United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Rachel Lieber, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN CHIEF JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion to
Compel Defendant's Responses to Plaintiff's Discovery
Requests and to Extend the Non-Expert Discovery Deadline
(“Plaintiff's first motion”) (Doc. 25) and
Plaintiff's Second Motion to Compel Defendant's
Responses to Plaintiff's Discovery Requests and to
Redepose Defendant's Corporate Representative
(“Plaintiff's second motion”) (Doc. 36). For
the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's first motion is
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, and Plaintiff's
second motion is DENIED.
Rachel Lieber, brought this putative class action against
Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., pursuant to the Real Estate
Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C.
§ 2601 et seq. Defendant is the current
servicer of Plaintiff's and the putative class
members' notes and mortgages on real property that secure
those notes. (Am. Compl. ¶ 17). Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant violated RESPA and the regulation promulgated by
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding the
interpretation of RESPA, known as Regulation X, when
Defendant failed to respond to Plaintiff's and the class
members' “qualified written requests”
(“QWRs”), as defined by 12 U.S.C. §
2605(e)(1)(B). Plaintiff's and the putative class
members' QWRs were in the form of Requests for
Information (“RFIs”) and Notices of Error
(“NOEs”). 12 C.F.R. § 1024.35(a),
1024.36(a). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
inappropriately relied on a blanket “active
litigation” exception to its obligation to respond to
Plaintiff's and the class's QWRs, when RESPA and
Regulation X do not permit such an exception.
establish her RESPA claim, Plaintiff will have to prove that
the loans at issue were “federally related mortgage
loans, ” that the QWR was in writing and contained
sufficient information to enable the servicer to identify the
name of the borrower and the account number, and that the QWR
involved an inquiry related to the “servicing” of
a loan. 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e)(1). The
“servicing” of a loan is defined as
“receiving any scheduled periodic payments from a
borrower pursuant to the terms of any loan, including amounts
for escrow accounts.” 12 U.S.C. § 2605(i)(3).
the period of non-expert discovery as to class certification,
parties had several disagreements as to the sufficiency of
Defendant's responses to Plaintiff's discovery
requests. The parties attempted to resolve their disputes
without court intervention, but a number of disputes remain.
Now pending before the Court are Plaintiff's two motions
to compel, which Defendant opposes.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) sets forth the permissible
scope of discovery:
Parties 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, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “[T]he scope of discovery
under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is traditionally
quite broad.” Lewis v. ACB Bus. Serv., Inc.,
135 F.3d 389, 402 (6th Cir. 1998). After making a
good faith attempt to resolve a dispute, a party may file a
motion to compel discovery under Rule 37 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure if it believes another party has failed to
respond to discovery requests or that the party's
responses are evasive or incomplete. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a). In
ruling on such a motion, a trial court has broad discretion
in determining the scope of discovery. Lewis, 135
F.3d at 402.
Document Requests 12-15
first argues that Defendant's responses to her Document
Requests 12-15 were inadequate. In these requests, Plaintiff
12. All Information Requests sent to Defendant by any
Borrower to which Defendant provided, on or after November
15, 2013, ...