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Serum Source International, Inc. v. GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

March 8, 2017

SERUM SOURCE INTERNATIONAL, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
GE HEALTHCARE BIO-SCIENCES CORP. and GE HEALTHCARE INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Dennis L. Howell United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion to Compel [# 30]. Plaintiff moves to compel Defendant GE Heathcare Bio-Sciences Corp. (“Defendant”) to respond to its First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. On March 6, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the motion and orally granted in part and denied in part the Motion. The Court now enters this written Order to memorialize the Court's prior oral Order. The Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the Motion to Compel [# 30]. The Court DENIES the previously stricken Motion for Protective Order [# 32].

         II. Legal Standard

         Generally speaking, parties are entitled to discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any claim or defense, and information need not be admissible at trial to be discoverable. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). This Court has broad discretion to determine whether discovery is relevant to a party's claim or defense. Watson v. Lowcountry Red Cross, 974 F.2d 482, 489 (4th Cir. 1992). “Moreover, notwithstanding Rule 26(b)(1)'s recent amendment placing an emphasis on the proportionality of discovery, the discovery rules, including Rule 26, remain subject to ‘broad and liberal construction.'” Scott Hutchinson Enters., Inc. v. Cranberry Pipeline Corp., 3:15-cv-13415, 2016 WL 5219633, at *2 (S.D. W.Va. Sept. 20, 2016) (quoting Eramo v. Rolling Stone LLC, 314 F.R.D. 205, 209 (W.D. Va. Jan. 25, 2016)); see also CTB, Inc. v. Hog Slat, Inc., 7:14-CV-157-D, 2016 WL 1244998, at *3-4 (E.D. N.C. Mar. 23, 2016).

         The Court may limit the scope of otherwise allowable discovery where the Court finds that the requested discovery is not proportional to the needs of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1); Lovett v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., 2:14-CV-34-BO, 2015 WL 4092801, at *2 (E.D. N.C. Jul. 6, 2015). In determining the issue of proportionality, the Court must consider: (1) the importance of the issues at stake; (2) the amount in controversy; (3) the parties' relative access to the information and materials at issue; (4) the resources of the parties; (5) the importance of the discovery sought in resolving the issues; and (6) whether the burden or expense of complying with the discovery requests outweighs the likely benefit. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1); Turner Constr. Co. v. Tig Ins. Co., 1:15CV83, 2017 WL 589193, at *2 (N.D. W.Va. Feb. 14, 2017).

         Where a party fails to respond to an interrogatory or a request for production of documents, the party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer to the interrogatories or the production of documents responsive to the request. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). “Over the course of more than four decades, district judges and magistrate judges in the Fourth Circuit…have repeatedly ruled that the party or person resisting discovery, not the party moving to compel discovery, bears the burden of persuasion.” Kinetic Concepts, Inc. v. ConvaTec Inc., 268 F.R.D. 226, 243 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (collecting cases); Mainstreet Collection, Inc. v. Kirkland's, Inc., 270 F.R.D. 238, 241 (E.D. N.C. 2010); Penley v. McDowell Cty. Bd. of Educ., 1:14cv170, 2015 WL 7721244, at *2 (W.D. N.C. Nov. 30, 2015) (Howell, Mag. J.); CTB, 2016 WL 1244998, at *4. The recent amendments to Rule 26 have not altered this rule.

         III. Analysis

         At the hearing, the Court addressed each of the interrogatories and requests for production of documents at issue and orally ruled. The Court now enters this Order to perfect the record.

         A. Interrogatories

No. 2: Defendant has agreed to supplement its answer to this interrogatory.
No. 3: The Court OVERRULES the Defendant's objections and ORDERS Defendant to answer this interrogatory within fourteen (14) days of the entry of this Order.
No. 6: The Court OVERRULES the Defendant's objections and ORDERS Defendant to answer this interrogatory within fourteen (14) days of the entry of this Order. The Court, however, shall allow Defendant until Friday, March 10, 2015, to provide Plaintiff with a report or similar materials that would provide the context and background for the issues of the notices rather than undertake the expense of fully responding to this requests.
No. 7: The Court OVERRULES the Defendant's objections and ORDERS Defendant to answer this interrogatory within fourteen (14) days of the entry of this Order.
No. 10: The Court OVERRULES the Defendant's objections and ORDERS Defendant to answer this interrogatory within fourteen (14) days of the entry of this Order. The Court, however, shall allow Defendant until Friday, March 10, 2015, to provide Plaintiff with a report or similar materials that would provide the context and background for the issues of ...

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