United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
BRIAN FLYNN, GEORGE BROWN, KELLY BROWN, and MICHAEL KEITH, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
FCA U.S. LLC, f/k/a Chrysler Group LLC and HARMAN INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendants.
Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge
discovery dispute conference was held in this matter on
October 3, 2019. During the conference, the Court addressed
two disputes brought by Plaintiffs. The parties submitted
brief summaries of the disputes ahead of the conference.
Familiarity with the background of this case is
presumed and the Court's orders are set forth
Deposition of T. Kohno
ask that the Court expand their time to depose Defendant FCA
U.S. LLC's (“FCA”) cybersecurity expert Dr.
Kohno pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(d)(1).
Plaintiffs cite the length of Dr. Kohno's report, the
complexity and breadth of issues on which he opined, as well
as Defendants' opportunity to depose Plaintiff's
primary cybersecurity expert twice (once during the class
certification phase and once in the merits phase of this
Rule 30(d)(1), the court must allow additional time to
conduct a deposition consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2) if
needed to fairly examine the deponent. As articulated at the
discovery dispute conference, until Plaintiffs attempt to
complete Dr. Kohno's deposition within the time allotted
(7 hours), the Court cannot properly evaluate whether an
additional 7 hours is necessary for Plaintiffs to
“fairly examine” the deponent. Accordingly, the
parties are directed to take Dr. Kohno's deposition as
scheduled (October 15, 2019). If Plaintiffs have a good faith
basis to move for an expansion of time after said deposition
is taken, they are directed to file a motion.
FCA's Interrogatory Responses
propounded their ninth set of interrogatories on FCA asking
FCA to specify all bases for its denials of certain requests
for admissions. FCA objected to the interrogatory requests,
citing limitations set forth in the Scheduling Order, as well
as issues with the overbreadth of the requests.
regard to limitations, the Court finds that the initial
Scheduling and Discovery Order limited the number of
interrogatories to 40 during the class certification phase.
No other specific directive concerning this issue has been
set forth by the Court; accordingly, it is appropriate to
defer to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which allows
parties to serve 25 written interrogatories, including all
discrete subparts. As such, FCA's objection to
Plaintiffs' interrogatories on the basis of the
limitation set forth in the Court's Scheduling and
Discovery Order is OVERRULED.
the Court considers FCA's argument that interrogatories
37, 38, 39, and 40 include multiple separate and distinct
interrogatories and, as such, Plaintiffs have served a total
of at least 67 interrogatories. As an example, interrogatory
37 asks FCA to specify all bases for its denial of requests
for admissions 27 through 39. In these requests for
admissions, Plaintiffs asked FCA to admit that the various
models of Affected Vehicles do not have a hardware gateway
anywhere in the vehicle. FCA contends this request would
require it to conduct an analysis and review of each of the
13 vehicles mentioned in the request, including the
components particular to each vehicle. Plaintiffs disagree,
asserting they presume FCA's answer and explanation is
the same for each Affected Vehicle, particularly because
Plaintiffs believe the documents and testimony are clear that
the vehicles do not have hardware gateways.
Court agrees with FCA. Notwithstanding Plaintiffs'
presumption concerning FCA's response, Plaintiffs
propounded separate and distinct requests for admissions as
to each model of the Affected Vehicles and the Court has no
reason to doubt FCA in its assertion that each of the
Affected Vehicles and its components would need to be
analyzed separately to respond to the interrogatory.
Accordingly, it appears Plaintiffs have attempted to
circumvent the 25-interrogatory limit in propounding their
interrogatories in this way. However, the Court may grant
leave to serve additional interrogatories consistent with
Rule 26(b)(1) and (2). Finding the requests within the bounds
of Rule 26, and noting the Court's interest in resolving
this dispute as expeditiously as possible, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiffs leave to propound
additional interrogatories number 37-40. Plaintiffs must seek
leave of Court to propound any further interrogatories.
granted Plaintiffs leave to propound interrogatories 37-40,
the Court considers FCA's substantive objections to the
same. FCA objects that the interrogatories are overbroad in
their request for “all bases” and contend that
each of the interrogatories calls for a lengthy narrative.
FCA asserts that the information sought is more reasonably
obtainable from the voluminous documents that have been
produced and the numerous depositions that have been taken.
The Court OVERRULES FCA's objection in
ORDERED to respond to interrogatories 37-40;
however, FCA shall only be required to set forth the
primary bases of its denials, given the breadth of
the requests to admit underlying the interrogatory requests.
FCA shall respond to interrogatories 37-40 by October