United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636, the Rules of this Court, and Standing Order 13-02.
before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Directed
to Defendant Averitt Express [Doc. 57] and Defendants Averitt
Express, Inc., and David Williams's Motion for Additional
Time to Disclose Experts and to Convene a Status Conference
[Doc. 60]. The parties appeared before the Court on May 21,
2018, for a motion hearing. Attorney James O'Brien was
present on behalf of Plaintiffs. Attorney Louis McElroy, II,
was present on behalf of Defendants Averitt Express, Inc.,
and David Williams. Attorney Benjamin Jones appeared on
behalf of Defendants Hugh Hudgens and Shore Trucking Company,
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN
PART the Motion to Compel [Doc.
60]. Further, pursuant to the representation of
Defendants Averitt Express, Inc., and David Williams made at
the hearing, the Motion for Additional Time to Disclose
Experts [Doc. 60] is hereby
respect to the Motion to Compel, Plaintiffs state that they
served discovery requests on Defendant Averitt Express, Inc.,
(“Averitt”), but the discovery requests remain
outstanding. Defendant Averitt did not file a response to the
Motion. See E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1 (“Failure to
respond to a motion may be deemed a waiver of any opposition
to the relief sought.”).
initial matter, the Court observes that Plaintiffs'
Motion is deficient in several ways. First, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37, a motion to compel
“must include a certification that the movant has in
good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the person
or party failing to make disclosures or discovery in an
effort to obtain it without court action.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a). Plaintiffs' Motion states that following
depositions and follow-up letters, Defendant Averitt's
discovery responses remain deficient. This sentence does not
meet the good-faith certification required by the Rule. The
Court reminds the parties that the good-faith certification
pursuant to Rule 37(a)(1) is not an “empty
formality” and that the parties are required to engage
in meaningful attempts to resolve discovery disputes prior to
filing such motions. Brady v. LTD Parts, Inc., No.
2:08-0058, 2009 WL 2224172, at *1 (M.D. Tenn. July 22, 2009)
(quoting Ross v. Citifinancial, Inc., 203 F.R.D.
239, 240 (S.D.Miss. 2001)).
the Court notes that Plaintiffs failed to comply with Section
3(j) of the Scheduling Order [Doc. 33], which requires
parties to take certain steps before filing motions regarding
discovery disputes. First, the parties shall meet and confer
in an attempt to resolve disputes between themselves, without
judicial intervention. Second, if the parties are unable to
resolve the disputes informally, they shall attempt to
resolve their disagreement by conference with the
undersigned. Third, “[i]f, and only if, the
parties' dispute is unresolved following the conference
with the undersigned, the parties may file appropriate
written motions with the Court.” The purpose of
Rule 37(a)(1) and the procedure in the Scheduling Order is to
save, not only judicial resources, but the parties'
resources because many discovery disputes can be resolved
without engaging in time consuming and expensive motion
practice. Plaintiffs are hereby ADMONISHED
that the failure to follow these Rules may warrant future
motions involving discovery disputes to be summarily denied.
the above deficiencies, the Court addressed the Motion to
Compel at the May 21 hearing because, as mentioned above,
Defendant Averitt did not file an objection, let alone a
response to the Motion. See E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1
(“Failure to respond to a motion may be deemed a waiver
of any opposition to the relief sought.”). During the
hearing, Plaintiffs stated that Defendant Averitt had
produced additional documents but that the responses remain
deficient with respect to driver logs, hours of service, the
specific truck Defendant Williams was driving, communications
between Defendants Williams and Averitt, and documents
relating to the investigation of the accident. Specifically,
Plaintiffs explained that Request for Production Nos. 1, 7,
58, 70, and Corporate Designee Requests Nos. 2, 5, 20, and 27
remain deficient. Defendant Averitt responded that some of
the discovery that Plaintiffs seek does not exist and that
information relating to the investigation of the accident and
root cause analysis has been provided. Further, Defendant
Averitt stated that Defendant Williams is no longer working
for the company.
Court ORDERS Defendant Averitt to respond to
the outstanding discovery requests (Request for Production
Nos. 1, 7, 58, 70, and Corporate Designee Request Nos. 2, 5,
20, and 27) within fourteen (14) days of entry of this
Memorandum and Order. If the documents do not exist,
Defendant Averitt shall state so. If they have already been
provided, Defendant Averitt shall indicate the document that
is responsive to the request. Accordingly, Plaintiffs'
Motion to Compel [Doc. 57] is
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
during the hearing, Defendants Averitt and Williams stated
that they were withdrawing their Motion for Additional Time
to Disclose Experts [Doc. 60]. Accordingly,
the Motion for Additional Time to Disclose Experts
[Doc. 60] is hereby
IS SO ORDERED
 The Court held the hearing in
conjunction with a hearing in Swisher v. Williams,
 The Court observes that this is not
the first time that Plaintiffs have filed a motion to compel
without completing the required steps in the ...