United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL
BETTER RESPONSES TO SECOND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF
DOCUMENTS [DE 1511
WILLIAM MATTHEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant, Ronni Chowdry's
("Defendant") Motion to Compel Better Responses to
Second Request for Production of Documents
("Motion") [DE 151]. Plaintiff, Freestream Aircraft
USA Ltd. ("Plaintiff), filed a response to the Motion
[DE 156], and Defendant filed a reply [DE 159]. This matter
is now ripe for review.
Defendant's Motion, he argues that Plaintiffs responses
to his Second Request for Production of Documents were
insufficient. [DE 151 at p. 3]. Defendant argues that
"the Requests are sufficiently tailored at specific
allegations contained in the Amended Complaint, and the
documents, which were organized and produced by the
Plaintiffs counsel, as opposed to being maintained in the
ordinary court of Plaintiffs business, should be properly
bates-stamped and categorized to meet the particular
Requests." Id. at pp. 3-4. Defendant further
argues that Plaintiffs response to Request for Production #21
alludes to certain privileges but was not accompanied by a
privilege log. Id.
response, Plaintiff contends that its response to the Second
Request for Production of Documents was in compliance with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34 as the "documents in
question were received from various third parties pursuant to
the subpoenas, and Plaintiff maintained the documents as they
were received and produced them as they were
maintained." [DE 156 at p. 1]. Plaintiff asserts that,
with regard to Request for Production #21, it produced
documents in accordance with Rule 34 and has provided a
privilege log. Id. at p. 3.
reply, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs production was
improper because the documents were not produced as they were
actually kept in the ordinary course of business by
Plaintiff, but rather were produced in the manner in which
they were kept in the ordinary course of business by third
parties. [DE 159 at p. 1]. Defendant requests that the Court
order Plaintiff to "organize and label its production in
a manner that reasonably corresponds to the categories
contained in Defendant's Second Request for
Production." Id. at p. 3.
it appears that the privilege log issue has been resolved.
Therefore, the Court need not consider that issue.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34 states in relevant part
that a "party must produce documents as they are kept in
the usual course of business or must organize and label them
to correspond to the categories in the request."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(E)(i). Courts have determined that
there is a "need to balance Rule 34(b)(2) (E)(i)'s
legitimate purpose of alleviating a responding party's
burden of production while reasonably assuring a requesting
party's ability to obtain discoverable documents under
Rule 26(b)(1). Rule 34 is generally designed to facilitate
discovery of relevant information by preventing
'attempt[s] to hide a needle in a haystack by mingling
responsive documents with large numbers of nonresponsive
documents.'" Armor Screen Corp. v. Storm
Catcher, Inc., No. 07-81091-CIV, 2009 WL 291160, at *2
(S.D. Fla. Feb. 5, 2009) (citing Williams v.
Taserlnt'l, Inc., No. 1:06-CV-0051-RWS, 2006 WL
1835437, at *7 (N.D.Ga. June 30, 2006)). "Rule 34
assumes that the documents will be arranged in some way that
is reasonably useable by the opposing party." Select
Exp. Corp. v. Richeson, No. 10-80526-CIV, 2010 WL
11561203, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 22, 2010)
primarily relies on Mizner Grand Condo. Ass 'n, Inc.
v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of Am., 270 F.R.D. 698 (S.D.
Fla. 2010). In that case, the court found that the plaintiff
had "made no meaningful attempt to show that its
production satisfies the business records option in Rule
34(b)(2)(E)(i)." Id. at 701. The court further
explained that "[u]nless Mizner habitually keeps all
documents it receives in storage with its attorneys, the
documents Mizner acquired during the underlying litigation
were simply not maintained in the 'usual course of
business.' Instead, these documents were accumulated
during a specific, non-routine occurrence, and by their very
nature are not business records under Rule
Court has considered the arguments of the parties and the
relevant case law. Rule 34(b)(2)(E)(i) states that a
"party must produce documents as they are kept in the
usual course of business or must organize and label them to
correspond to the categories in the request." The common
sense interpretation of this Rule is that a party must
produce documents as the party keeps them in the
party's usual course of business or else organize
and label the documents. Here, Plaintiff obtained documents
from several different third parties and then produced them
in the format in which those third parties kept the
documents in the usual course of the third
procedure appears to be in contravention of Rule 34, and
Plaintiff has not provided case law that convinces the Court
otherwise. Additionally, such a procedure prejudices
Defendant and impedes the discovery process. Therefore, the
Court will require Plaintiff to organize the documents
previously produced to Defendant and label the documents to
correspond \ to the categories in Defendant's
Second Request for Production of Documents.
on the foregoing, it is ORDERED that Defendant's Motion
to Compel Better Responses to Second Request for Production
of Documents [DE 151] is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall provide
Defendant with an amended response to Defendant's Second
Request for Production of Documents within seven (7) days of
the date of this Order. Plaintiff is also required to
organize the documents previously produced to Defendant and
label the documents to correspond to the categories in
Defendant's Second Request for Production of Documents.
and ORDERED in Chambers this 22 nd day of
March, 2018, at West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County in ...