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Jenkins v. Hyundai Motor Finance Co.

November 22, 2006

VICKI D. JENKINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HYUNDAI MOTOR FINANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.

Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King

OPINION AND ORDER

Vicki D. Jenkins ("plaintiff") brings this action on behalf of herself and a class of plaintiffs challenging the alleged efforts of defendant Hyundai Motor Finance Company's ("defendant") to enforce a retail sales agreement following her default under that agreement. Plaintiff asserts claims under Ohio's Retail Installment Sales Act, O.R.C. §1317.01 et seq., and common law claims of unjust enrichment, conversion, breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. Discovery at this point is limited to that necessary to class certification and the merits of plaintiff's individual claims. See Doc. No. 25.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Hyundai Motor Finance Company's Amended Motion to Compel Discovery Responses ("Defendant's Motion to Compel"), Doc. No. 46, and on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel, Doc. No. 47. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Compel is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part and Plaintiff's Motion to Compel is DENIED.

I. STANDARD

The parties filed their motions under Rule 37 of the of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which authorizes a motion to compel if another party fails to respond to discovery requests, provided that the motion to compel includes a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party failing to respond to the requests. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. The Court is satisfied that the prerequisites to a motion to compel have been met in this case.

Determining the proper scope of discovery falls within the broad discretion of the trial court. Lewis v. ACB Business Services, Inc., 135 F.3d 389, 402 (6th Cir. 1998). Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for discovery of documents in the "possession, custody or control" of a party, so long as the documents "constitute or contain matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)." Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a). In addition,"[t]he function of interrogatories under Fed. R. Civ. P. 33 is broadly the same as any other discovery method." Babcock Swine, Inc. V. Shelbco, Inc., 126 F.R.D. 43, 45 (S.D. Ohio 1989) (citing Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 2163).

In turn, Rule 26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). "The scope of examination permitted under Rule 26(b) is broader than that permitted at trial. The test is whether the line of interrogation is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Mellon v. Cooper-Jarrett, Inc., 424 F.2d 499, 500-01 (6th Cir. 1970).

II. ANALYSIS

A. Defendant's Motion to Compel

Defendant has served requests for production of documents and interrogatories upon plaintiff, requesting information related to plaintiff's medical and income history.

1. Plaintiff's Medical History

Defendant contends that it is entitled to discover information about plaintiff's medical background because it is relevant to plaintiff's ability to serve as a class representative, to her disability insurance claim and to her emotional distress claim. This Court agrees in part and disagrees in part.

The Court is not persuaded that plaintiff's medical history is relevant to her ability to serve as ...


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