United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
RICHARD C. REED, JR., Plaintiff,
FORNEY INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendant.
MIRANDO United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon review of Plaintiff's
Motion to Compel (Doc. 38) filed on March 1, 2018. Plaintiff
seeks to compel Defendant Forney Industries, Inc.
(“Forney”) to produce certain documents in
response to his discovery requests. Doc. 38. He also seeks to
depose certain witnesses. Id. at 2. Forney filed a
response in opposition to the motion to compel. Doc. 41.
Plaintiff further seeks to file a reply brief to Forney's
response, which Forney does not oppose. Doc. 42.
Plaintiff's motion for a reply brief is denied because
the Court finds a reply brief will not aid the Court's
ruling on the motion to compel.
25, 2017, this case was removed from the Circuit Court for
the Twentieth Judicial Circuit in and for Collier County,
Florida. Doc. 1. Forney is a family-owned corporation selling
tool, equipment and accessory products. Doc. 25 ¶ 9.
Plaintiff is a sixty (60) year old male, who was Forney's
employee and generated and oversaw sales of Forney's
products from September 2003 to December 2015. Id.
¶¶ 8, 10-11, 17. Plaintiff alleges he could not
work from July 2015 to August 2015 because he suffered a knee
injury and had knee surgery in July 2015. Id.
¶¶ 13-15. Plaintiff claims that after he returned
to work in August 2015, Forney attempted to find fault with
his work performance in efforts to terminate him.
Id. ¶ 17. In December 2015, Forney terminated
Plaintiff's employment, although he allegedly performed
well at work. Id. ¶¶ 19-22.
filed a Complaint on May 25, 2017 and subsequently amended
his Complaint twice. Docs. 2, 20, 25. Plaintiff's Second
Amended Complaint alleges six counts: disability
discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
12111 et seq., as amended; age discrimination under
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et
seq.; and disability discrimination, retaliation and age
discrimination under the Florida Civil Rights Act, Fla. Stat.
§§ 760.01 et seq. Doc. 25. On February 16,
2018, the Court entered an Amended Case Management and
Scheduling Order, setting the discovery deadline to April 2,
2018, the mediation deadline to April 16, 2018, the deadline
for dispositive motions to April 30, 2018 and a trial term to
commence on October 1, 2018. Doc. 36.
served his First Request for Production on June 26, 2017.
Doc. 38-1. Forney responded to the request on January 12,
2018 by producing certain documents and raising various
objections. Doc. 38-2. The parties continued their efforts to
amicably resolve their discovery disputes into February 2018,
but were unable to reach an agreement. Doc. 38 at 2. At issue
here are Plaintiff's Request for Production Nos. 6, 14,
15 and 16 and Forney's objections to these requests.
Docs. 38, 41. Plaintiff seeks to compel Forney's
production of documents in response to these discovery
requests. Doc. 38.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the
procedures for obtaining access to documents and things
within the control of the opposing party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34.
Rule 34(a) allows a party to serve on any other party a
request within the scope of Rule 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a).
Rule 26(b) permits 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
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). A request for production must state
“with reasonable particularity each item or category of
items to be inspected.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(1)(A). The
party to whom the request is directed must respond within
thirty days after being served, and “for each item or
category . . . must state with specificity the grounds for
objecting to the request, including the reasons.”
Plaintiff seeks to compel Forney's response to his
Request No. 6:
6. The complete personnel files of all individuals identified
in response to Interrogatory No. 11,  including but not limited
to, any documents, records, memoranda, notes, or computer
printouts which were part of the personnel files at any time.
Response: As to item 6, the Defendant
objects on the basis of relevancy and materiality to
providing Mr. Wodzenski's entire personnel file. Attached
hereto is Mr. Wodzenski's resignation letter dated
Docs. 38-1 at 5, 38-2 at 1.
argues he needs the requested documents in order to establish
his discrimination claims. Doc. 38 at 8-9. Plaintiff appears
to allege Wodzenski may have been involved in or accused of
the same or similar misconduct as Plaintiff's but was
disciplined differently. Id. at 8-9. Forney responds
Wodzenski is not a similarly situated individual because
Forney demoted Wodzenski due to his work performance issues
whereas Forney terminated Plaintiff primarily because of his
insubordination. Doc. 41 at 2. Alternatively, Forney requests
to produce the requested documents under a confidentiality
agreement. Id. at 3.
is correct that in ADEA cases, courts employ the framework
from McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973). Washington v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 567
F. App'x 749, 751-52 (11th Cir. 2014). Under the
McDonnell Douglas framework, a plaintiff may
establish a prima facie case by showing four factors: he (1)
was a member of the protected age group, (2) was subject to
adverse employment action, (3) was qualified to do the job,
and (4) was replaced by a younger individual, or ...