United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND United States Magistrate Judge
Snyder initiated this action alleging that the City of
Chicago violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 623, when the City
refused to allow Snyder to become a cross-trained dual
certified firefighter/paramedic (Dkt. 1 (Compl.) ¶¶
12-13). The current discovery dispute involves two 30(b)(6)
depositions which both occurred on October 20, 2016. On
October 28, 2016, Plaintiff Anthony Snyder
(“Snyder”) filed a Renewed Motion For Discovery
Sanctions and Additional Time to Resume a 30(b)(6) Deposition
of a Knowledgeable City Designated Deponent. (Dkt. 40). The
same day, Defendant City of Chicago (the “City”)
filed a Motion for Rule to Show Cause and Extend Time. (Dkt.
Both of the Motions were referred by the District Court to
the United States Magistrate Judge for resolution. For the
reasons set forth below, both Motions are denied.
Complaint, Snyder alleges that the City's use of §
2-152-410(e) of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago
(hereafter, the “Ordinance”) denies cross-over
training to incumbent CFD paramedics like Snyder who are over
40 years of age. (Compl. ¶ 14). The City's
“misappli[cation]” of the Ordinance, Synder
claims, constitutes a subterfuge for age discrimination.
(Id. ¶¶ 14, 17). The City denies liability
and asserts two affirmative defenses-first, that the City is
exempt from liability under the ADEA exemption in 29 U.S.C.
§ 623(j) and second, that Snyder's claims are
time-barred based on the timing of his EEOC charge filing.
present Motions involve two 30(b)(6) witness depositions.
Synder's Motion concerns Charles Stewart
(“Stewart”), former First Deputy Fire
Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department, who was
designated to testify on topic nos. 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 of
Synder's 30(b)(6) Deposition Rider. (Dkt. 55 at 2; Dkt.
55-1). Synder contends that Stewart was not able
to sufficiently answer questions regarding topic nos. 1 and
2. (Dkt. 40 at 3). Topic no. 1 seeks testimony on “the
origin and reasons for the wording of § 2-152-410(e) of
the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago at the time of its
original enactment”, which was enacted in 2000 and set
an age limit of 35 for a firefighter or EMT. (Dkt. 55-1).
Topic no. 2 seeks testimony on “the origin and reasons
for the wording (including changes in the wording) of §
2-152-410(e) of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago, as
amended”, which was amended in 2006 and increased the
age limit to 38 for a firefighter or EMT. (Dkt. 55-1; Dkt. 40
City's Motion argues that firefighter/paramedic Patrick
Quane (“Quane”), the 30(b)(6) witness designated
by Synder's union, Local 2 (the “Union”), was
“not properly educated regarding the subjects in the
City's subpoena.” (Dkts. 42, 42-1). The City
complains that Quane did not know: (1) whether the Union was
aware of or had discussions with the City about the
City's intention to create an age requirement for hiring
firefighters in 2000; (2) whether the Union was aware of or
had discussions with the City about the City altering that
age requirement in 2006; (3) whether there were attempts to
amend Section 16.4C of the City-Union Collective Bargaining
Agreement; (4) about the Union's objection to Howard
Wahl's cross-over; (5) about the Union's involvement
in the DiGiovanni Arbitration; or (6) whether the
Union monitored the litigation in Brown v. King.
(Dkt. 42-1). These subjects relate to topic nos. 5-6 and
12-14 of the City's Deposition Rider. (Dkt. 50 at 4-5).
courts have broad discretion in supervising discovery.
Hunt v. DaVita, Inc., 680 F.3d 775, 780 (7th Cir.
2012); Cent. States, Se. & Sw. Areas Pension Fund v.
Waste Mgmt. of Mich., Inc., 674 F.3d 630, 636 (7th Cir.
2012). A court “may fashion a ruling appropriate for
the circumstances of the case [and] is not limited to either
compelling or not compelling a discovery request; in making
its ruling, a district court should independently determine
the proper course of discovery based upon the arguments of
the parties.” Gile v. United Airlines, 95 F.3d
492, 496 (7th Cir. 1996).
court's discretion over discovery includes deciding
whether and how to sanction misconduct. Hunt, 680
F.3d at 780. The severity of any sanction should be
proportional to the offense. Allen v. Chi. Transit
Auth., 317 F.3d 696, 703 (7th Cir. 2003). The court
should take into account all of the circumstances and the
procedural history of the case. Long v. Steepro, 213
F.3d 983, 986 (7th Cir. 2000). The court should also consider
the prejudice caused by the discovery violation. Marrocco
v. Gen. Motors Corp., 966 F.2d 220, 225 (7th Cir. 1992);
Jones v. Bremen High Sch. Dist. 228, No. 08 C 3548,
2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51312, at *30 (N.D. Ill. May 25, 2010).
Civil contempt is “a severe remedy.” Panther
Pumps & Equip. Co. v. Hydrocraft, Inc., 566 F.2d 8,
21 (7th Cir. 1977) (citations and quotations omitted). A
litigant should not be held in contempt “unless it has
violated an unambiguous command.” Widmar v. Sun
Chem. Corp., No. 11 C 1818, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68087,
at *15 (N.D. Ill. May 16, 2012) (citing Abbott Labs. v.
Baxter Int'l, 218 F.App'x 523, 525 (7th Cir.
The Parties' Motions
party complains of the other's discovery conduct. The
Court finds both parties guilty of not complying with the
discovery rules. Further, issues regarding the scope or
specificity of the topics should have been addressed
before the depositions. The parties should have
resolved the issues and if they could not, they should have
sought a protective order from the Court. Nieman v.
Grange Mut. Ins. Co., No. 11-cv-3404, 2012 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 160753, at *4 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 9, 2012) (“The
correct remedy if the corporation objects to [a Rule
30(b)(6)] notice is to seek a protective order.”);
Clauss Constr. v. UChicago Argonne LLC, No.
13-cv-05479, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4131, at *2 (N.D. Ill.
Jan. 13, 2015) (granting in part and denying in part motion
for protective order concerning Rule 30(b)(6) deposition
topics); F.R.C.P. 26(c). The relief requested in the
parties' motions, however, is not proportional or
appropriate for the circumstances of this case.
Snyder's Motion For Sanctions and Additional Time to
Resume a 30(b)(6) Deposition
complains that Stewart was not prepared and able to
sufficiently testify about the origins and reasons for the
2000 and the 2006 City ordinances setting age maximums for
firefighters and EMTs. The City responds that while the
witness was ...