United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
P. FLYNN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court are Defendant University of South Florida Board of
Trustees' motions to compel Plaintiff to provide proper
responses to Defendant's first set of interrogatories and
requests for production (“Motions to Compel”)
(Docs. 135 & 136), and Defendant's motion to sanction
Plaintiff for failing to attend to her deposition
(“Motion for Sanctions”) (Doc. 148). Upon
consideration, Defendant's Motions to Compel are granted
with modifications, and Defendant's Motion for Sanctions
served Plaintiff with its First Set of Interrogatories and
Request for Production of Documents on June 5, 2019. On July
15, 2019, Plaintiff served Defendant with her objections and
responses to Defendant's requests. Defendant argues that
Plaintiff's objections are untimely and have been waived,
and that they are improper. Therefore, Defendant asks the
Court to compel Plaintiff to answer interrogatories Nos. 1,
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, and to produce
the information and documents identified in Defendant's
request for production Nos. 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19,
21, and 22. Defendant also requests attorney's fees
associated with bringing its motions.
objects to the interrogatories and requests for production on
the basis that the information sought by Defendant is equally
available to Defendant; is in Defendant's possession or
can be found in Plaintiff's pleadings; is overbroad,
ambiguous, or irrelevant; and seeks confidential or
privileged information. Similarly, Plaintiff argues that
Defendant's Motions to Compel should be denied because
they seek duplicative information in Defendant's
possession and Defendant failed to confer with Plaintiff
before filing the motions.
addition to serving interrogatories and requests for
production, on June 28, 2019, Defendant e-mailed Plaintiff
requesting her available dates for a deposition. Plaintiff
failed to respond to this e-mail. Defendant then reiterated
its request on July 8, 2019 and July 15, 2019. Plaintiff
responded to both e-mails challenging the need for a
deposition and arguing that the Court's Case Management
and Scheduling Order directed the parties to stipulate facts
rather than to use depositions in this case. On July 31,
2019, and based on Plaintiff's failure to provide
Defendant with her available dates for a deposition,
Defendant noticed Plaintiff's deposition in Tampa,
Florida, for August 21, 2019. Plaintiffs deposition notice
was e-mailed to Plaintiff the same day. Plaintiff responded
questioning again the need for the deposition but failed to
clearly express whether she was unavailable for the
deposition. On August 21, 2019, Defendant's counsel
traveled to Tampa to conduct Plaintiff's deposition.
Plaintiff failed to appear. As a result, Defendant asks the
Court to dismiss Plaintiff's lawsuit with prejudice or to
severely sanction Plaintiff in accord with Rule
37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(iv). The Court will address each of
Defendant's motions in turn.
Defendant's Motions to Compel
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). With
respect to requests for production, “[t]he party to
whom the request is directed must respond in writing within
30 days after being served.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(A).
Likewise, a party upon whom interrogatories have been served
has thirty days to respond either by filing answers or
objections to the propounded interrogatories. Fed.R.Civ.P.
33(b). A party seeking discovery may move for an order
compelling and answer or production if a party fails to
answer an interrogatory or produce documents. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(3)(B)(iii) and (iv).
party's failure to timely object to interrogatories,
production requests, or other discovery efforts, waived
whatever objections she might have. Parekh v. CBS
Corp., 618CV466ORL40TBS, 2018 WL 5717428, at *2 (M.D.
Fla. Nov. 1, 2018) (citing Bailey Indus., Inc. v. CLJP,
Inc., 270 F.R.D. 662, 668 (N.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2010);
Bailey v. City of Daytona Beach Shores, 286 F.R.D.
625, 627 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 23, 2012)). Courts may excuse a
party from her untimely responses for good cause.
Id. (citations omitted).
or general objections are improper and constitute a waiver of
the objections to the discovery sought. See Spencer v.
City of Orlando, Florida, No. 6:15-cv-345- Orl-37TBS,
2016 WL 397935, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 2, 2016) (concluding
that objections that are “are too vague and
nonspecific” fail to “preserve any objection to
the requested discovery”). An objection stating that an
interrogatory or request for production is overbroad or
unduly burdensome without further explanation is an improper
objection. See Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Hardin, No.
