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Sharon Murray v. Nationwide Better Health

October 31, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge:


Monday, 31 October, 2011 03:11:51 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


This matter comes before the Court on the following Motions:

(1) Plaintiff Sharon Murray's Motion to Compel Pursuant to FRCP 37 and Notice of Motion (d/e 153) (Motion 153); (2) Non-party AT&T Mobility LLC's (AT&T) Renewed Motion for Protective Order (d/e 155) (Motion 155); (3) Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint and Joinder of Parties (d/e 158) (Motion 158); (4) Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions and Adverse Jury Instruction and Impose an adverse-inference Instruction Against The Defendants Due to Defendant's Willful Spoilation of Evidence and Willful Violation Of This Court's Order to "preserve all documents related to and reasonable related to plaintiff's claim" entered in 08-cv-3159 on Oct. 15, 2008 and Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 37 Memorandum (d/e 168) (Motion 168); (5) Plaintiff's Renewed Motion For Court Appointed Counsel (d/e 170) (Motion 170); and (6) Non-party AT&T Mobility's supplement to Its Renewed Motion for Protective Order (d/e 179) (Motion 179).*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Motions 153, 155, 168, 170, and 179, and reserves ruling on Motion 158 at this time. The Court addresses the Motion as follows.

1. Motion 153

Motion 153 asks for an order to compel discovery responses. Motion 153, however, does not identify the discovery requests at issue and the Defendants' objections or responses to those requests. The attachments focus primarily on attempts to schedule depositions and the parties' attempt to negotiate a protective order. This Court's Opinion entered August 31, 2011 (d/e 150) (Opinion 150) resolved the disputes regarding the depositions referenced in the attachments to Motion 153. Motion 153 is denied as moot to the extent that it relates to the discovery issues resolved by Opinion 150. To the extent that Murray seeks relief regarding other discovery requests, Motion 153 is denied because she has not provided sufficient information to allow the Court to address the request. Murray does not attach or otherwise identify the discovery request at issue, i.e., the interrogatories, document requests, requests to produce, or other specific discovery requests. Murray should attach to a motion to compel the written discovery request (or requests) that she served on Defendants and the Defendants' formal written response. The Court would then be in a position to address the specific requests at issue and resolve the objections, if any, to those requests. Without this type of specific information, the Court cannot evaluate the Motion, and so, cannot grant Murray's request for relief.

The Court also notes that Murray attaches a long historical record of emails between herself and defense counsel regarding discovery and protective orders. She states that she attaches these to show her good faith in attempting to resolve discovery disputes. In the future, she only needs to provide information necessary to certify her good faith efforts to resolve the specific discovery request at issue in the motion, not every discovery dispute during the entire course of the litigation.

2. Motions 155 and 179

Non-party AT&T asks this Court to order Murray to address all of her communications with any AT&T personnel to AT&T's counsel, attorney Michael Warner, and also, to order Murray to stop making representations to AT&T employees that she is a current employee of AT&T who is on disability leave. The Court previously ordered Murray to direct communications with four specific AT&T employees to attorney Warner because Murray was attempting to depose these four individuals in this case and attorney Warner entered his appearance on behalf of these individuals to secure a protective order regarding those depositions. See Opinion 150, at 8. AT&T asks the Court to order Murray to direct all communications to attorney Warner.

In support of Motions 155 and 179, AT&T attaches communications sent to AT&T employees and attorney Warner in which Murray asserts that she is currently an AT&T employee on an approved disability leave of absence. Murray asserts that she is requesting an accommodation to her disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. E.g., Motion 155, Exhibit A, Email from Murray to Leighton Carroll dated August 31, 2011; Motion 179, Exhibit A, Email from Murray to attorney Warner dated September 26, 2011. These communications do not relate to this case at this time. This case concerns claims against Defendants National Better Health (NBH), Barbara Ley, and Cynthia Northrup based on the Defendants' prior conduct, not Murray's current requests for accommodations. The Court is unwilling to supervise communications between Murray and a non-party regarding issues that are not directly related to this case. The Court, therefore, will decline the request to order Murray to direct all communications to Warner.

AT&T also asks this Court to order Murray to stop representing herself to be a current employee of AT&T. AT&T is effectively asking this Court to make a finding that Murray's employment at AT&T was terminated. This Court previously found in Case No. 08-CV-3159 (brought by Murray against AT&T) that Murray's employment at AT&T was terminated on March 18, 2008. Murray v. AT&T Mobility,, 2009 WL 2985721, at *8 (C. D. IL. Case No. 08-3159, entered September 15, 2009) (2009 Decision). The Court has not addressed the extent to which the 2009 Decision is binding on the parties with respect to this issue in this case. The Court will not address this issue at this time because the parties have not briefed this issue. The Court, therefore, declines AT&T's request to make a finding at this time regarding Murray's employment status, and further, declines to supervise Murray's statements to non-party AT&T employees about a matter that is not currently before the Court.

The Court notes that Murray appears to be putting at issue in her Motions 158 and 180 the collateral estoppel effects of the 2009 Decision and the res judicata effects of the judgment in Case No. 08-CV-3159. The parties may want to address these issues, among others, in connection with ...

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