court assumes that all of the names provided by the defendants are former employees. Thus, the plaintiffs' motion to compel is granted insofar as the defendants are compelled to produce addresses and telephone numbers for individuals named in their response to Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 10.
C. Plaintiffs' Interrogatories Nos. 14-22
The defendants object to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories Nos. 14-22 on the grounds that, because many of the plaintiffs' interrogatories include subparts, these interrogatories are in excess of the 25 written interrogatories the plaintiffs are entitled to propound absent leave of court. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(a) provides, "a party may serve on any other party no more than 25 written interrogatories, including all discrete subparts." Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a). The Committee notes, "Parties cannot evade this presumptive limitation through the device of joining as 'subparts' questions that seek information about discrete separate subjects." Advisory Committee Notes, 146 F.R.D. 401, 676 (1993).
"There is no bright-line test on how to count parts of interrogatories." United States ex rel. Liotine v. CDW-Government, Inc., No. 05-033-DRH, 2010 WL 2025363, at *1 (S.D. Ill. May 20, 2010). However, "[A]n interrogatory containing subparts directed at eliciting details concerning a common theme should be considered a single question," whereas "an interrogatory with subparts inquiring into discrete areas is likely to be counted as more than one for purposes of the limitation." Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 2168.1; accord CDW-Government, Inc., 2010 WL 2025363, at *1, Portis v. City of Chi., No. 02 C 3139, 2005 WL 991995, at *9 (N.D. Ill. April 15, 2005) (quoting Swackhammer v. Sprint Corp., PCS, 225 F.R.D. 658, 664-65 (D. Kan. 2004)); Bell v. Woodward Governor Co., No. 03 C 50190, 2005 WL 3829134, at *1 (N.D. Ill. June 30, 2005) ("interrogatory subparts are to be counted as one interrogatory . . . if they are logically or factually subsumed within and necessarily related to the primary question." (quoting Kendall v. GES Exposition Servs., Inc., 174 F.R.D. 684, 685 (D. Nev. 1997)).
Here, with the exception of Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 2, the plaintiffs' interrogatories which include subparts are directed at eliciting details concerning a common theme. See Pls.' Interrogatory No. 8 (common theme: people with knowledge of the claims), Pls' Interrogatory No. 14 (common theme: duties performed outside of scheduled hours), Pls' Interrogatory No. 16 (common theme: conduct that resulted in a reduction of wages), Pls' Interrogatory No. 17 (common theme: editing time records), Pls' Interrogatory No. 18 (common theme: the alteration of time records); Pls' Interrogatory No. 19 (common theme: practices and policies related to meal and rest breaks), Pls' Interrogatory No. 21 (common theme: notice to employees of their statutory rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois Minimum Wage Law); Pls' Interrogatory No. 22 (common theme: affirmative defenses).
Regarding Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 2, the plaintiffs join as subparts questions that seek information about discrete separate subjects. Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 2 states:
For all Plaintiffs and each person who was employed by Defendants as a SUBJECT EMPLOYEE during the Class Period, please provide the following information for that person for each week during the Class Period: (a) his/her dates of employment, (b) the work site(s) where he or she worked as a SUBJECT EMPLOYEE; (c) his/her hourly rate of pay, if any; (d) the ...