United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
ALISTAIR E. NEWBERN United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is a motion to compel filed by Plaintiff
NexPay, Inc. (NexPay) (Doc. No. 99) to which Defendant
Comdata Network, Inc. (Comdata) has responded (Doc. No. 106).
This matter has been referred to the undersigned magistrate
judge for resolution. (Doc. No. 92.) At the parties'
request, the magistrate judge held a hearing on NexPay's
motion to compel on August 23, 2017. The magistrate judge has
also held several telephone conferences with the parties
regarding related discovery issues. Based upon the
parties' filings and their arguments made in court and in
discovery conferences, NexPay's motion to compel (Doc.
No. 99) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART WITHOUT
underlying facts of this matter are familiar to the parties
and to the Court. For purposes of resolving this discovery
issue, it is sufficient to establish that, in 2012, NexPay
and Comdata held confidential discussions regarding joining
forces to provide virtual payment processing services to ECHO
Health, Inc. (Doc. No. 43.) NexPay claims that it developed a
proprietary funding-at-authorization payment process to meet
ECHO Health's specialized service demands.
provided credit card processing services, which ECHO Health
also required. NexPay shared the funding-at-authorization
model with Comdata pursuant to confidentiality agreements in
negotiating the terms of their partnership. (Id.)
NexPay now alleges that Comdata misappropriated that
proprietary funding-at-authorization model to contract
directly with ECHO Health. (Id.) Comdata denies that
it misappropriated NexPay's proprietary model and
counterclaims that it independently developed a
funding-at-authorization process and that it was NexPay who
wrongfully appropriated Comdata's proprietary
information. (Doc. No. 46.)
trial court may determine the proper scope of discovery,
guided by Rule 26(b)'s direction that parties may
discover “any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to
any party's claim or defense and proportional to the
needs of the case . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
“Although a plaintiff should not be denied access to
information necessary to establish her claim, neither may a
plaintiff be permitted ‘to go fishing and a trial court
retains discretion to determine that a discovery request is
too broad and oppressive.'” Surles ex rel.
Johnson v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., 474 F.3d 288, 305 (6th
Cir. 2007) (quoting Marshall v. Westinghouse Elec.
Corp., 576 F.2d 588, 592 (5th Cir. 1978)). Rule 37
authorizes the filing of a motion to compel a discovery
response when a party provides an “evasive or
incomplete” answer to an interrogatory served under
Rule 33. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B), 37(a)(4).
motion to compel, NexPay asks the Court to order
Comdata's response to six interrogatories. (Doc. No.
101.) The Court addresses these interrogatories as follows.
Interrogatory 3 and Interrogatory 5
3 and 5 ask Comdata to “[i]dentify all facts upon which
[it] relied” in two allegations of its counterclaim
against NexPay. Interrogatory 3 addresses the allegation that
“NexPay uses ‘technology that mirror
Comdata's Intellectual Property in many ways'.”
(Doc. No. 101, PageID# 1078.) Interrogatory 5 addresses the
allegation that “‘NexPay does not appear to have
used such technology prior to its relationship with
the hearing on NexPay's motion to compel, Comdata moved
to dismiss its counterclaim voluntarily and without
prejudice. (Doc. No. 119.) NexPay opposes that motion. (Doc.
No. 127.) The resolution of Comdata's motion for
voluntary dismissal will materially affect NexPay's
motion to compel with regard to Interrogatories 3 and 5.
NexPay's motion is therefore DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO
RENEWAL after disposition of Comdata's motion to
voluntarily dismiss its counterclaim, which will be addressed
Interrogatories 7, 8, 9, and 10 seek information regarding
Comdata's business and profits that NexPay states is
relevant to its damages claims. (Doc. No. 101.) Specifically,
the following ...