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Jones v. Standard Consulting

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

February 14, 2018

KANDI JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
STANDARD CONSULTING and STANDARD TESTING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          DAVID L. RUSSELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Kandi Jones filed a Motion to Compel Both Defendants to Supplement Discovery (Doc. No. 43) to which both Defendants have responded and Plaintiff has filed a Reply. Having considered the parties' submissions, the Court finds as follows.

         By this action, Plaintiff alleges age and gender discrimination with regard to her employment at Standard Consulting, known during her employment as StanTech. She contends the two Defendants, both owned by same individual, were an integrated enterprise. She seeks to compel discovery in support of her contentions, both as to the merits of her claims and the potential for holding both Standard Consulting and Standard Testing liable. Defendants supplemented certain of the problematic responses, but Plaintiff contends additional supplemental production is mandated.

         Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure defines the scope of permissible discovery. The Rule permits discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case. Id. In considering whether the discovery sought is proportional, the court weighs the importance of the discovery to the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Id. Generally, when discovery appears to be relevant on its face, the responding party bears the burden of establishing that the requested discovery does not come within the scope of relevant evidence, or is of such marginal relevance that the potential benefit of discovery is outweighed by the harm. Simpson v. Univ. of Colo., 220 F.R.D. 354, 356 (D. Colo. 2004) (citations omitted).

         Both Defendants object to production in response to Interrogatory No. 4, wherein Plaintiff requested that each Defendant:

Identify (as defined above) each person who, during any part of the period from Jan 1, 2014 to the present, was supervised (directly and/or indirectly) by Tom Kelly.

         Defendants provided Plaintiff with information regarding persons Tom Kelly directly supervised. However, because Kelly owned both entities, Defendants object stating the request for indirect supervisees is too broad because it would effectively encompass all employees. Plaintiff contends that, because each Defendant employs fewer than fifty persons, her request is not overly broad nor is it unduly burdensome. The Court finds that, given the nature of Plaintiff's allegations that male employees were permitted to treat female employees disrespectfully and were not required to maintain the same office hours as female employees, and that Mr. Kelly was directly involved both with the alleged discrimination and Plaintiff's termination, she is entitled to discovery as to the identity of each of the employees as requested. Each business was small and the number of employees at issue separates this case from many of those cited by Defendants. Accordingly, Defendants are hereby ordered to provide Plaintiff with supplemental responses to Interrogatory No. 4 within fifteen days of entry of this Order.

         In a related Request for Production, No. 10, Plaintiff sought from each Defendant, certain “personnel documents” for

A. All persons who, from January 1, 2014 through the present, occupied the same and/or similar position as the Plaintiff and/or performed the same and/or similar job duties as the Plaintiff:
B. All persons who, from January 1, 2014 through the present, were supervised (either directly and/or indirectly) by any person who participated in the decision to terminate the Plaintiff;
C. All persons who, from Jan 1, 2014 through the present, were supervised (either directly and/or indirectly) by the person(s) who make the final decision to terminate the Plaintiff;
D. All persons who from January 1, 2014 through the present, were disciplined and/or terminated for the same or similar reasons the Plaintiff was disciplined and/or terminated;
E. All persons who, from January 1, 2014 through the present, made a complaint (internal and/or external) of gender discrimination, age discrimination and/or retaliation)
F. All persons who, from Jan 1, 2014 through the present, were accused of engaging in misconduct of equal or greater seriousness than ...

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