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Greene v. Shapiro & Ingle, LLP

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

November 16, 2017

LAURA B. GREENE, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAPIRO & INGLE, LLP, Defendant.

          ORDER

          David C. Keesler United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS 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.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff 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).

         Defendant 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).

         Now 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).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Rule 26 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).

         Whether 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) (same).

         DISCUSSION

         By the 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 ...


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