United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Eastern Division
B. JONES, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael Don Amos ("Plaintiff) moves the court to compel
Defendant Doug Henry Buick GMC, Inc. ("Defendant")
to fully and completely respond to requests one, three, and
eight of Plaintiffs First Request for Production of
Documents. [DE-34]. Defendant opposes the motion. [DE-37].
The issues have been fully briefed, and the motion is ripe
for decision. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiffs motion
claims that his employment with Defendant was terminated in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
See Compl. [DE-5]. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
that he informed his supervisor of health issues in
mid-February 2017, and he was terminated in March 2017 with
no disciplinary warning. Id. at 4. Defendant
responds that the decision to terminate Plaintiffs employment
was based on good cause and legitimate, non-discriminatory
reasons, and the decision would have been made regardless of
any alleged disability. Answer [DE-18] at 4.
December 2018, Plaintiff served Defendant with his First
Request for Production of Documents ("First RFP"),
to which Defendant objected. [DE-34-1]. Three requests are
the subject of the parties' dispute:
1. All documents of the personnel records for the following:
Lynn Alderman, Michael Don Amos, Bhobie Belmonte, Nick
Burroughs, Jim Carr, Brad Connerton, Joseph Gaskins,
Nicolette Dawson, Greg Hemby, Karl Langren, Tony Mallard,
Caitlin Opp, Mickey White (Sr), Jonathan Smith, Max Smith,
Jennifer Suggs and Michael Tompson. Records should be
complete and include any resume and/or application, job
position/descriptions outlines, pay plan or compensation
agreements, employee w-4 or w-9 form, 1-9 form, any
communication between employer and employee whether it be a
disciplinary action by the employer to employee or an
employment complaint against the employer, any noted
observations about employee, separation notices, copy of the
acknowledgment of the company handbook of policies and any
communications with the North Carolina Department of
Employment Security (DES) or the United States Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding the
employee and all COBRA related communications. Any and all
other documentation contained in the subject record for any
and all the Doug Henry locations.
3. The OEM sales financial statement(s) as reported by Doug
Henry Buick GMC, Inc. to the Buick GMC division of the
General Motors corporation for the period(s) of 2015, 2016,
2017 and 2018 to date.
8. Documentation of new vehicle sales and the customers of
those vehicles as reported to the Buick GMC Division of
General Motors for credit of sales production in the month of
December 2016 reporting period and copies of the DMV title
applications corresponding to each sale.
Id. On January 11, 2019, Defendant responded to the
First RFP, objecting to the above-listed ijems on the grounds
of overbreadth, vagueness, ambiguity, a failure to seek
documents with reasonable particularity, relevancy, burden,
disproportionality, and confidentiality. Id.
parties conferred by telephone regarding the First RFP on
January 28 and February 8, 2019. Def.'s Mem. [DE-37] at
2. Defendant informed Plaintiff of the bases for its
objections, and Plaintiff agreed to narrow the scope of his
requests. Id. Plaintiff contends that any
confidential information may be redacted or addressed by the
joint confidentiality agreement in effect in this case.
PL's Mot. [DE-34] at 1. Defendant contends that the
requests seek highly confidential personnel information and
are overbroad, vague, ambiguous, and neither relevant nor
proportional to the needs of the case. Def.'s Mem.
[DE-37] at 2-9.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides the
general rule regarding the 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." Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). "Relevancy under this rule has been broadly
construed to encompass any possibility that the information
sought may be relevant to the claim or defense of any
party." Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v.
Sheffield Fin. LLC, No. 1:06CV00889, 2007 WL 1726560, at
*3 (M.D. N.C. June 13, 2007); Mainstreet Collection, Inc.
v. Kirkland's, Inc., 270 F.R.D. 238, 240 (E.D. N.C.
2010) ("During discovery, relevance is broadly construed
'to encompass any matter that bears on, or that
reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any
issue that is or may be in the case.'") (quoting
Oppenheimer Fund., Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340,
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
"[a] party seeking discovery may move for an order
compelling an answer, designation, production, or
inspection" if a party fails to produce or make
available for inspection requested documents under Rule 34.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iv). For purposes of a motion to
compel, "an evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or
response must be treated as a failure to disclose, answer, or
respond." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4). However, the Federal
Rules also provide that
the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery
otherwise allowed by these rules or by local rule if it
determines that: (i) the discovery sought is unreasonably
cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other
source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less
expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample
opportunity to obtain the information by discovery ...