Before the Court is defendant Citrus Cardiology Consultants, P.A.'s ("Citrus") Motion to Compel Discovery and Motion for Sanctions, filed on November 18, 2011. (Doc. 15.) Plaintiff did not file a response. For the reasons below, Citrus' motion is due to be GRANTED.
On February 15, 2011, plaintiff served her complaint on Citrus. Plaintiff was formerly employed by Citrus and alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work environment and was retaliated against by Citrus as a result of her complaints to management. Citrus timely filed a Notice of Removal on March 14, 2011. On September 30, 2011, Citrus served its First Set of Interrogatories ("interrogatories") and its First Request for Production of Documents ("requests for production") to plaintiff. (Def.'s Mot. Ex. A.) Plaintiff's responses and any objections to the requests for production were due on or before October 31, 2011. Plaintiff did not respond to either the interrogatories or requests for production. On November 2, 2011, counsel for Citrus sent plaintiff's counsel a letter asking for responses to the discovery requests within ten days and stating that all objections, except for privilege, had been waived by plaintiff's failure to respond by the October 31, 2011 deadline. To date, plaintiff has failed to respond or object to the interrogatories or requests for production.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(d), Citrus requests that the Court enter an Order (1) prohibiting plaintiff from supporting her claims or from introducing material responsive to discovery in evidence; (2) staying this matter until an Order to compel is obeyed; (3) dismissing this action if plaintiff fails to properly respond by producing all material responsive to the requests for production and fully answer the interrogatories within ten (10) days of the Court's Order; (4) requiring plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel to pay Citrus reasonable expenses incurred in filing the present motion; and/or (5) awarding such other relief as the Court deems just and appropriate.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(d)(ii) provides that the Court may order sanctions where "a party, after being properly served with interrogatories under Rule 33 or a requests for inspection under Rule 34, fails to serve its answers, objections, or written response." Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(d)(ii). The Court may award several types of sanctions as listed in Rule 37(b)(2)(A):
(I) directing that the maters embraced in the order or other designated facts be taken as established for purposes of the action, as the prevailing party claims;
(ii) prohibiting the disobedient party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from introducing designated matters in evidence;
(iii) striking pleadings in whole or in part;
(iv) staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed;
(v) dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in part;
(vi) rendering a default judgment against the disobedient party; or
(vii) treating as contempt of court the failure to obey any order except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2)(A). The Court has "substantial discretion in deciding whether and how to impose sanctions under Rule 37." Dealer Computer Servs., Inc. v. Claude Ray Ford Sales, Inc., No. 3:10-MC-2 (CDL), 2011 WL 3759773, at *2 (M.D. Ga. July 14, 2011) (quoting Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1366 (11th Cir. 1997)); see also Malautea v. Suzuki Motor Co., 987 F.2d 1536, 1542 (11th Cir. 1993) (stating ...