United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL
G. TORRES United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on Evans Meridians Ltd.'s
(“Defendant”) Motion to Compel
(“Motion”) [D.E. 20] complete answers to
interrogatories against International Aerospace Group Corp.
(“Plaintiff”). Plaintiff responded to
Defendant's Motion on May 2, 2017. [D.E. 22]. Therefore,
this Motion is now ripe for disposition. After careful
consideration of the Motion, response, and relevant
authority, and for the reasons discussed below,
Defendant's Motion is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in
lawsuit was originally filed on December 1, 2016 [D.E. 1] and
arises from the parties' attempt to complete a
transaction for the sale of seven large jet
engines.The authenticity and formation of the
contracts is undisputed. The only genuine disputes involve
the parties' performance under the contract and the
damages resulting therefrom. Both Plaintiffs' Complaint
and the Counterclaims asserted by Defendant focus on the
liabilities and remedies available due to three of the
engines not being delivered by Plaintiff (who still has
possession of the engines) to Defendant. Plaintiff claims
that Defendant owes a balance on the transaction [D.E. 1-1 at
¶¶12, 23], while Defendant asserts that it paid the
balance in full. Defendant further claims that Plaintiff
failed to deliver the three engines [D.E. 7 at ¶¶
86, 94], and, after delivery was not accomplished within 45
days of the required date, Defendant cancelled the contracts
and demanded a refund. [D.E. 7 at ¶¶ 68-71, 79-82,
87, 95]. As it relates to Plaintiff's claim against
Defendant for breach of contract, Defendant contends that
Plaintiff had a duty to mitigate damages once the contracts
were purportedly breached, and that Plaintiff is responsible
for any diminished value of the engines from the date it
claims that the contracts were breached. [D.E. 7 at
March 17, 2017, Defendant served Plaintiff its First Set of
Interrogatories. After multiple extensions, and after the
parties worked through disputes as to Plaintiff's initial
responses, Plaintiff served its Amended Response to the First
Set of Interrogatories on March 17, 2017. Because the Amended
Response was allegedly deficient for several reasons,
Defendant filed its Motion to Compel on April 19, 2017. [D.E.
APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES AND LAW
the Federal Rules, a party may pose interrogatories related
to any matter into which Rule 26(b) allows inquiry,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(2), request the production of any
documents that fall within the scope of Rule 26(b),
Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a), and serve requests to admit certain
matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1), Fed.R.Civ.P.
36(a)(1). Rule 26(b) also allows discovery “through
increased reliance on the commonsense concept of
proportionality.” In re: Takata Airbag Prod. Liab.
Litig., 2016 WL 1460143, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 1, 2016)
(quoting Chief Justice John Roberts, 2015 Year-End Report
on the Federal Judiciary 6 (2015)).
“Proportionality requires counsel and the court to
consider whether relevant information is discoverable in view
of the needs of the case.” Tiger v. Dynamic Sports
Nutrition, LLC, 2016 WL 1408098, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Apr.
11, 2016). If the opposing party objects to interrogatories
or requests, the requesting party may then file a motion to
compel production pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37, but only after
its counsel, in good faith, confers with opposing counsel to
resolve discovery disputes without court intervention.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1).
Federal Rules afford the Court broad authority to control the
scope of discovery, Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence
Repairs, Inc., 662 F.3d 1292, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011), but
''strongly favor full discovery whenever
possible.'' Farnsworth v. Procter & Gamble
Co., 758 F.3d 1545, 1547 (11th Cir. 1985). Courts must
consequently employ a liberal and broad scope of discovery in
keeping with the spirit and purpose of these rules. See
Rosenbaum v. Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., 708 F.Supp.2d
1304, 1306 (S.D. Fla. 2010) (collecting cases). The
“overall purpose of discovery under the Federal Rules
is to require the disclosure of all relevant information, so
that the ultimate resolution of disputed issues in any civil
action may be based on a full and accurate understanding of
the true facts, and therefore embody a fair and just
result.” State Nat'l Ins. Co. v. City of
Destin, 2015 WL 11109379, at *1 (N.D. Fla. Sept. 1,
while the scope of discovery is broad, it is not without
limits. See Washington v. Brown & Williamson
Tobacco, 959 F.2d 1566, 1570 (11th Cir. 1992);
Rossbach v. Rundle, 128 F.Supp.2d 1348 (S.D. Fla.
