United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
E. Gate United States Magistrate Judge.
case comes before the court on the motion (D.E. 59) by
plaintiff ALDI Inc. ("ALDI") to compel defendant
Bruna Maraccini ("Maraccini") to produce
supplemental discovery responses. Maraccini filed a response
in opposition to the motion. See D.E. 75. ALDI filed
a supplemental emergency motion (D.E. 71), which narrowed the
relief sought in its initial motion to compel. For the
reasons and on the terms set forth below, the motions will be
allowed in part and denied in part.
commenced this action asserting that its former employee,
Maraccini, misappropriated ALDI's trade secrets in
violation of a nondisclosure/confidentiality agreement when
she accepted employment with one of ALDI's competitors,
defendants Lidl US, LLC, Lidl U.S. Operations, LLC, and Lidl
U.S. Management, LLC (collectively "Lidl"). See
generally Compl (D.E. 1) 1-2. In addition, ALDI alleges
that Maraccini retained ALDI's confidential, proprietary,
and/or trade secret information notwithstanding an agreement
to return such property to ALDI and enlisted other ALDI
employees to obtain ALDI's confidential information for
Lidl's use and benefit. Id. at 2(b), (c).
complaint, ALDI asserts claims against Maraccini for Defend
Trade Secrets Act violations (id. ¶¶
111-22); North Carolina Trade Secrets Protection Act
violations (id. ¶¶ 123-33); breach of
contract (id. ¶¶ 145-55); North Carolina
Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act violations
(id. ¶¶ 171-82); and conversion
(id. ¶¶ 183-87).
March 2019, this court allowed ALDI's motion for
preservation of documents, software, and things, and entered
a temporary restraining order against Maraccini and the other
defendants ("TRO") (D.E. 18). TheTRO enjoined
defendants from "[m]isappropriating, using, or
disclosing to any person or entity ALDI's Confidential
Information and Trade Secrets; and . . . possessing any
original, copies or summaries of ALDI's Confidential
Information and Trade Secrets in any form, electronic or
otherwise." TRO 4 ¶ 2. The TRO was to remain in
effect for 14 days (id. at 5 ¶ 4), but was
extended in duration on 18 March 2019 until further order of
the court (see D.E. 38 at 2).
court entered a case management order ("CMO") (D.E.
46) on 2 April 2019. The CMO provides for expedited discovery
on certain topics in advance of preliminary injunction
proceedings. CMO §I.B. The CMO permitted each party to
serve up to 15 requests for production of documents and up to
10 interrogatories by 5 April 2019, with responses to each
being due within 14 days of service. Id. § I.C,
April 2019, ALDI served its Amended First Set of
Interrogatories and Amended First set of Requests for
Production of Documents on Maraccini. Disc. Reqs. (D.E.
59-1). Maraccini served responses to ALDI's discovery
requests on 16 April 2019. Maraccini Disc. Resps. (D.E.
59-2). ALDI filed its initial motion to compel on 27 April
2019 seeking to compel Maraccini to supplement her responses
to three interrogatories and seven document requests. As
indicated, Maraccini filed a response in opposition. In its
supplemental emergency motion, filed 8 May 2019, ALDI has
limited its request for relief to two interrogatories, nos. 8
and 9, and one document request, no. 1. At a telephone status
conference on 8 May 2019 (see D.E. 76), the court
confirmed that Maraccini was not going to respond separately
to ALDI's emergency motion, but would rely on the
arguments set forth in her response to the initial motion to
APPLICABLE LEGAL PRINCIPLES
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure enable parties to obtain
information by serving requests for discovery on each other,
including 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-11-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.
governs interrogatories. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33. It 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 ...