United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
MARLENE B. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
IREDELL-STATESVILLE SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendant.
C. Keesler, United States Magistrate Judge
MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on “Defendant's
Motion To Compel Discovery, To Compel Disclosure, And For
Sanctions” (Document No. 34) filed July 19, 2019. 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.
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, a court may
“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).
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).
If the motion is granted--or if the disclosure or requested
discovery is provided after the motion was filed--the
court must, after giving an opportunity to be heard,
require the party or deponent whose conduct
necessitated the motion, the party or attorney
advising that conduct, or both to pay the
movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the
motion, including attorney's fees.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A) (emphasis added).
instant motion, Defendant requests that the Court compel
Plaintiff to: fully respond to its discovery requests;
supplement initial disclosures; and pay Defendant's
attorney fees and reasonable costs incurred in connection
with the motion. (Document No. 9). Defendant contends that
its first discovery requests were served on or about December
20, 2018, and that since then Plaintiff has continued to fail
to provide complete, timely, and verified responses.
(Document No. 34-1). See also Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3)
(“[e]ach interrogatory must, to the extent it is not
objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing
notes that during Plaintiff's deposition she
“admitted that many of her responses to the Board's
First Discovery Responses were incorrect or
incomplete.” (Document No. 34-1, p. 5) (citing Document
No. 34-5). Defendant argues that due to Plaintiff's
repeated disregard of her discovery obligations under the
Federal Rules, Defendant “is without information vital
to its defense and has been forced to expend considerable
attorneys' fees in seeking compliance from
Plaintiff.” (Document No. 34-1, p. 18).
Response…” acknowledges that “some of her
initial responses were not complete, ” “that her
responses have not been timely, ” and that her
“responses may not have been entirely complete or
timely.” (Document No. 37, pp. 2, 4, 6). However,
Plaintiff asserts that she has repeatedly supplemented her
responses, that she has “substantially complied”
with discovery requests, and denies that she has ignored
Defendant's requests or otherwise acted in bad faith.
(Document No. 37).
states that she has “fully responded to Defendant's
Request for Admissions” but does not assert that the
has fully responded to Defendant's interrogatories or
requests for production of documents. (Document No. 37, p.
1). Moreover, Plaintiff does not seem to ...