United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
B. SMITH, United States Magistrate Judge
case comes before the Court without oral argument on
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and Request for
Attorney's Fees and Costs (Doc. 37). Defendant has filed
a response in opposition to the motion (Doc. 38).
owns a home, encumbered by a mortgage, which is serviced by
Defendant, on behalf of the Federal National Mortgage
Association (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 30-34). Plaintiff complains
that while servicing the mortgage, Defendant violated the
Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act
(“FCCPA”), Fla. Stat. § 559.55 et
seq.; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et
seq.; and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
(“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.
(Id.). Defendant denies liability (Doc. 8).
Plaintiff brings this motion because she is dissatisfied with
Defendant's responses to certain interrogatories and
requests for production.
initial matter, Local Rule 3.01(g) requires the moving party,
before filing most motions, including a motion to compel, to
confer with the opponent in a good faith attempt to resolve
the issue. Movant's counsel must include a certification
in the motion that he has complied with this requirement and
shall also notify the Court whether the parties agree on the
relief requested. Counsel for Plaintiff has certified that he
complied with Rule 3.01(g) (Doc. 37 at 12), and counsel for
Defendant points to an email as proof that, with respect to
interrogatory number ten, this is not true (Doc. 38-1). The
Court does not have enough information to resolve this
dispute and is not inclined to investigate the matter
further. It will be less time consuming and less costly to
the parties if the Court proceeds to rule on the merits of
Defendant's objections to interrogatory number ten.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) allows parties to obtain
discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is
relevant to any party's claim or defense. “The
discovery process is designed to fully inform the parties of
the relevant facts involved in their case.” U.S. v.
Pepper's Steel & Alloys, Inc., 132 F.R.D. 695,
698 (S.D. Fla. 1990) (citing Hickman v. Taylor, 329
U.S. 495, 501 (1947)). “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.”
Oliver v. City of Orlando, No.
6:06-cv-1671-Orl-31DAB, 2007 WL 3232227, at * 1 (M.D. Fla.
Oct. 31, 2007) (citing United States v. Proctor &
Gamble Co., 356 U.S. 677, 682 (1958)). Discovery is
intended to operate with minimal judicial supervision unless
a dispute arises and one of the parties files a motion
requiring judicial intervention. S.L. Sakansky &
Assoc., Inc. v. Allied Am. Adjusting Co. of Florida,
LLC, No. 3:05-cv-708-J-32MCR, 2007 WL 2010860, at *1
(M.D. Fla. Jul. 6, 2007).
grounds for objecting to an interrogatory must be stated with
specificity.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4). Since the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure were amended effective December 1,
2015, Rule 34 has required a party objecting to requests for
production to: (1) “state with specificity the grounds
for objecting to the request, including the reasons;”
(2) “state whether any responsive materials are being
withheld on the basis of that objection;” and (3)
“[a]n objection to part of a request must specify the
part and permit inspection of the rest.” These rules
leave no place for so-called “General Objections”
to interrogatories and requests for production except in
those rare cases where the same objection specifically
applies to every interrogatory or request. As the court
observed in Liguria Foods, Inc. v. Griffith Laboratories,
Inc., No. C 14-3041-MWB, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35370, at
*32 (N.D. Iowa Mar. 13, 2017), “'[t]he key
requirement in both Rules 33 and 34 is that objections
require ‘specificity.'” So-called
“'generalized objections are inadequate and
tantamount to not making any objection at all.'”
Id. at *36 (quoting Jarvey, Boilerplate
Discovery Objections, 61 Drake L. Rev. 913, 916 (2013)).
General objections fall into the category of one size fits
all, boilerplate objections.
The problems with using boilerplate objections, however, run
deeper than their form or phrasing. Their use obstructs the
discovery process, violates numerous rules of civil procedure
and ethics, and imposes costs on litigants that frustrate the
timely and just resolution of cases.
which state that a discovery request is ‘vague, overly
broad, or unduly burdensome' are, by themselves,
meaningless, and are deemed without merit ….”
Siddiq v. Saudi Arabian Airlines Corp., No.
6:11-cv-69-Orl-19GJK, 2011 WL 6936485, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Dec.
7, 2011) (quoting Milinazzo v. State Farm Ins. Co.,
247 F.R.D. 691, 695 (S.D. Fla. 2007)). Courts routinely
reject boilerplate objections. See Gonzalez v. ETourand
Travel, Inc., No. 6:13-cv-827-Orl-36TBS, 2014 WL
1250034, at *4 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 26, 2014); Chambers v.
Sygma Network, Inc., No. 6:12-cv-1802-Orl-37TBS, 2013 WL
1775046, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Apr.25, 2013); Mendez v. Land
Investors, Corp., No, 2:12-cv- 158-FtM-29S PC, 2012 WL
6012906, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Dec.3, 2012); Arthrex, Inc. v.
Parcus Med., LLC, No. 2:11-cv-694-FtM-29SPC, 2012 WL
5382050, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Nov.1, 2012); Burlington N.
& Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 408 F.3d
1142, 1149 (9th Cir. 2005); FDIC v. Brudnicki, No.
5:12-cv-00398-RS-GRJ, 291 F.R.D. 669, 674 n. 4 (N.D. Fla.
June 14, 2013); Ochoa v. Empresas ICA, S.A.B., No.
11-23898-CIV, 2012 WL 3260324, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Aug.8, 2012);
Robinson v. City of Arkansas City, Kan., No. 10-
1431-JAR-GLR, 2012 WL 603576, at *6 (D. Kan. Feb.24, 2012);
Williams v. Taser Intern., Inc., No.
1:06-CV-0051-RWS, 2007 WL 1630875, at *3 n. 3 (N.D.Ga. June
4, 2007); Russell v. Daiichi-Sankyo, Inc., No. CV
11-34-BLG-CSO, 2012 WL 1161435, at *1-2 (D. Mont. April. 6,
attorneys who are supposed to know better continue to preface
their discovery responses with boilerplate, general
objections. Defendant's counsel falls into this category.
Defendant's discovery responses begin with six
nonspecific “General Objections” which serve no
purpose other than to waste the reader's time. Now, all
of Defendant's “General Objections” are
following interrogatories and requests for production are the
subject of this motion:
State the full name, present address, employer, title and
occupation of all persons providing information and documents
responsive to the Plaintiff's discovery requests herein.
OBJECTION: Vague and ambiguous as to “providing,
” and otherwise. Subject to and without waiving its
objections, and attempting to respond, Seterus identifies
multiple individuals at Seterus who may be contacted only
through counsel, and Seterus's undersigned counsel.
Interrogatory No. 9:
For the five years prior to the date the Complaint was filed
through the present, identify, by case name, court number and
court, all civil, criminal or administrative matters in which
you have been a party, that alleges Seterus violated the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act, the ...