United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SANS ONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Compel Plaintiff to Provide Full and Complete Answers to
Defendant's Second Set of Interrogatories (Doc. 44), and
Plaintiff's response thereto (Doc. 58).
Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez, Inc. operates
universities in Puerto Rico and the United States, including
one in Tampa. Plaintiff Yelanis Brook completed a
Master's degree in Education at Defendant's Tampa
campus. Subsequently, she filed this action, alleging that
Defendant intentionally discriminates against Latinos by
targeting them for a fraudulent educational program.
Specifically, Plaintiff asserts claims against Defendant for
violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade
Practices Act (“FDUTPA”), breach of
implied-in-fact contact, and fraudulent
inducement. (Doc. 1).
served Plaintiff with its Second Set of Interrogatories on
July 24, 2017. (Doc. 44-1). Plaintiff, who was not
represented by counsel at the time, provided her
interrogatory answers on August 24, 2017. (Doc. 44-2). On
September 20, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion for
the Court to compel better responses to Interrogatories Nos.
2-6. (Doc. 44). Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff retained
counsel. (Docs. 47-50). Due to issues related to Hurricane
Maria, Plaintiff sought and was granted an extension of time
to file a response to Defendant's Motion. (Docs. 51, 53).
On November 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed her response to the
instant motion. (Doc. 58). Accordingly, this matter is ripe
to compel discovery are committed to the sound discretion of
the trial court. See Commercial Union Ins. Co.
v. Westrope, 730 F.2d 729, 731 (11th Cir. 1984). Rule
26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the
scope of discovery. That rule provides, in relevant part,
[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Here, Interrogatory Nos. 2-6 of
Defendant's Second Set of Interrogatories are at issue.
The Court will address each interrogatory in turn.
Interrogatory No. 2: Please
describe in detail each and every alleged unconscionable act
or practice, and unfair or deceptive act or practice, which
you claim constitutes a violation of the Florida Deceptive
and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”) by
SUAGM, and identify the date(s) you claim SUAGM engaged in
each alleged unconscionable act or practice, and unfair or
deceptive act or practice; what the act(s) or practice(s)
consisted of; and the names of any persons who witnessed the
occurrence of each alleged act or practice.
unfair, and deceptive acts and practices at U.S. campuses of
SUAGM are systematic (widespread, perpetual, and intrinsic).
SUAGM engages in business practices that are a pattern and
practice of knowingly and intentionally making numerous false
representations and omissions of material facts, with the
intent to deceive and fraudulently induce potential students.
(1) misrepresenting U.S. campuses to be SUAGM while academic
programs have been covertly outsourced to AVI; (2)
misrepresenting the efficacy and appropriateness of the
Discipline-Based Dual Language Immersion Model®; (3)
misrepresenting job prospects as graduates are not ready to
work in public schools and making material omissions such as
students needing to fulfill additional requirements after
graduation; (4) promising to validate foreign degrees while
foreign degrees are simply recognized. All students and
graduates at U.S. campuses are witnesses to violations of
FDUTPA by SUAGM. SUAGM uses various mediums to communicate
false representations and omissions of material fact,
including but not limited to, webpages, social media,
television, radio, newspapers, advertisements, interviews
with the media, school catalogs, campus inauguration
ceremonies, campus events that are used for recruiting,
billboards, and advertising on the side of vehicles/trucks.
44-2, p. 4). Plaintiff's response fails to include the
date or time period of the alleged misrepresentations. This
information is relevant and proportional to the needs of this
case. Otherwise, Plaintiff sufficiently answers the
interrogatory. By December 4, 2017,
Plaintiff shall provide Defendant with an amended response
including specific dates (or date ranges) of the alleged
violations. In all other respects, the motion to compel as to
this interrogatory is denied.
Interrogatory No. 3: Please
describe in detail the nature and amount of any alleged
damages you are seeking to recover, and the method and bases
for calculation, for ...