Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Meyer v. St. John's Hospital of Hospital Sisters of Third of St Francis

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

December 19, 2016

TIFFANY MEYER, f/k/a TIFFANY CAVORETTO, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. JOHN'S HOSPITAL OF THE HOSPITAL SISTERS OF THE THIRD ORDER OF ST. FRANCIS, Defendant.

          OPINION

          TOM SCHANZLE-HASKINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Tiffany Meyer's Motion to Strike Defendant's Objections and Second Motion to Compel Answers to Her First Interrogatories and Second Request for Production of Documents (d/e 30) (Motion). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is ALLOWED in part and DENIED in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Tiffany Meyer (Meyer) uses a wheelchair and crutches. She worked for Defendant St. John's Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (St. John's) as a dietician for approximately four years. Meyer alleges that in late June or July of 2014, St. John's announced it was relocating Meyer's work station which would require her to work almost exclusively on the patient floors. Meyer alleges she voiced concerns that her new work station would not accommodate her wheelchair and asked for accommodation to let her continue to work where she had prior to the transfer of her work station. Meyer alleges that within days after her accommodation request, her employment was terminated. See Complaint (d/e 1), ¶¶ 18-20.

         This matter resulted in Meyer filing a disability discrimination action against St. John's asserting, among other things, that it refused to provide her reasonable accommodations for her disability and retaliated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §12112(b)(1), 12112(b)(5)(A), and 12203(a).

         On April 20, 2016, Meyer served on St. John's her First Set of Interrogatories (Interrogatories) and her Second Request for Production of Documents (Document Requests) (collectively the Discovery). The parties agreed to several extensions of time for St. John's to respond to the Discovery. The last agreed extension required St. John's to respond by July 29, 2016. St. John's responded to the Discovery on August 24, 2016. St. John's states that it delayed in producing its response to the Discovery because its Human Resource Manager left and St. John's counsel had a death in the family. Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Objections and Second Request for the Production of Documents (d/e 32) (St. John's Response), at 4.

         On September 26, 2016, the Court entered an Agreed Protective Order (d/e 26).

         Counsel for Meyer and St. John's discussed the response to the Discovery. St. John's supplemented its response to the Discovery on October 28, 2016, and supplemented its response to the Document Request a second time on November 22, 2016. The parties have conferred but have not resolved all of their disputes regarding St. John's response to the Discovery.

         ANALYSIS

         Meyer asks the Court to strike all of St. John's objections to the Discovery because the response was late. Objections to interrogatories and requests to produce must be timely filed or are waived unless the Court for good cause excuses the failure. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4). The Court finds that sufficient cause exists not to waive all of St. John's objections in this case. The Court, however, admonishes the parties to respond to discovery in a timely fashion hereafter.

         The Court addresses the remaining unresolved disputes over St. John's responses to the Discovery as follows:

INTERROGATORY 12 AND DOCUMENT REQUEST 21
Interrogatory 12
Interrogatory 12 asked the following:
Were salary raises available to a Clinical Dietitian II employee in Springfield, IL from July 8, 2014 through the present? If yes, include in your answer each time raises occurred, the date the raises went into effect each time, the potential percentage range of the raise each time, and all factors considered in giving a raise such as merit, cost of living, or length of time since the last raise.

Motion, Exhibit 1, Defendant's Answers to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories, at 7. St. John's responded:

ANSWER:

Defendant objects to this interrogatory on the grounds that it seeks information that is irrelevant, immaterial, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the production of admissible evidence. Without waiving or prejudicing these objections in whole or in part, records showing raises Plaintiff received during her employment were previously produced and numbered St. John's 15, 17, 19, 21, 40, 42, and 43.

Id. St. John's did not supplement this answer in its October 28, 2016 supplemental response to the Interrogatories. See Additional Exhibit to Motion (d/e 31), Defendant's Supplemental Answers to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories (Supplemental Interrogatory Response). St. John's subsequently informed Meyer that:

Registered Dieticians were eligible for October 2014 Merit Increases based on individual performance review; October 2015 Merit Increases based on individual performance review; December 2015 Salary Alignment Adjustment and October 2016 Merit Increases based on individual performance review. Merit Increases for 2015 and 2016 were 3%.

St. John's Response, at 4-5. St. John's further agreed “to provide the specific raise amount for the December 2015 Salary Alignment and any 2016 Salary Alignment increases once we had that information.” Id., at 5.

         St. John's relevance objection is overruled. The salary increases for dieticians after Meyer's termination is relevant for discovery purposes to the issue of damages in the form of lost wages. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b). St. John's provided a partial response. St. John's must complete the response. St. John's is directed to provide “the specific raise amount for the December 2015 Salary Alignment and any 2016 Salary Alignment increases” by January 8, 2017.

         Document Request 21

         Document Request 21 stated:

21. Produce documents that state the benefits, compensation range, and salary raises available to the Clinical Dietician II position at the St. John's Springfield, IL location from January 1, 2013 through the present.

Motion, Exhibit 2, Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Second Request for Production of Documents (Document Response), at 10. St. John's responded:

RESPONSE:

Defendant objects to this request as unduly vague in its failure to define "applicable." Defendant further objects to this request on the grounds that it seeks information that is irrelevant, immaterial, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the production of admissible evidence. Without waiving or prejudicing these objections in whole or in part, see documents regarding raises Plaintiff received during her employment and available employee benefits which were produced previously, numbered St. John's 15, 17, 19, 21, 40, 42, 43 and 253-302.

Id. St. John's supplemental response substantially repeated the original response and added the following:

Answering further, Plaintiff received a raise effective April 20, 2014. Registered Dieticians were eligible for October 2014 Merit Increases based on individual performance review; October 2015 Merit Increases based on individual performance review; December 2015 Salary Alignment Adjustment; and October 2016 Merit Increases based on individual performance review. Defendant has not located any responsive documents. Investigation continues.

Motion, Exhibit 6, Defendant's Second Supplemental Response to Plaintiff's Second Request for Production of Documents (Second Supplemental Document Response), at 7. St. John's also objected to the word “benefits” as vague. Id.

         St. John's relevance objection is overruled. The salary increases for dieticians after Meyer's termination is relevant for discovery purposes to the issue of damages in the form of lost wages. The vagueness objection is also overruled. The word “applicable” is not in Document Request 21. The word “benefits” in context is clear and refers to fringe benefits provided to employees as part of their compensation.

         The Court directs St. John's to search once more for responsive documents. The Court is skeptical that St. John's does not maintain any documentation of any kind regarding periodic merit salary increases, periodic salary alignment adjustments, or fringe benefits provided to employees. St. John's is directed to provide ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.