Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Garrett Day, LLC v. International Paper Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

December 12, 2019

GARRETT DAY, LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

         DECISION AND ENTRY SUSTAINING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO SERVE IN EXCESS OF FORTY REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION INSTANTER (DOC. #263); SUSTAINING DEFENDANTS' REQUEST TO REOPEN DEPOSITIONS OF PLAINTIFFS' EXPERT WITNESSES THOMAS SHALALA AND RICHARD ST. JOHN

          WALTER H. RICE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is currently before the Court on two discovery-related matters: (1) Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Serve in Excess of Forty Requests for Admission, Doc. #263; and (2) Defendants' request to re-depose Plaintiffs' expert witnesses, Thomas Shalala and Richard St. John.

         I. Background and Procedural History

         On March 25, 2019, the Court issued a Decision and Entry on numerous motions for summary judgment. Doc. #260. Therein, the Court noted that it had previously reserved ruling on Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Obtain in Excess of Forty Requests for Admission, Doc. #250, pending resolution of the motions for summary judgment. Believing that the Decision and Entry may have eliminated the need for many of the requests for admission ("RFAs"), the Court overruled Plaintiffs' motion without prejudice, directed Plaintiffs to reevaluate the requests in light of the Court's decision, and to serve amended requests for admission on Defendants by April 15, 2019. The Court stated that "[i]f Plaintiffs continue to believe that more than 40 requests for admission are necessary, they may file an appropriate motion."

         On April 15, 2019, Plaintiffs did just that, filing a Motion for Leave to Serve in Excess of Forty Requests for Admission Instanter, Doc. #263. Due to ongoing settlement discussions with the HPP Defendants and the Neenah/Fox Defendants, only Defendant International Paper Company ("IPC") filed a response. Plaintiffs' motion is now fully briefed. See Docs. ##273, 276.

         On April 23, 2019, the parties filed an Amended Rule 26(f) Report, Doc. #264, but were unable to agree on recommended deadlines. Counsel further noted that there was a disagreement concerning whether additional depositions of Plaintiffs' expert witnesses, Ronald St. John and Thomas Shalala, could be taken given that the expert discovery deadline was November 2, 2018. On April 26, 2019, Plaintiffs filed Objections to Reopening Expert Discovery, Doc. #271.

         The Court held a conference call on April 30, 2019, and directed counsel to file summaries of their positions on the question of re-deposing Plaintiffs' experts. Doc. #272. Those were filed at Docs. ##274 and 277.

         II. Plaintiffs' Request for Leave to Serve in Excess of Forty Requests for Admission (Doc. #263)

         On April 15, 2019, Plaintiffs moved for leave to serve additional requests for admission ("RFAs") on each set of Defendants, including 15 additional requests to Defendant IPC. Doc. #263. As noted above, given possible settlement agreements with the HPP Defendants and Neenah/Fox Defendants, only Defendant IPC has filed a memorandum in opposition.[1] Plaintiffs want to serve fifteen (15) additional RFAs on IPC, and re-serve RFA 8. IPC objects to Plaintiffs' request. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' motion is sustained in part and overruled in part.

         Local rules provide that "[u]nless there has been agreement of the responding party or leave of Court has first been obtained, no party shall serve more than forty requests for admission (including all subparts) upon any other party." S.D. Ohio Civ. R. 36.1. IPC notes that Plaintiffs failed to comply with this rule when they originally propounded 81 RFAs to IPC. Plaintiffs also failed to comply with S.D. Ohio Civ. R. 37.1 (requiring counsel to confer with opposing counsel prior to filing a discovery motion) when they filed their first Motion for Leave to Obtain in Excess of Forty RFAs, Doc. #250. The Court, in the interest of justice, will overlook these earlier technical rule violations in order to reach the merits of the discovery motion.

         IPC also objects to Plaintiffs' motion on substantive grounds, arguing that Plaintiffs offer no legitimate justification for exceeding the 40-RFA limit. The Court disagrees. In their motion, Plaintiffs note that because IPC's predecessors owned the paper mill so long ago, it is difficult to elicit information from fact witnesses. Because almost all expert discovery has been completed, additional RFAs can now narrow the issues for expert summary judgment motions and for trial. Plaintiffs have adequately explained the need for the additional RFAs, and have already narrowed the scope of their requests as the Court asked them to do. The Court therefore SUSTAINS Plaintiffs' motion to the extent that it requests leave to serve 15 additional RFAs on IPC, Doc. #263. IPC shall respond to those additional RFAs within 30 days of the date of this Decision and Entry.

         In the same motion, Plaintiffs also seek leave to re-serve a request related to the authentication of certain documents, RFA 8. They maintain that IPC failed to fully respond to the previous request. IPC's answer was as follows:

REQUEST FOR ADMISSION 8: Attached hereto as Exhibit A is a list of documents identified by Bates Number and/or title and related ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.