United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
WILLIAMS CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court pursuant to plaintiff's Motion
to Compel. (Doc. 57). Plaintiff seeks to obtain information
pertaining to commercial truck drivers hired by defendant
while under contract with plaintiff. (Doc. 57, at 6-12).
Defendant timely filed its resistance to the motion. (Doc.
60). Defendant objected to the initial interrogatory and
requests for information on the grounds that they were unduly
burdensome, irrelevant, and not proportional to the needs of
the case. (Doc. 60, at 7-12). For the following reasons,
plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery is granted
in part and denied in part.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of
discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged 1matter 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
Rule 26(b) is widely acknowledged as “liberal in scope
and interpretation, extending to those matters which are
relevant and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery
of admissible evidence.” Hofer v. Mack Trucks,
Inc., 981 F.2d 377, 380 (8th Cir. 1992) (citation
omitted). In the context of discovery the standard of
relevance is broader than in the context of admissibility.
Id. (citing Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340 (1978)). A discovery request
“should be considered relevant if there is any
possibility that the information sought may be relevant to
the claim or defense of any party.” Catipovic v.
Turley, No. C11-3074, 2013 WL 1718061, at *2 (N.D. Iowa
Apr. 19, 2013) (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted). A broad understanding of admissibility in this
context, however, “should not be misapplied so as to
allow fishing expeditions in discovery.”
Hofer, 981 F.2d at 380.
burden of making a threshold showing of relevance is on the
party requesting discovery. See Seger v. Ernest-Spencer
Metals, Inc., No. 8:08CV75, 2010 WL 378113, at *2 (D.
Neb. Jan. 26, 2010). Once a requesting party makes a
threshold showing of relevance, the burden shifts to the
party objecting to the motion to compel. See Continental
Ill. Nat'l Bank & Tr. Co. of Chi. v. Caton, 136
F.R.D. 682, 684-85 (D. Kan. 1991) (“All discovery
requests are a burden on the party who must respond thereto.
Unless the task of producing or answering is unusual, undue
or extraordinary, the general rule requires the entity
answering or producing the documents to bear that
burden.” (citation omitted)). The party objecting has
the burden to substantiate its objections. St. Paul
Reinsurance Co. v. Commercial Fin. Corp., 198 F.R.D.
508, 511 (N.D. Iowa 2000) (citations omitted). A mere
statement by the objecting party that the “request for
production was overly broad, burdensome, oppressive and
irrelevant is not adequate to voice a successful
objection.” Id. (alteration, internal
quotation marks, and citation omitted). Instead, the
objecting party must prove “that the requested
documents either do not come within the broad scope of
relevance defined pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) or else
are of such marginal relevance that the potential harm
occasioned by discovery would outweigh the ordinary
presumption in favor of broad disclosure.” Id.
(quoting Burke v. New York City Police Dep't,
115 F.R.D. 220, 224 (S.D.N.Y. 1987)).
seeks to compel defendant to provide information pursuant to
plaintiff's Interrogatory Number Five, as well as
plaintiff's Requests for Production Number Twenty-Eight,
Thirty-Three, and Thirty-Four. (See Docs. 57, 57-1).
Defendant resists plaintiff's motion, claiming that
defendant has already complied with certain requests made in
Interrogatory Number Five (Doc. 60, at 4-7) and that the
requests with which defendant has not complied are either
overly burdensome (Id., at 7-9), irrelevant
(Id.), or not proportional to the needs of the case.
(Id., at 9-12).
also seeks to compel defendant to provide contact information
for Mr. Otto Welch, defendant's former Vice President of
Recruiting, Academies, and Driver Orientation, so that
plaintiff may depose Mr. Welch. Alternatively, plaintiff
requests that defendant be ordered to produce Mr. Welch for
deposition. (Docs. 57; 57-1, at 10-12). Defendant contends
that the production of information regarding Mr. Welch is
moot because the deposition of Mr. Welch has already
occurred. Defendant likewise contends that plaintiff's
alternative request that defendant be compelled to produce
Mr. Welch for deposition is moot because this deposition has
already occurred. Plaintiff does not challenge these
assertions and the Court will therefore accept them as true.
Accordingly, plaintiff's motion to compel the production
of Otto Welch is denied as moot.
Interrogatory Number Five
Interrogatory Number Five reads as follows:
Identify each driver hired by Swift (including company
drivers, owner-operators, or independent contractors) who was
under contract with CRST at the time of hiring, and further
state (i) the date each driver was first recruited or had
contact with Swift, (ii) the date each driver began driving
for Swift, and (iii) the date each ...