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Clark v. River Metals Recycling

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 22, 2018

RICHARD A. CLARK and JENNIFER CLARK, Plaintiffs,
v.
RIVER METALS RECYCLING and SIERRA INTERNATIONAL MACHINERY, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the following motions filed by Plaintiffs Richard Clark and Jennifer Clark:

1. Motion to Compel Supplemental Answer to Supplemental Interrogatory #8, or in the Alternative, to Reconsider the Court's Order of 9/28/2017 Denying Plaintiff's Emergency Motion to Compel (Doc. 146);
2. Motion to Compel Answer to Question Posed to Corporate Representative and to Compel Pursuant to Rule 37(a) (Doc. 154);
3. Motion for Additional Discovery to Respond to Defendant's Second Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to FRCP 56(d)(2) (Doc. 163);
4. Motion to Set Aside Order Closing Discovery (Doc. 166);
5. Motion to Compel Defendant Sierra Machinery, LLC to File a Non-Evasive Complete Supplemental Answer to Plaintiffs' Interrogatory #11 and a Supplemental Request for Production #7 (Doc. 172); and
6. Motion to Amend Relief Sought in Doc. 163, or in the Alternative, a Supplemental Motion for Additional Discovery Made Pursuant to FRCP 56(d)(2) (Doc. 175).

         The motions have been fully briefed by the parties and the Court held a hearing on the same on January 11, 2018, wherein the parties proffered oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' Motions are DENIED.

         Background

         This is a products liability action in which Plaintiff Richard Clark sustained injuries during the course of his employment with Thornton Auto Crushing. Clark alleges he slipped and fell while refilling hydraulic fluid on a Sierra International Machinery car logger/baler model number RB600, serial #125105 (“the Product”), due to a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition. In particular, Clark alleges the car logger/baler: (1) failed to provide adequate platform and/or area in which to provide known maintenance including refilling hydraulic fluid; and (2) failed to have handrails or area in which to hold onto while performing routine maintenance including refilling hydraulic fluid.

         On August 15, 2017, the undersigned reopened discovery on a limited basis following the filing of summary judgment motions due to the failure of Defendant Sierra International Machinery, LLC (“Sierra”) to disclose information concerning the attachment of the trailer to the baler (See Doc. 118). Plaintiffs were granted leave to conduct limited discovery on the trailer and assembly of the baler and trailer (“the Product”) by way of one additional round of written discovery and one deposition.

         Following the limited reopening of discovery, Plaintiffs filed the motions now before the Court. Plaintiffs seek certain discrete supplemental answers to their discovery requests and, more broadly, ask the Court to reopen discovery concerning the trailer at issue. The Court first addresses Plaintiffs' motions related to their broader request to reopen discovery.

         Motion for Additional Discovery (Doc. 163), Motion to Amend Relief Sought in Doc. 163 (Doc. 175), and Motion to Set Aside Order Closing Discovery (Doc. 166)

         In these motions, Plaintiffs set forth arguments to support alternative requests for relief that ultimately amount to a request to reopen discovery so they may be allowed to ascertain information about the design of the trailer on which the baler was mounted.

         Plaintiffs contend that Sierra misled them to believe it did not participate in the design of the trailer at issue. In support of this argument, Plaintiffs point to Sierra's response to their Interrogatory #11, set forth as follows:

Plaintiffs' Interrogatory #11 (Doc. 151-1):
Please identify the individual or individuals employed by the Defendant, who would have the most knowledge concerning the design, and/or configuration of the product referred to in the Plaintiffs' ...

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