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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Spencer Gifts, LLC

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

December 11, 2019

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
SPENCER GIFTS, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DAVID C. KEESLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on “Plaintiff EEOC's Second Motion To Compel Discovery Responses” (Document No. 39). This motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and is ripe for disposition. Having carefully considered the motion, the record, and applicable authority, the undersigned will grant the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“Plaintiff” or “EEOC”) initiated this action with the filing of a “Complaint” (Document No. 1) on September 26, 2018. The Complaint contends that Spencer Gifts, LLC (“Defendant” or “Spencer Gifts”) failed to provide reasonable accommodations for Cindy Sykes (“Sykes”) and terminated her because of her disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“ADA”). (Document No. 1, p. 1). Following multiple extensions of time and a stay due to a Government shutdown, “Defendant's Answer And Affirmative Defenses” (Document No. 14) was filed on February 25, 2019.

         A “Pretrial Order And Case Management Plan” (Document No. 16) issued on March 22, 2019. The “…Case Management Plan” includes the following deadlines: discovery completion - December 20, 2019; Mediation - September 9, 2019; dispositive motions - January 17, 2020; and trial May 4, 2020. (Document No. 16). This case was again stayed while the parties pursued settlement between June 6, 2019 and August 8, 2019. (Document Nos. 21 and 23). On August 20, 2019, the case deadlines were revised as follows: Rule 26 disclosures - September 6, 2019; discovery completion - February 20, 2020; dispositive motions - March 20, 2020; and trial September 21, 2020. (Document No. 26).

         Plaintiff's “Motion To Compel Discovery Responses And Entry Upon Land And For Costs” (Document No. 28) was filed on September 3, 2019. The undersigned issued an “Order” (Document No. 32) granting the first motion to compel on September 27, 2019. The undersigned further directed that:

Defendant must reimburse Plaintiff for the reasonable expenses and attorney's fees associated with preparing and filing the motion to compel and supporting documents (Document Nos. 28 and 29); the reply brief in support of the instant motion (Document No. 31); and Plaintiff's costs associated with the site visit on August 21, 2019. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A)(i)-(iii).
Defendant is respectfully advised that additional failures to participate in discovery, or to abide by the Orders and Local Rules of this Court and/or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, will likely lead to further sanctions against Defendant and/or Defendant's counsel. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(i)-(vi) and (d); see also (Document No. 16, p. 11).

(Document No. 32, p. 6).

         Subsequently, Plaintiff had to file a “Motion For Costs” (Document No. 33) and a “Renewed Motion For Previously Ordered Attorney's Fees And Costs” (Document 36) before Defendant agreed to pay the Court-ordered fees and costs on November 13, 2019. See (Document No. 41).

         Now pending is “Plaintiff EEOC's Second Motion To Compel Discovery Responses” (Document No. 39) filed on November 13, 2019. The pending motion is now ripe for review and disposition. See (Document Nos. 40, 42, and 43).

         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 ...

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