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Bell v. Mallin

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

June 21, 2018

KATHY BELL, [1] Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD MALLIN, DALLIA B. MALLIN, and AIR AND MORE SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          AMANDA ARNOLD SANS ONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Kathy Bell seeks an order directing Richard Mallin, Dallia Mallin, and Air and More Services, Inc., to respond to Ms. Bell's requests for production, requests for admissions, and interrogatories. (Doc. 16). In response, the defendants seek additional time. (Doc. 20).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Ms. Bell brings this action for claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 12181, et seq., based upon the defendants' alleged failure to remove physical barriers to access and violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). (Doc. 1). On March 5, 2018, Ms. Bell served the defendants with her First Set of Interrogatories, First Requests for Production, and First Requests for Admissions. (Doc. 16-1). Almost four months later, the defendants have not responded. (Docs. 16, 20).

         Ms. Bell requests the following relief: (1) an order for the defendants to respond to the discovery requests within five days; (2) a finding that the defendants have waived all objections to Ms. Bell's interrogatories and requests for production; (3) a finding that Ms. Bell's requests for admissions are deemed admitted; (4) reimbursement of Ms. Bell's attorney's fees and costs; and (5) an extension of the September 13, 2018 discovery deadline, if necessary. (Doc. 16, pp. 2-3). In response, the defendants request an additional fourteen days to respond to the discovery requests, but do not provide any argument as to Ms. Bell's remaining requests. (Doc. 20).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Motion to Compel Discovery Responses

         1. Interrogatories and Requests for Production

         Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to serve on another party written interrogatories that relate to “any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(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 be discoverable.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1).

         “[A]ny party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories ... to be answered by the party served....” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a). The answers and objections, if any, must be served “within 30 days after the service of the interrogatories.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(2). “Any ground not stated in a timely objection is waived unless the court, for good cause, excuses the failure.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4). Indeed, as set forth in Paragraph IV.B.1. of the Middle District Discovery Manual, “[a]bsent compelling circumstances, failure to assert objections to an interrogatory within the time period for answers constitutes a waiver and will preclude a party from asserting the objection in a response to a motion to compel.”

         Similarly, “[a]ny party may serve on any other party a request ... to produce and permit the requesting party ... to inspect, copy, test, or sample” designated items that are within the scope of Rule 26(b) and which are “in the responding parties' possession, custody, or control.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a). The opposing party must then serve a written response within thirty days. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(A). As set forth in Paragraph III.A.6. of the Middle District Discovery Manual, “Absent compelling circumstances, failure to assert objections to a request for production within the time period for a response constitutes a waiver of grounds for objection, and will preclude a party from asserting the objection in a response to a motion to compel.”

         “[W]hen a party fails to timely object to interrogatories, production requests, or other discovery efforts, the objections are deemed waived.” Reliance Ins. Co. v. Core Carriers, Inc., No. 3:06-cv-585-J-20MCR, 2008 WL 2414041, at *2 (M.D. Fla. June 11, 2008). The defendants have not presented compelling circumstances that would make the waiver of objections unjustified. See Bernath v. Seavey, No. 2:15-CV- 358-FTM-99CM, 2016 WL 7013873, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 1, 2016); see also Guerra v. Se. Freight Lines, Inc., No. 13-22070-CIV, 2014 WL 6770175, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 1, 2014) (“Guerra did not file a timely objection to SEFL's interrogatories and did not claim that any of the discovery infringed upon privileged information. Guerra has failed to provide any responses. Therefore, any and all objections to SEFL's discovery requests are now waived.”). Indeed, the defendants provided no argument, other than to note the number of the discovery requests, as to why they have not provided responses for nearly four months or moved for an extension. (See Doc. 20). Because the defendants failed to timely respond or object to ...


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