United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ROY J. DIXON, JR. and BLANCHE L. DIXON, Plaintiffs,
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., as successor by merger to BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS
RESPONSIVE TO PLAINTIFFS' FIRST REOUEST FOR DOCUM ENTS
WILLIAM MATTHEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court upon Plaintiffs, Roy J.
Dixon Jr. and Blanche L. Dixon's ("Plaintiffs")
Motion to Compel Production of Documents Responsive to
Plaintiffs' First Request for Documents [DE 94]. This
matter was referred to the undersigned by United States
District Judge Kenneth A. Marra. See DE 71.
Defendant, Bank of America, N.A. ("Defendant"), has
filed a Notice of Serving Responses and Objections to
Plaintiffs' Amended Requests for Production of Documents
[DE 95], a Notice of Serving Responses and Objections to
Plaintiffs' Amended First Set of Interrogatories to
Defendants [DE 96], and a Response to Plaintiffs' Motion
to Compel [DE 105]. Plaintiffs have filed a Reply [DE 110].
This matter is now ripe for review.
February 6, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their Verified Amended
Complaint [DE 4]. On July 3, 2019, Judge Marra entered an
Order and Opinion on Third Motion to Amend. [DE 59]. He
dismissed several of Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice
and provided Plaintiffs with one final opportunity to amend
their complaint. Id. at p. 31. Judge Marra specified
that Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint could only
allege counts of a violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, civil theft, and/or quiet title. Id.
In their Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege" a
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Act (Count 1) and civil
theft under Florida law (Count 2) against Defendant. [DE 69].
Defendant has filed a Motion to Dismiss [DE 83], which
remains pending. The Motion to Dismiss is fully briefed.
Plaintiffs served their First Set of Interrogatories,
Defendant conferred with Plaintiff in an effort to
"narrow the discovery requests and address deficiencies
therein." [DE 95, p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1, f.n. 1]. Plaintiffs then served
upon Defendant their Amended First Requests for Production of
Documents and their Amended First Set of Interrogatories on
July 31, 2018. See DEs 95, 96. Upon receipt of
Defendant's August 30, 2019 discovery responses,
Plaintiffs filed their Motion [DE 94].
Motion, Plaintiffs explain that Defendant objected to every
document request and refused to answer all interrogatories on
the basis that the discovery requests sought irrelevant
information. [DE 94, p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1]. Plaintiffs contend that the
discovery sought is necessary to support their response in
opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss. Id.
at p. 2.
response, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs' discovery
requests are yet another "improper effort to
collaterally attack a state foreclosure action" and that
the requests have "no basis in or relevancy to the
claims Plaintiffs attempt to assert in the Second Amended
Complaint." [DE 105, p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1]. Defendant asserts that the
discovery sought is not relevant to the Motion to Dismiss
because the Court is limited to the four corners of the
Second Amended Complaint in ruling on the Motion to Dismiss.
Id. at p. 2. According to Defendant, Plaintiffs'
Motion fails to comply with Local Rule 26.1(g)(2). Mat p. 3.
reply, Plaintiffs first object to Defendant's Response on
the basis that attorney Reid Alan Schaeffer never filed a
Notice of Appearance on Defendant's behalf in this case.
[DE 110, p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1');">p. 1], Next, Plaintiffs seek leave to file a Third
Amended Complaint "to add a cause of action under FS
494.00296 against Bana [sic] and claim against nonparty
Fannie Mae." Id. at p. 4.
has made specific objections to each discovery request.
Defendant objects to several discovery requests on the basis
that they are vague, ambiguous, overboard, or unduly
burdensome. See DEs 95 and 96. Additionally,
Defendant objects to the vast majority of the requests on the
basis that the discovery requests seek irrelevant
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure defines the
scope of discovery as "any non-privileged 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, the parties' relative access to
relevant information, the parties' resources, the
importance of the discovery, and whether the burden of the
discovery outweighs the likely benefit. It is well
established that the courts must employ a liberal standard in
keeping with the purpose of the discovery rules. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). However, Rule 26(b) allows discovery "through
increased reliance on the commonsense concept of
proportionality." In re: Takata Airbag Prod. Liab.
Litig., 15-2599-MD-Moreno, 2016 WL 1460143, at *2 (S.D.
Fla. Mar. 1, 2016) (quoting Chief Justice John Roberts, 2075
Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary 6(2015));
Renter v. Physicians Cas. Risk Retention
Group, No. 16-80581-CV, 2017 WL 395242, (S.D. Fla.
2017). "Proportionality requires counsel and the court
to consider whether relevant information is discoverable in
view of the needs of the case." Tiger v. Dynamic
Sports Nutrition, LLC, No. 6:15-cv-1701-ORL-41TBS, 2016
WL 1408098, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 11, 2016).
respondent bears the burden of establishing a lack of
relevancy or some other basis for resisting production."
Glatter v. MSC Cruises S.A., No. 18-62219-CIV, 2019
WL 1300896, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 7, 2019); see also
Broadbandone, Inc. v. Host.net, Inc., No. 12-80604-CIV,
2013 WL 12096358, at *1 (S.D. Fla. May 30, 2013);
Dunkin' Donuts, Inc. v. Mary's Donuts, Inc.,
No. 01-0392-CIV-Gold, 2001 WL 34079319, *2 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 1,
2001). In other words, the respondent "must show either
that the requested discovery (1) does not come within the
broad scope of relevance as defined under Rule 26 or (2) is
of such marginal relevance that the potential harm occasioned
by discovery would far outweigh the ordinary presumption in
favor of broad disclosure." Jeld-Wen, Inc. v. Nebula
Glass Int'l, Inc., No. 05-60860-CIV, 2007 WL
1526649, at *2 (S.D. Fla. May 22, 2007) (citing Giardina
v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. Civ. A. 02-1030, 2003 WL
21276348 (E.D. La. May 30, 2003); Gober v. City of
Leesburg, 197 F.R.D. 519 (M.D. Fla. 2000)).
Court has carefully reviewed the Motion, Response, Reply, and
Plaintiffs discovery requests and Defendant's responses
and objections thereto. As explained above, Judge Marra
previously limited and specified the causes of action that
Plaintiffs could plead in their Second Amended Complaint.
Plaintiffs then only alleged civil theft under Florida law
and a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
against Defendant in the Second Amended Complaint.
claim that the discovery sought is relevant and necessary to
assist them in fully responding to the pending motion to
dismiss. This argument is without merit for two reasons.
First, the motion to dismiss is already fully briefed.
Second, the argument in the motion to dismiss is that
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint fails to plead
sufficient facts to state a claim that is plausible on its