Eastern District of Pennsylvania Denies Discovery Sanctions Motion Against QVC

15 Aug 2016

In Saller v. QVC, Inc., Case No. 15-2279 (E.D. Pa., July 29, 2016), Plaintiff sued her former employee, alleging that Defendant  discriminated against her by unlawfully terminating her following a medical-related leave of absence and after she requested reasonable accommodation due to medical issues.

In August 2014, five months after Plaintiff’s termination, her counsel sent a litigation hold letter to Defendant directing Defendant to preserve ESI in anticipation of Plaintiff’s lawsuit. Plaintiff filed suit eight months later, alleging interference with FMLA rights, discrimination and retaliation under the FMLA, and discrimination under the ADA. During discovery, Plaintiff requested the personnel files of her supervisors; documents relating to the performance of other employees of her position; and documentation regarding cancellation of an employee program of which Plaintiff was a member.

Defendant served objections and responses, which Plaintiff found deficient. She filed a Motion to Compel, which was resolved by stipulation. Defendant supplemented its response and produced several hundred documents. Plaintiff then served another request asking for performance reviews of her supervisors and any documents related to or that referred to such reviews. Defendant objected, although it agreed to produce the reviews themselves. Plaintiff filed a discovery sanctions motion, arguing that Defendant’s failure to produce was in violation of the agreed discovery order, and a motion to compel certain responses.

The court denied Plaintiff’s discovery sanctions motion. The court disagreed with Plaintiff that Defendant’s failure to preserve information from 2012 and 2013, years prior to the litigation hold letter, amounted to a sanctionable event. The court also disagreed that Defendant’s failure to find certain documents based on search terms provided by Plaintiff was sanctionable. With respect to Plaintiff’s motion to compel, the court granted it in part, ordering that she narrow her request.

ILS – Plaintiff ESI Discovery Experts