United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
E. GATES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case comes before the court on two motions by defendants
Village Green Care Center, Ltd., Village Green Real Estate
and Development, and Village Green Rehabilitation
(collectively "defendants"): (1) a motion (D.E. 21)
to compel responses to discovery requests served on plaintiff
Jacqueline Evans ("plaintiff) and to modify the
Scheduling Order (D.E. 20), and (2) a motion (D.E. 24) for a
status conference. No opposition to either motion has been
filed by plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, and the time
for doing so has expired. For the reasons set forth below,
both motions will be allowed.
employment discrimination case arises out of plaintiff s
claim that she was placed on unpaid leave by defendants
because of her pregnancy and/or pregnancy-related
restrictions in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S. § 2000e,
et seq. Compl. (D.E. 5) ¶¶ 4, 6. Defendants deny
the material allegations in plaintiffs complaint. See
generally Defs.' Ans. (D.E. 11).
May 2017, defendants served on plaintiff their first set of
discovery requests. Disc. Reqs. (D.E. 21-2). Pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(b)(2)(C), 6(d), 33(b)(2), and 34(b)(2)(A),
plaintiffs responses to the discovery requests were required
to be served by 28 June 2017. Mot. (D.E. 21) ¶ 9.
Defendants made several attempts to remind plaintiff of the
overdue responses. Mot. ¶ 6; 10 July 2017 Email (D.E.
21-3); 19 July 2017 Ltr. (D.E. 21-4); 8 Aug. 2017 Email (D.E.
21-5). Plaintiff served no discovery responses, and on 11
August 2017, defendants filed the instant motion to compel.
On 13 October 2017, defendants filed a motion to request a
status conference with the court. The motions were referred
to the undersigned for disposition on 21 December 2017. See
APPLICABLE LEGAL PRINCIPLES
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure enable parties to obtain
information by serving requests for discovery on each other,
including interrogatories and requests for production of
documents. See generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 26-37. Rule
26 provides for a broad scope of discovery:
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).
district court has broad discretion in determining relevance
for discovery purposes. Seaside Farm, Inc. v. United
States, 842 F.3d 853, 860 (4th Cir. 2016); Watson v.
Lowcountry Red Cross, 974 F.2d 482, 489 (4th Cir. 1992).
The party resisting discovery bears the burden of
establishing the legitimacy of its objections. Eramo v.
Rolling Stone LLC, 314 F.R.D. 205, 209 (W.D. Va. 2016)
("[T]he party or person resisting discovery, not the
party moving to compel discovery, bears the burden of
persuasion." (quoting Kinetic Concepts, Inc. v.
ConvaTec Inc., 268 F.R.D. 226, 243 (M.D. N.C. 2010)));
Brey Corp. v. LQ Mgmt., L.L.C, No. AW-1
l-cv-00718-AW, 2012 WL 3127023, at *4 (D. Md. 26 Jul. 2012)
("In order to limit the scope of discovery, the
'party resisting discovery bears the burden of showing
why [the discovery requests] should not be
granted."' (quoting Clere v. GC Servs.,
L.P., No. 3:10-cv-00795, 2011 WL 2181176, at *2 (S.D.
W.Va. 3 June 2011))).
governs interrogatories. It provides that "[u]nless
otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party may
serve on any other party no more than 25 written
interrogatories, including all discrete subparts."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(1). Rule 33 requires that a party served
with interrogatories answer each fully under oath to the
extent that the party does not object to the interrogatory.
Id.(b)(3). Objections not made timely are waived,
subject to the court excusing the untimeliness for good
cause. Id. (b)(4).
governs requests for production of documents. A party
asserting an objection to a particular request "must
specify the part [to which it objects] and permit inspection
of the rest." Id. 34(b)(2)(C). Objections not
timely asserted are waived. See, e.g., Frontier-Kemper
Constructors, Inc., 246 F.R.D. 522, 528 (S.D. W.Va.
2007); Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Inc. v. Furniture
USA, Inc., 200 F.R.D. 255, 258 (M.D. N.C. 2001).
party withholds information on the basis of privilege,
including work-product protection, it must expressly assert
the privilege objection in response to the particular
discovery request involved. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(5)(A). In
addition, the party must serve with its discovery responses a
privilege log in conformance with Rule 26(b)(5)(A). See
allows for the filing of a motion to compel discovery
responses. See Id. 37(a)(3)(B). Rule 37 requires
that a motion to compel discovery "include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make
disclosure or discovery in an effort to obtain it without
court action." Id.(a)(1). Similarly, Local
Civil Rule 7.1(c), E.D. N.C. requires that "[c]ounsel
must also certify that there has been a good faith effort to
resolve discovery disputes prior to the filing of any
discovery motions." Local Civ. R. 7.1(c) (E.D.N.C);
see Jones v. Broadwell, No. 5:10-CT-3223-FL, ...