United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
KING, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
David J. Hale referred this matter to Magistrate Judge Lanny
King for resolution of all litigation planning issues, entry
of scheduling orders, consideration of amendments thereto,
and resolution of all non-dispositive matters, including
discovery issues. (Docket # 4).
September 16, 2019, Judge King conducted a telephonic status
conference in this case regarding multiple discovery
disputes. (Docket # 43). On September 27, 2019, Defendants
Tri City Acceptance, Inc. (Tri City) and Betty Byrd filed a
Motion to Compel. (Docket # 46). Plaintiff Christopher
Clayton filed a Response on October 9, 2019. (Docket # 50).
Fully briefed, this matter is now ripe for adjudication.
reasons discussed below, the Motion to Compel (Docket # 46)
is GRANTED, to the extent that Plaintiff
shall produce a copy of the settlement agreement between
himself and Turner, Coombs & Malone (“TCM”),
and submit to a deposition conducted by Defendants Tri City
and Byrd on the settlement agreement and mediation associated
with it, unless the Court grants a protective order on motion
matter arises out of a suit, filed originally by Plaintiff
Clayton in Jefferson County Circuit Court, and later removed
to this Court. Plaintiff alleges Defendants Tri City and Byrd
“unreasonably intruded upon [his] privacy and
seclusion” when they “divulge[ed] [his] private
financial and credit information to thirdparties . . . and
the public at large  by providing a copy of [his] Trans
Union report during [Byrd's] deposition and testifying
about the contents of the credit report on the record.”
(Docket # 7 at 3). He further alleges that Defendants
obtained and used the report without a permissible purpose
with a willful, or at least negligent, state of mind,
creating noncompliance with the FRCA, 15 U.S.C. §§
1681b, 1681n, and 1681o. (Id., at 4-5).
August 9, 2019, Defendants Tri City and Byrd issued a Notice
of Video Deposition of Plaintiff Clayton, to be taken on
August 20, 2019. (Docket # 46-1). On August 19, 2019,
Plaintiff Clayton provided his written responses to the
requests for production attached to the Notice of Deposition.
(Docket # 46-2). Defendants describe all of Plaintiff's
responses as “deficient” but focus their Motion
to Compel on a single response to request for production no.
4. (Docket # 46 at 2). This request asks for “copies of
all settlement agreements, and related documents, arising
from the settlement of the Plaintiff's lawsuit with TCM
in Jefferson Circuit Court No. 16-CI-000087.” (Docket #
46-1 at 6). Defendants refer to a Jefferson Circuit Court
Case, in which Mr. Clayton brought suit against the law firm
of Turner, Coombs, and Malone for violations of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act. 15 U.S.C. § 1692. (hereinafter
“TCM case”). The suit ended in January 2018, with
a settlement agreement. (Docket # 50 at 3).
deposition took place on August 20, 2019. (Docket # 46 at 2).
Tri City and Byrd allege that Plaintiff's counsel
instructed Plaintiff not to answer multiple questions which
requested non-privileged information, attempted to coach his
client, and otherwise instructed his client not to answer
questions about the mediation and settlement agreement in the
TCM case. (Id.). Specifically, Defendants allege
that Plaintiff has placed the contents of this settlement
agreement in the TCM case into issue in the present
litigation, and is required to produce it. (Docket # 46).
Plaintiff disagrees. (Docket # 50).
Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense ….” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
Relevance is to be “construed broadly to encompass any
matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other
matter that could bear on” any party's claim or
defense. Albritton v. CVS Caremark Corp., No.
5:13-CV-00218-GNS-LLK, 2016 WL 3580790, at *3 (W.D. Ky. June
28, 2016) (citing Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders,
437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978) (citation omitted)). However, the
scope of discovery is not unlimited. “On motion or on
its own, the court must limit the frequency or extent of
discovery … if it determines that … the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount in
controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of
the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of
discovery in resolving the issues.” Id.
(quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C)(iii)). The
determination of “the scope of discovery is within the
sound discretion of the trial court.” Cooper v.
Bower, No. 5:15-CV-249-TBR, 2018 WL 663002, at *1 (W.D.
Ky. Jan. 29, 2018), reconsideration denied, 2018 WL
1456940 (W.D. Ky. Mar. 22, 2018) (quoting Chrysler Corp.
v. Fedders Corp., 643 F.2d 1229, 1240 (6th Cir. 1981)).
Rule of Civil Procedure 30 governs oral depositions. A party
must obtain leave of Court, consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and
(2) to depose a deponent who has previously been deposed in
the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(2)(ii). Rule 30 further provides
that the party seeking a deposition may attach a subpoena
duces tecum, designating materials for production at the
deposition. Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(2). This notice must be
accompanied by a request for production, which is governed by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34.
Rule of Civil Procedure 33 governs interrogatories while Rule
34 governs requests to produce. Rule 33(b)(3) requires the
responding party to answer each interrogatory “to the
extent it is not objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3).
Similarly, Rule 34(b)(2)(B) requires a response to a document
request to “either state that inspection and related
activities will be permitted as requested or state an
objection to the request, including the reasons, ” and
Rule 34(b)(2)(C) requires “[a]n objection to part of a
document [request] must specify the part and permit
inspection of the rest.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(B), (C).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 33 and 34 are structured
such that, in combination with Rule 26(g)(1), both the
requesting party and the court may be assured that
all responsive, non-privileged materials are being
produced, except to the extent a valid objection has been
made. Heller v. City of Dallas, 303 F.R.D. 466, 487
(N.D. Tex. 2014) (citing Evans v. United Fire & Cas.
Ins. Co., 2007 WL 2323363 at *1, *3 (E.D. La. Aug. 9,
2007) (emphasis in original)). Federal Rule 33 requires that
objections be made with specificity. Janko Enterprises,
Inc. v. Long John Silver's, Inc., 2013 WL 5308802 at
*7 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 19, 2013) (“Unexplained and
unsupported ‘boilerplate' objections are clearly
party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule
33 or a request to produce submitted under Rule 34, the
discovering party may move for an order compelling an answer,
or a designation, or an order compelling inspection in
accordance with the request. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(2)(B).
Pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules, “a party may
move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery, ”
provided that the party certifies to the Court that it has,
in good faith, conferred or attempted to confer with the
person or party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an
effort to obtain it without court action. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(1); see id. at (a)(3)(B)(iii)-(iv) (providing
that a party may move to compel answers to interrogatories
submitted under Rule 33 or to compel an inspection requested
under Rule 34). The party who files a motion to compel
discovery “bears the burden of demonstrating
relevance.” Albritton v. CVS Caremark Corp.,
No. 5:13-CV-00218-GNS-LLK, 2016 WL 3580790 at *3 (W.D. Ky.
June 28, 2016).