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Wagner v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

April 15, 2008

ROBERT WAGNER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Bruce Guyton United States Magistrate Judge

(GUYTON)

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Rule 73(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the consent of the parties, for all further proceedings, including entry of judgment [Doc. 6], on the plaintiff's Second Motion to Compel and Motion to Reconsider the Court's February 14, 2008, Order. [Doc. 40] The plaintiff moves the Court to overrule the defendant's objections to the plaintiff's discovery requests and to require the defendant to respond. The plaintiff further moves the Court to reconsider its ruling on the plaintiff's prior motion to compel. The defendant opposes the motion, arguing that the objected to portions of the discovery requests are overbroad, unduly burdensome, and irrelevant. The Court will address each of the disputed discovery items in turn and will begin each discussion by quoting the disputed item and any response.

Before addressing the discovery items, however, the Court, as in its prior order, first notes that Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides in pertinent part that:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). The scope of discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is traditionally quite broad. See Lewis v. ACB Business Services, Inc., 135 F.3d 389, 402 (6th Cir. 1998). Nevertheless, discovery does have "ultimate and necessary boundaries," and "discovery of matter not 'reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence' is not within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1)." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978).

I. Plaintiff's Interrogatory Number 4 Discovery Request

Please state the name, address and phone number of each and every employee of the Defendant that attended any Management Development training class at the same time as the Plaintiff and any management position that each individual received.

Defendant's Response

Consistent with the Court's ruling on February 14, 2008, NPC objects to this request as overbroad, unduly burdensome, and irrelevant because it seeks information on employees which can have no bearing on this litigation. Subject to and without waving this objection, NPC is producing contemporaneously with these answers the MDP class reports for those individuals under the supervision of Regional Director Jeff Griffin and their personnel files (NPCRW 2169 to NPCRW 3104).

Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 4 seeks contact information for every employee of defendant that attended Management Development training at the same time as plaintiff, as well as an indication of what management position, if any, each individual received. Defendant objects, contending that the request is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and that, because of the overbreadth of the request, it seeks information relating to individuals who have no bearing on the litigation. However, defendant agreed to produce information relating to individuals under the supervision of Regional Director Jeff Griffin.

In its Order [Doc. 37] dated February 14, 2008, the Court ruled that:

Based upon the information before the Court, the Court finds that any information relating to trainees in the managerial development training program under the supervision of regional directors and management not involved with the supervision of the plaintiff is irrelevant and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. However, the Court further finds that information relating to individuals whose progress was under the supervision of the plaintiff's Regional Director, Jeff Griffin, is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and should be produced. [Doc. 37 at 4]

Plaintiff contends that, because plaintiff applied for different positions across the country, there are individuals other than Mr. Griffin involved in the decision making process, and thus information relating to the progress of employees through the management training program under the supervision of other managers is relevant. However, while the Court accepts that there are other individuals involved in the hiring process, there is no evidence that these other decision makers were in any way ...


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