United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
LAURA B. GREENE, Plaintiff,
SHAPIRO & INGLE, LLP, Defendant.
C. Keesler United States Magistrate Judge.
MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on “Plaintiff's
Motion To Compel Discovery” (Document No. 14). This
motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and is ripe for
disposition. Having carefully considered the motion and the
record, the undersigned will grant the motion in
part and deny the motion in part.
Laura B. Greene (“Plaintiff” or
“Greene”) initiated this action with the filing
of her “Complaint” (Document No. 1-1) in the
Superior Court of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on May
9, 2017. The Complaint asserts claims against Shapiro &
Ingle, LLP (“Defendant”) for: (1)
sexually-hostile working environment / retaliatory discharge;
and (2) violation of the N.C. Wage & Hour Act. (Document
No. 1-1, pp.14-17). Plaintiff contends that she was sexually
harassed by one of Defendant's managers, James Albert
(“Albert”), and was then terminated from her
employment with Defendant because of her gender and in
retaliation for complaining about unwelcome sexual advances.
(Document No. 1-1, p.7).
filed its “Notice Of Removal” (Document No. 1)
with this Court on May 17, 2017. The Court issued its
“Pretrial Order And Case Management Plan”
(Document No. 6) on June 20, 2017. The “…Case
Management Plan” includes the following deadlines:
expert reports - November 6 and 13, 2017; discovery
completion - February 1, 2018; and dispositive motions -
March 1, 2018. (Document No. 6). The deadline to file a
report on the result of mediation was recently extended to
January 1, 2018. (Document No. 19).
pending before the Court is “Plaintiff's Motion To
Compel Discovery” (Document No. 14) filed on October
24, 2017. The motion to compel has been fully briefed and is
ripe for review and disposition. See (Document Nos.
15, 16, and 18).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The rules of discovery are to be
accorded broad and liberal construction. See Herbert v.
Lando, 441 U.S. 153, 177 (1979); and Hickman v.
Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 507 (1947). However, “[t]he
court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party
or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression or undue
burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1).
to grant or deny a motion to compel is generally left within
a district court's broad discretion. See Lone Star
Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of Va., Inc., 43
F.3d 922, 929 (4th Cir. 1995) (denial of motions to compel
reviewed on appeal for abuse of discretion); Erdmann v.
Preferred Research Inc., 852 F.2d 788, 792 (4th Cir.
1988) (noting District Court's substantial discretion in
resolving motions to compel); and LaRouche v. National
Broadcasting Co., 780 F.2d 1134, 1139 (4th Cir. 1986)
pending motion, Plaintiff contends that Defendant has failed
to adequately respond to several discovery requests.
(Document No. 14). Plaintiff requests that the Court compel
Defendant to provide full responses to Interrogatory No. 2