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Greene v. Shapiro & Ingle, LLP

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

March 30, 2018

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. 22). This motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and immediate review is appropriate. Having carefully considered the motion, the record, and applicable authority, the undersigned will grant the motion.

         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).

         Now pending before the undersigned is “Plaintiff's Motion To Compel Discovery” (Document No. 22) filed February 22, 2018. The motion has been fully briefed. See (Document Nos. 23, 32 and 39). Although the Court had planned to hold a telephone conference, in the interests of judicial economy and efficient case management the undersigned issues this decision.

         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 seeks to compel Defendant to fully respond to Request Nos. 26 and 27 of Plaintiff's Third Request for Production of Documents. (Document No. 22, p.1). These requests seek the following information from Defendant:

26. Produce all documents which purport to show the badge entry swipes and/or the time of entry or egress for each attorney employed by Defendant at its Charlotte, NC office during the ...

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