No. Civ.A.SA03CA0049RF, Civ.A.SA03CA0412RF
United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
January 31, 2006
Rebecca L. Fisher, Rebecca L. Fisher & Associates, McGregor, TX, David L. Kern, Peticolas, Shapleigh, Brandys & Kern, P.L.L.C., El Paso, TX, Mark L. Greenwald, Tinsman, Scott & Sciano, Inc., San Antonio, TX, for Plaintiffs.
Robert Edward Bettac, John Joseph Franco, Jr., Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak, Stewart, Shawn K. Fitzpatrick, Attorney at Law, Mark Kosanovich, Attorney at Law, San Antonio, TX, for Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL (DOCKET ENTRY 187)
*1 The matter before the Court is plaintiffs' motion to compel, defendants' response, and plaintiffs' reply (docket entries 187, 190 and 191). Discovery matters in this case were previously referred to me for disposition.
Plaintiffs' motion is made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a). By their motion plaintiffs allege that defendants have either failed to respond to various discovery, including interrogatories, requests for production and requests for admission, or inadequately responded.
The federal rules and local rules limit the number of interrogatories which a party may propound to an opposing party to 25. F.R.Civ.P. 33(a). Several of plaintiffs' interrogatories contained a number of subparts which defendants argue count as separate interrogatories. See
Local Rule CV-33(b). Plaintiffs argue that the subparts should not be counted separately as they contend the subparts seek detail regarding a common theme. Defendants respond that by plaintiffs' reasoning all interrogatories seeking information about credits or offsets would count as a single interrogatory ... a result defendants argue is clearly not contemplated by the rules.
Having reviewed the arguments and authorities cited by the parties I find that the subparts should be counted as separate interrogatories and that defendants were not obligated to answer beyond 25 interrogatories. However, insofar as several of plaintiffs' subparts are duplicitous (Interrogatories 1(e) and 1(b), 1(c) and 1(d), and 2(d) and (e)), the duplicate questions should not be counted towards the 25 interrogatory limit, and defendants are directed to answer a total of 25 interrogatories, which will include Interrogatories 11(a) and (b), and Interrogatory 12.
Plaintiffs object to defendants' production of computerized pay and time records in response to several of their interrogatories and production requests as being an unauthorized “data dump.” Plaintiffs also argue that the computerized business records produced failed to include field descriptors which their expert, in his September 2005 letter to plaintiffs' counsel (Exhibit 3 to Plaintiff's Reply, docket entry 191), explained were necessary to adequately review those records. Plaintiffs argue that without the field descriptors, the records are unhelpful, unuseable, and nonresponsive.
Defendants respond that because that the business records contain the information plaintiffs requested through their discovery and because the burden of culling out the requested information is no greater for plaintiffs than it would be for defendants, the rules permit defendants the option to respond by producing their business records. F.R.Civ.P. 33(d). Defendants also explain that because plaintiffs have not identified the particular work weeks for which each claims entitlement to FLSA overtime wages, defendants are unable to identify the particular records for particular weeks for which they may seek an offset or credit.
*2 After reviewing the discovery requests at issue, the parties' briefing on the motion to compel and the exhibits attached to defendants' response which reflect that defendants supplied the field descriptors and later in December 2005 and January 2006 supplemented their answers further, the motion to compel will be denied. I find that defendants have shown that the burden of extracting the information requested is substantially the same for plaintiffs as defendants, and that the computerized records are an adequate response to these discovery requests.
Plaintiffs ask the Court to strike defendants' answers to several requests for admission or to deem defendants' responses to be “admissions” pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a) because defendants did not admit, deny or properly object to the discovery. Defendants initially refused to respond to some of the requests for admission because they claimed the statements to which an admission was sought were vague, ambiguous and incapable of an answer. Defendants further explain these particular objections in their response to the motion to compel. Plaintiffs' reply did not address these arguments.
After reviewing plaintiffs' requests and defendants' responses, I find that defendants' objections to the requests for admission were justified. The subject requests for admission are incapable of answering as they include terms of which there may be several meanings (e.g., “officer/employer,” “protected class,” and “regular overtime pay”), contain several parts which make the statements unintelligible, or reference sections of the federal regulations inapplicable to non-federal employees which are irrelevant to this dispute. Accordingly, plaintiffs' motion to strike defendants' answers or deem the answers to be “admissions” is denied.
For the reasons stated above, defendants are directed to answer Interrogatories 11(a), 11(b) and 12 within 10 days of date of this Order. In all other respects, plaintiffs' motion to compel (docket entry 137) is ORDERED DENIED.
End of Document.