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Resicom Custom Painting and Maintenance, Inc. v. Professional Retail Services, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 8, 2017

RESICOM CUSTOM PAINTING AND MAINTENANCE, INC., an Illinois corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
PROFESSIONAL RETAIL SERVICES, INC., a New York corporation, Defendant.

          Judge Elaine Bucklo

          ORDER

          Michael T. Mason Magistrate Judge

         WRITTEN opinion entered by the Honorable Michael T. Mason: For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff Resicom Custom Painting and Maintenance's motion to compel [85] is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a reply [101] is denied. Status hearing scheduled for September 28, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

         STATEMENT

         Plaintiff Resicom Custom Painting and Maintenance ("plaintiff") filed a lawsuit against defendant Professional Retail Services ("defendant") alleging claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The parties engaged in mediation but were unable to reach a resolution. Based on the mediation schedule and following an agreed motion for an extension of time, the Court extended fact discovery until August 1, 2017. On August 17, 2017, pursuant to this Court's order, plaintiff filed this present motion to compel.

         Plaintiffs motion [85] raises a number of issues regarding defendant's response to plaintiff's first set of requests for admission ("requests to admit"), first set of supplemental interrogatories, and second supplemental request to produce. Both parties include unnecessary arguments and assertions about the opposing side that are not at issue before this Court. Given the specifics of the discovery requests at issue, the Court will address each discovery requests individually.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 36(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure addresses the requirements for requests to admit:

(3) Time to Respond; Effect of Not Responding. A matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after being served, the party to whom the request is directed serves on the requesting party a written answer or objection addressed to the matter and signed by the party or its attorney. A shorter or longer time for responding may be stipulated to under Rule 29 or be ordered by the court.
(4) Answer. If a matter is not admitted, the answer must specifically deny it or state in detail why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny it. A denial must fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of a matter, the answer must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the rest. The answering party may assert lack of knowledge or information as a reason for failing to admit or deny only if the party states that it has made reasonable inquiry and that the information it knows or can readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit or deny.

         Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the parties to obtain discovery regarding "any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case." For each item requested, the objecting party must "state with specificity the grounds for objecting to the request, including the reasons." Fed. R. Civ. P, 34(b)(2)(B).

         "In ruling on motions to compel discovery, courts have consistently adopted a liberal interpretation of the discovery rules." Kodish v. Oakbrook Terrace Fire Prot. Dist, 235 F.R.D. 447, 450 (N.D. III. 2006) (citation omitted); see Cannon v. Burge, No. 05 C 2192, 2010 WL 3714991, at *1 (N.D. III. Sept. 14, 2010) ('The federal discovery rules are liberal in order to assist in trial preparation and settlement.1'). "Courts commonly look unfavorably upon significant restrictions placed upon the discovery process, " and the "burden rests upon the objecting party to show why a particular discovery request is improper." Kodish, 235 F.R.D. at 450.

         ANALYSIS

         As an initial matter, in addition to requesting that certain answers be compelled or documents produced, plaintiff asks the Court to bar defendant from introducing any information or documents that it did not identify or produce in discovery. Whether or not certain documents or information are barred for summary judgment purposes or at trial is a matter for the District Court to determine. Additionally, in its response [98], defendant amends certain answers to requests to admit, requests for production, and an interrogatory. While the updated information is important for this Court's consideration, defendant must properly amend and serve its verified amended responses to discovery and requests to admit.

         Requests to Admit

         In their motion, plaintiff asserts that defendant's response to the requests to admit was untimely. Specifically, the response was due by July 24, 2017, and defendant served its answers on July 29, 2017. Because the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are clear regarding the timeline for answering requests to admit and because defendant did not seek an extension from the Court or plaintiff, plaintiff argues that the requests should be deemed admitted or that objections raised by defendant should be waived. In the event the Court is not inclined to take one of those measures, plaintiff addresses the relevancy of each individual request to admit at issue. Plaintiff contends that the requests mainly seek to authenticate certain ...


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