8:14-CV-775-T-23AAS, 2019 WL 3082608, at *4-5 (M.D. Fla. July
15, 2019); Siddiq v. Saudi Arabian Airlines Corp.,
No. 6:11-cv-69-Orl- 19GJK, 2011 WL 693685, at *3 (M.D. Fla.
Dec. 7, 2011); Miner, Ltd v. Keck, No.
619CV722ORL41TBS, 2019 WL 2869063, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Jul. 3,
2019). Similarly, an objection stating merely than an item or
information may be available from another source is an
improper objection. See Mayan v. Mayan, No.
615CV2183ORL18TBS, 2017 WL 1426631, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 21,
2017); Wiand v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No.
8:12-CV-557-T-27EAJ, 2013 WL 6170610, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Nov.
22, 2013); Central Transport Int'l, Inc. v. Global
Advantage Distrib., Inc., No. 2:06-401-FtM-29SPC, 2007
WL 3124715, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Sep. 11, 2007).
an objection asserting a privilege without stating which
privilege is at issue for each request lacks specificity and
is improper. See In re Pimenta, 942 F.Supp.2d 1282,
1290 (S.D. Fla. 2013) (“Blanket assertions of privilege
before a district court are usually unacceptable.”);
Maryland Cas. Co. v. Shreejee Ni Pedhi's, Inc.,
No. 3:12-cv-121-J-34MCR, 2013 WL 3353319, at *4 (M.D. Fla.
July 2, 2013) (finding that the objecting party “has
the burden to demonstrate the work product doctrine applies
and failed to make its work product objection with any
specificity.”). In addition, a party asserting a
privilege, including pro se litigants, must
“describe the nature of the documents” not
disclosed “in a manner that, without revealing
information itself privileged or protected, will enable other
parties to assess the claim.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(5)(A)(ii); see Curry v. HSBC N.A. Holdings,
Inc., No. 8:14-CV-2420-T-30JSS, 2015 WL 12843842, at *5
(M.D. Fla. Sept. 24, 2015) (acknowledging that some courts
have found pro se plaintiffs entitled to a degree of
work-product protection, but requiring the production of a
privilege log to determine whether the doctrine applies to
the documents withhold by the pro se litigant).
served Defendant with her objections and responses ten day
after the responses were due and has not established good
cause for the delay. As a result, Plaintiff's objections
were waived. See Parekh, 2018 WL 5717428, at *2.
Additionally, Plaintiff's objections lack specificity and
are improper. For example, Plaintiff makes boilerplate
objections to interrogatories Nos. 4, 6, 9, 10, 11 as
overbroad, and to interrogatories Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11,
12, 16 on the basis that the information requested is
available to both parties or can be found in Plaintiff's
pleadings and other Court filings. Similarly, Plaintiff
asserts the work-product doctrine as to requests for
production Nos. 3, 7, 12, 13, 14, but fails to provide the
Court with a privilege log. Accordingly, Defendant's
Motions to Compel are due to be granted with the following
respect to the request for Plaintiff's social security
number in interrogatory No. 1, Plaintiff is required to
provide only the last four digits of her social security
number. Plaintiff shall provide all other information
requested in interrogatory No. 1. As to interrogatory No. 4,
Plaintiff is required to provide information related to
criminal convictions for a crime of dishonestly, rather than
to provide information as to any “criminal
action.” As to request for production No. 19, Plaintiff
is required to produce all the listed information in her
possession, custody, or control. However, Plaintiff is not
required to “execute the attached IRS Form 4506T and
return the same with [her] responses.” Rule 34 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a party to produce
“documents and things, ” but does not require a
party to execute a release. See Graham v. Carroll,
No. 5:10-CV-00065-RS-GRJ, 2011 WL 855331, at *1 (N.D. Fla.
Mar. 9, 2011) (discussing medical releases and stating that
Rule 34 requires a party to produce all “documents and
things” over which the party has “possession,
custody or control” but not to execute a release unless
the Plaintiff wishes to do so voluntarily).
Defendant's request for attorney's fees, Rule
37(a)(5) of the Federal Rules Civil Procedure, provides in
If the motion is granted -- or if the disclosure or requested
discovery is provided after the motion was filed -- the court
must, after giving an opportunity to be heard, require the
party . . . whose conduct necessitated the motion, the party
or attorney advising such conduct, or both to pay to the
movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the