United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. ATKINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Christopher
Fields' Motion to Compel Discovery Responses from
Defendant Kroger Limited Partnership I. [R. 50 (Motion to
Compel); R. 55 (Response); R. 56 (Reply)]. All discovery
disputes have been referred to the undersigned for a decision
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). [R. 29].
Accordingly, having considered the matter fully, and being
otherwise sufficiently advised, IT IS ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel [R. 50] is DENIED.
discovery at issue in this motion concerns Plaintiff's
First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production of
Documents served on May 15, 2018 [R. 23 (Notice of Service);
R. 55-1 (Discovery Requests)]. Defendant's responses were
then provided to Plaintiff on June 12, 2018 [R. 24 (Notice of
Service); R. 55-2 (Discovery Responses)].
to filing the motion, on December 17, 2018, Plaintiff sought
leave for an extension of sixty (60) days for which to file
expert reports. [R. 43]. Because this motion was filed on the
date Plaintiff's reports were due, and since no good
cause was shown to justify an extension that would impact
pending deadlines, the motion was denied.
to the Scheduling Order entered April 3, 2018, the Court set
October 15, 2018, as the deadline for completing fact
discovery. [R. 17, ¶ (f)]. Yet, on January 15, 2019-
roughly two weeks after the Court denied Plaintiff's
motion for an extension of time- Plaintiff now argues that
Defendant failed to adequately respond to his May 15, 2018
discovery requests. [R. 50]. Primarily, Plaintiff faults the
Defendant on three grounds, namely for providing: (1)
objections without answers [Id. at 2]; (2) answers
requiring supplementation [Id. at 17]; and (3)
insufficient answers [Id. at 21].
January 16, 2019, the Court convened a telephone conference
to discuss the possibility of setting this matter for a
settlement conference. [R. 49 (Order); R. 52 (Minute Entry
Order)]. During the call, the undersigned briefly addressed
this pending motion and directed the parties to file briefs
for the Court to review. This matter is ready for ruling,
following Plaintiff's Reply [R. 56] to Defendant's
Response to the motion to compel [R. 55].
Civ. P. 26(b)(1) provides that-unless otherwise
limited-“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case.” This language is broadly construed to include
“any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could
lead to other matters that could bear on, any issue that is
or may be in the case.” Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978). The scope of
discovery, however, is not without limitation. It is
“well established that the scope of discovery is within
the sound discretion of the trial court.” Chrysler
Corp. v. Fedders Corp., 643 F.2d 1229, 1240 (6th Cir.
1981) (citing H. K. Porter Co., Inc. v. Goodyear Tire and
Rubber Co., 536 F.2d 1115 (6th Cir. 1976)). As such,
“[a] ruling by the trial court limiting or denying
discovery will not be cause for reversal unless an abuse of
discretion is shown.” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b); H. L. Moore Drug Exch., Inc. v. Smith, Kline and
French Lab., 384 F.2d 97 (2d Cir. 1967)).
party refuses to provide information requested by any other
party, which is thought by the requesting party to be within
the scope of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), the requesting party may
move the court in which the action is pending to compel
disclosure of the requested information. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(3)(B). Such a motion to compel generally may be filed
where a party has failed to provide mandatory disclosure;
failed to answer or admit an interrogatory or request for
admission; or failed to produce discoverable information,
materials, or documents-electronic or otherwise. See
generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. A failure to disclose,
answer or admit, or produce includes disclosures, answers or
admissions, or productions that are “evasive or
incomplete.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4). Prior to so moving,
however, a party seeking to compel disclosure or discovery
must in good faith confer or attempt to confer with the
opposing party “failing to make disclosure or discovery
in an effort to obtain it without court action.”
the court determine the matters sought to be compelled fall
within the scope of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26, the motion shall be
granted. Nonetheless, district courts may deny as untimely
motions to compel filed after the discovery deadline has
passed. Pittman v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc.,
901 F.3d 619, 642-43 (6th Cir. 2018); see also Craig-Wood
v. Time Warner N.Y. Cable LLC, 549 Fed.Appx. 505, 508
(6th Cir. 2014) (“In general, a district court does not
abuse its discretion by denying an untimely motion to compel
that violated unambiguous discovery deadlines.” (citing
cases)). In fact, motions to compel filed after the discovery
deadline will generally be deemed untimely. See, e.g.,
Herdguard, LLC v. NXT Generation Pet, Inc., WL
5023327 2018, at *2 (E.D. Ky. Oct. 16, 2018); Morris v.
Zurich American Ins. Co., 2018 WL 1875295, at *2-3 (W.D.
Ky. Apr. 19, 2018); Appalachian Reg'l Healthcare v.
U.S. Nursing Corp., 2017 WL 9690401, at *3-6
(E.D. Ky. Sept. 1, 2017); Thomas v. Louisville/Jefferson
Cty. Metro Gov't, 2016 WL 4385857, at *1 (W.D. Ky.
Aug. 15, 2016); Mitchell v. Mike, 2015 WL 8770073,
at *2-3 (E.D. Ky. Dec. 14, 2015).
Failure to Comply with Rules
Defendant points out that, like the Plaintiff in
Mitchell,  “this motion fails to comply
with the requirements of Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and Local Rule 37.1.”
Mitchell, 2015 WL 8770073, at *2; see R. ...