2000) (citing Oppenheimer Fund v. Sanders, 437 U.S.
340 (1978)). To show that the requested discovery is
otherwise objectionable, the onus is on the objecting party
to demonstrate with specificity how the objected-to request
is unreasonable or otherwise unduly burdensome. See
Rossbach, 128 F.Supp.3d at 1354 (citing in part
Panola Land Buyers Ass'n v. Shuman, 762 F.2d
1550, 1559 (11th Cir. 1985)).
objections and generalized responses are improper. See
Alhassid v. Bank of America, 2015 WL 1120273, at *2
(S.D. Fla. March 12, 2015). This District has frequently held
that objections which fail to sufficiently specify the
grounds on which they are based are improper and without
merit. See, e.g., Taylor v. Bradshaw, 2014
WL 6459978 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 14, 2014); Abdin v. Am. Sec.
Ins. Co., 2010 WL 1257702 (S.D. Fla. March 29, 2010).
More specifically, objections simply stating that a request
is ''overly broad, or unduly burdensome'' are
meaningless and without merit. Abdin, 2010 WL
1257702 at *1 (quoting Guzman v. Irmadan, Inc., 249
F.R.D. 399, 400 (S.D. Fla. 2008)).
addition to the Federal Rules, Southern District Local Rule
26.1 controls the necessary procedure a party must follow
when objecting to a request for production or asserting a
claim of privilege. It requires that:
All motions related to discovery, including . . . motions to
compel discovery . . . shall be filed within thirty (30) days
of the occurrence of grounds for the motion. Failure to file
a discovery motion within thirty (30) days, absent a showing
of reasonable cause for a later filing, may
constitute a waiver of the relief.
Fla. L.R. 26.1(i)(1) (emphasis added). On its face, Rule
26.1(i) is therefore plainly discretionary. While the
“occurrence” of grounds for a motion tends to be
the moment at which responses are filed, this is not always
necessarily the case. See, e.g., Socas
v. Northwestern Mut. Life Ins., 2008 WL 619322 (S.D.
Fla. March 4, 2008) (finding that the
“occurrence” triggering the motion to compel was
when the requesting party examined certain documents months
after their initial requests had been answered); United
States v. Polo Pointe Way, Delray Beach, Fl., 444
F.Supp.2d 1258, 1261 (S.D. Fla. 2006) (finding that the
“occurrence” at issue was a deposition that took
place after responses were filed).
pertinent part, the Local Rules also provide that where a
claim of privilege is asserted, the objecting party must
prepare “a privilege log with respect to all documents,
electronically stored information, things and oral
communications withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege
or work product protection” except for
“written and oral communications between a party
and its counsel after commencement of the action and work
product material created after commencement of the
action.” S.D. Fla. L.R. 26.1(g)(3)(C) (emphasis
added). Furthermore, “[w]here a claim of privilege is
asserted in objecting to any . . . production demand . . .
and an answer is not provided on the basis of such assertion
. . . [t]he attorney asserting the privilege shall . . .
identify the nature of the privilege . . . being
claimed.” S.D. Fla. L.R. 26.1(g)(3)(B)(I).
Motion seeks to compel Plaintiff to provide better responses
to Defendant's first set of interrogatories. Plaintiff
takes issue with Defendant's Motion because it
purportedly seeks to impose obligations on Plaintiff that are
outside the boundaries of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Plaintiff further contends that, had Defendant
performed even a cursory review of the documents Plaintiff
identified, then Defendant's Motion would not have been
primary issue throughout many of the interrogatories at issue
is that Plaintiff relies on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
33(d) as an exception to the completeness requirement in
responding to Defendant's interrogatories. Rule 33(d) was
first enacted in 1970 with the purpose to shift the time and
cost burden of perusing documents from the producing party to
the party seeking the information. See Minter v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., 286 F.R.D. 273, 277 (D. Md. 2012)
(“The Rule serves to put the burden of extracting and
collating the information on the party ...