United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
S. SNEED, UNTIED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Compel the Plaintiff to (1) Provide Rule 26 Initial
Disclosures, (2) Produce Documents, (3) Provide Answer to
Interrogatories, and (4) for the Award for Reasonable
Attorney's Fees ("Motion to Compel") (Dkt. 49)
and Defendant's Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of
Plaintiff s Responses and Objections to Request for
Admissions ("Motion to Determine Sufficiency")
(Dkt. 50). Upon consideration and for the reasons explained
below, the Motion to Compel is granted in part and denied in
part, and the Motion to Determine Sufficiency is granted.
September 9, 2016, Viable Resources, Inc. ("VR")
filed a Verified Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Damages
against Defendant Karen Belyea, alleging breach of contract,
violation of the Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act, tortious
interference with business relations, and unjust enrichment
in connection with Ms. Belyea's resignation from VR and
subsequent employment with VR's customer. (Dkt. 2.) On
September 29, 2017, Defendant filed her Motion to Compel and
Motion to Determine Sufficiency. (Dkts. 49, 50.) Plaintiffs
responses to the motions were due October 13, 2017. When
Plaintiff did not file responses by that date, the Court
ordered Plaintiff to file responses on or before October 23,
2017, and advised Plaintiff that failure to respond would
result in the Court considering the motions unopposed. (Dkt.
52.) To date, Plaintiff has failed to file responses to the
is entitled to obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). The term "relevant" in Rule 26 should
encompass "any matter that bears on, or that reasonably
could lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that
is or may be in the case." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978). A party may move for
an order compelling disclosure or discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37.
An evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must
be treated as a failure to disclose, answer, or respond.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4). The court has broad discretion in
managing pretrial discovery matters and in deciding to compel
discovery. Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence Repairs,
Inc., 662 F.3d 1292, 1306 (11th Cir. 2011); Perez v.
Miami-Dade Cnty., 297 F.3d 1255, 1263 (11th Cir. 2002).
Defendant's Motion to Compel
Motion to Compel, Defendant first seeks an order compelling
Plaintiff to provide its Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
26(a)(1) initial disclosures. In the parties' Case
Management Report, the parties agreed to exchange their
initial disclosures by May 15, 2017. (Dkt. 46.) Plaintiff did
not serve its initial disclosures on the deadline, and,
despite Defendant's counsel's request for the initial
disclosures, Plaintiff has not complied. (Dkt. 49 at 4.)
Therefore, Defendant's Motion to Compel is granted as to
Plaintiffs initial disclosures.
next addresses her May 1, 2017 Request for Production to
Plaintiff. (Dkt. 49 at 4.) Plaintiff served its response on
May 31, 2017, including objections to request numbers 1, 4,
9-12, 14-16, 18, 19, 22, 38, 40-47, and 51. (Dkt. 49 at 4.)
Plaintiff did not object to request numbers 2, 3, 5-8, 13,
17, 20, 21, 23-37, 39, 48-50, 52, and 53. (Dkt. 49 at 4.)
Further, Plaintiff has not produced any documents in response
to the Requests for Production. (Dkt. 49 at 4.) Defendant
therefore seeks an order compelling Plaintiff to produce all
responsive documents. As Plaintiff failed to respond to
Defendant's Motion to Compel, the Court presumes
Plaintiff has no objection to Defendant's Motion to
Compel. See M.D. Fla. Local R. 3.01(b). Thus,
Defendant's Motion to Compel is granted as to the
requests Plaintiff did not object to, which are request
numbers 2, 3, 5-8, 13, 17, 20, 21, 23-37, 39, 48-50, 52, and
regard to the remaining requests, Defendant's Motion to
Compel is granted as to request numbers 15, 19, 22, 38, 43,
44, 45, 46, and 47. However, Defendant's Motion to Compel
is denied as to request numbers 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 41, 42,
and 51 because the requests are overly broad and are not
proportional to the needs of the case. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 26(b)(1).
Motion to Compel is granted in part as to request numbers 4,
12, 18, and 40. Defendant's request number 4 seeks
"[a]ny and all employee handbooks, employee manuals, and
employment policies and procedures put into effect after the
Defendant's employment by the Plaintiff ended."
(Dkt. 49 at 5.) Defendant states that she is willing to limit
the request to "any and all provisions regarding
confidentiality and restrictive covenants of any sort
contained in any and all employee handbooks, employee
manuals, employment policies and procedures put into effect
after the Defendant's employment by the Plaintiff
ended." (Dkt. 49 at 5.) Therefore, Defendant's
Motion to Compel is granted in part as to request number 4,
as modified and limited above.
request number 12 seeks "[a]ny and all agreements,
contracts, offer letters or other documents purporting to
create contractual obligations of any sort between the
Plaintiff and its employees, independent contractors and
consultants." (Dkt. 49 at 7.) As framed, the request is
overly broad and unduly burdensome under Rule 26(b)(1).
However, the requested documents between Plaintiff and
Defendant are relevant and proportional to the needs of the
case. The Court therefore grants Defendant's Motion to
Compel as to request number 12 in part and limits the request
to "any and all agreements, contracts, offer letters, or
other documents purporting to create contractual obligations
of any sort" between the Plaintiff and Defendant.
request number 18 seeks "[a]ny and all documents,
communications and correspondence related to any alleged
information or trade secret information or other proprietary
information to which the Plaintiff claims the Defendant had
access during her employment including the information
referenced in paragraph 27 of the Complaint." (Dkt. 49
at 10.) Defendant states in her Motion to Compel that she is
willing to limit request 18 to "documents sufficient to
show any and all alleged confidential information or trade
secret information or other proprietary information which the
Plaintiff claims the Defendant has misappropriated as part of
this action." (Dkt. 49 at 10.) The Court ...