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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Indi's Fast Food Restaurant, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

May 1, 2017

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
INDI'S FAST FOOD RESTAURANT, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Colin Lindsay, Magistrate Judge United States District Court

         Before the Court are three motions for extensions of time filed by Defendants Indi's Fast Food Restaurant, Inc. (“Indi's”) and Evanczyk Brothers, LLC (“Evanczyk Brothers”) (collectively, “Defendants”). In the first two motions (DN 61, 66), Defendants seek leave to file u responses to written discovery requests served by Plaintiff Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (the “EEOC”). In the third motion, Indi's seeks leave to file out of time an answer to the EEOC's second amended complaint. (DN 72 (motion for extension); DN 29 (second amended complaint).)

         BACKGROUND

         A. Defendants' First Motion for Extension (DN 61)

         First, Defendants filed a motion on January 31, 2017, the date set by the Court for completion of written discovery (see DN 12), seeking leave of Court to serve untimely responses to requests for admission and a single interrogatory served by the EEOC. According to Defendants, on December 20, 2016, EEOC served discovery requests consisting of Requests for Admission Nos. 1-23 and Interrogatory No. 8, and on December 30, 2016, the EEOC served discovery requests consisting of Requests for Admission Nos. 24-43 and Interrogatory No. 9.[1](DN 61 at 1-2.)

         Defense counsel states that on January 27, 2017, counsel for the EEOC requested an extension of time from January 30, 2017 to February 3, 2017 to respond to Defendants' first set of discovery requests, and that defense counsel agreed to that request. (Id. at 2.) Defendants further state that defense counsel requested an extension until February 1, 2017 to respond to all discovery served by the EEOC on December 20 and 30, 2016. (Id.) According to Defendants, the EEOC's attorney responded that she agreed to an extension as to the discovery requests served on December 30, 2016, but that she could not agree to extend the response deadline for the requests served on December 20, 2016 because the deadline to respond had already passed. (Id.)

         Defendants contend that the December 30 discovery requests were, in reality, a supplement to the December 20 discovery requests, and that they believed they had until January 30, 2017 to respond to all of those requests.[2] (Id.) Finally, Defendants argue that “a substantial amount” of the requests for admissions served by the EEOC on both December dates required information that the EEOC also requested separately from Evanczyk and that Evanczyk was not required to respond to the discovery requests directed to it until January 30, 2017. (Id. at 2-3.)

         On January 31, 2017, the same date on which Defendants filed the first motion for extension (DN 61), they also filed in the record the following discovery requests: (1) Evanczyk's responses to EEOC's first set of requests for production (DN 59 (covering Request Nos. 1-13)); (2) Defendants' responses to EEOC's requests for admission and interrogatory (DN 60 (covering Requests for Admission Nos. 1-23 and Interrogatory No. 8)); and (3) Indi's fifth supplemental response to EEOC's first request for production (DN 62 (covering Request Nos. 9 and 14)).

         The EEOC filed a response in opposition (DN 64) to the first motion for extension. The EEOC contends that Defendants were required to respond to the discovery requests served on December 20, 2016 no later than January 19, 2017, and that Defendants were required to respond to the discovery requests served on December 30, 2016 no later than February 1, 2017. (Id. at 1.) The EEOC argues that Defendants failed to timely respond to either set of discovery requests, having filed their responses to the December 20 discovery requests on January 31, 2017 and not having responded to the December 30 discovery requests as of February 7, 2017, the date on which the EEOC filed its response. (Id. at 1-2.)

         The EEOC asks the Court to deem admitted all of the requests for admission discussed above (Requests for Admission Nos. 1-43) pursuant to Rule 36(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id. at 2.) The EEOC argues that Defendants' arguments that the second set of discovery requests was merely a supplement to the first, and that both sets then acquired a deadline of January 30, 2017, are nonsensical. (Id. at 3.) The EEOC's position is that Defendants and their counsel have demonstrated an unwillingness or inability to adhere to Court-imposed deadlines and that they have not shown that they failed to meet the discovery deadlines sufficient to satisfy the excusable neglect standard set forth in Rule 6(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id. at 2-3.) For those reasons, The EEOC argues that the first motion for extension should be denied.

         B. Defendants' Second Motion for Extension (DN 66)

         On February 13, 2017, Defendants filed a second motion for extension (DN 66), this time asking the Court to accept as timely their responses to EEOC's December 30, 2016 requests for admission and interrogatory, which they also filed on February 13. (See DN 65 (responding to Requests for Admission Nos. 24-43 and Interrogatory No. 9).) Defendants state that their counsel intended to file responses to the December 30 discovery requests at the same time that it filed other responses on January 31, 2017, but that counsel “was unable to do so because [he] was uncertain as to the answers to Admissions No. 42 and 43” because counsel “was not able to verify th[e] representation of his client as to certain dates of employment.” (DN 66 at 2.) Defendants further state that on February 1, 2017, defense counsel left for vacation and was not able to review the EEOC's response to Defendants' first motion for extension. (Id.) Defendants appear to state that when their counsel was able to review that EEOC's response at some unstated time, counsel contacted his client's accountant and obtained the employment information requested by the EEOC, which allowed Defendants to file the responses (DN 65) on February 13, 2017. (Id.)

         The EEOC did not file a response to Defendants' second motion for extension. Failure to timely respond to a motion may be grounds for granting the motion. LR 7.1(c).

         C. Indi's Motion for Extension of Time to ...


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