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Higgins v. Transtar Industries, Inc.
United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
December 20, 2019
KIM HIGGINS, Plaintiff,
TRANSTAR INDUSTRIES, INC. And DACCO, INC., Defendants.
Brown, United States Magistrate Judge
two-hour twenty-minute discovery conference was held in this
matter on December 17, 2019. The morning of the conference,
the parties submitted a Joint Statement of Issues Concerning
Discovery Disputes along with the discovery requests and
responses. A copy of the Joint Statement will be attached as
an Exhibit to this Order. Unfortunately, the requests and
responses are both made without regard to the requirement for
proportionality in Rule 26 and the requirement the Parties
cooperate in discovery. The Interrogatories and Requests for
Production were submitted late in the discovery process and
were for the most part not properly limited in time and were
incredibly broad. Both Interrogatories and Requests for
Production should be narrowly tailored to the needs of the
case. Unfortunately, the responses totally ignored the
requirement of Rule 33(b)(4) that objections must be stated
with specificity. Unfortunately improper questions and
improper objections presented to the Magistrate Judge shortly
before discovery is scheduled to close present a very
difficult task and undoubtedly a result that will leave both
extent any of the responses have not been properly verified,
the Defendant will correct that within fourteen (14) days of
the entry of this Order.
extent the Defendant has objected on the grounds of
attorney/client privilege or work product without producing a
privilege log to support the withholding of such documents,
those objections are stricken. From a discussion with the
Parties it does not appear any material was in fact withheld
because of such a privilege claim. Addressing the
Interrogatory 4 - The Defendants state they have provided the
email that listed the instructions for terminating the
Plaintiff. They should beef up their response as to the
details of the Plaintiff's termination and whether she
was escorted from the office when she was terminated.
Interrogatory 5 - This interrogatory is unnecessarily broad
and the response is lacking in any useful information. The
Defendants should provide the name of the individuals who
made the decision to terminate the Plaintiff, briefly
describe their job duties, and list their immediate
Interrogatory 7 - The Defendant should provide any known
discussions concerning the actual decision to terminate the
Plaintiff and who participated in the conversations.
Unfortunately this is an interrogatory served late in the
discovery process that requests information about
conversations taking place over two (2) years in the past.
Nevertheless the Defendant provided no information whatever
other than a boilerplate objection. The Defendant should
provide an answer which identifies any known conversations
concerning the termination of the Plaintiff along with any
written record memorializing such discussions or termination
decisions. To the extent the company is not aware of any such
conversations the should so state. The company has noted at
least two of the individuals involved with the termination of
the Plaintiff are no longer with the company. Apparently
Plaintiff's Counsel has been in contact with them and may
in fact now have better access to any conversations they may
have had with the Plaintiff then the Defendants.
Interrogatory 8 - Will be limited to the time period May 2,
2017 through August 25, 2017.
Interrogatory 10 - After discussion, this interrogatory is
construed as asking if the Defendant contends had the
Plaintiff properly applied for FMLA on August 25, 2017 would
she have been qualified for it.
Interrogatory 11 - Requests detailed information for the
alleged reasons the Plaintiff was terminated.
The Defendant advises there were no formal studies and due to
the passage of time there is no formal documentation.
Nevertheless the Defendants made a decision to eliminate the
position because of costs. To the extent the Defendants do
not have documents they should so state. The current answer
that “see the documents being produced herewith”
does not answer the question of whether there are other
documents. If there are no such documents, the Defendants
should clearly state that.
Interrogatory 13 - This interrogatory requests information
about each and every position that was eliminated or changed
in the Cookeville, Tennessee facility from January 2016 to
date and requests that production of all job descriptions and
job announcements posted for the same time frame.
Unfortunately the time spam is excessive and the request is
not limited to the Cookeville factory or to any particular
type of jobs. The Plaintiff contends there were job postings
at or about the time the Plaintiff was terminated which were
removed. The Defendant will produce job descriptions, whether
by the Union or the company, whether by physical posting or
an on-line posting for the period January 1, 2017 through
December 31, 2017 which were in anyway similar to the job
actually performed by the Plaintiff.
Interrogatory 22 - This interrogatory requests the name and
job title for individuals who performed duties at the
Cookeville, Tennessee plant that were one of the
Plaintiff's duties from January 1, 2016 to present. This
response will be limited to ...
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