Meet And Confer Impasse Reached With “OK. File Motion to Compel” Response
- ILS Team
In White v. Relay Res. & Gen. Servs. Admin., No. C19-0284-JCC (W.D. Wash. Feb. 14, 2020), a Washington judge granted Defendant’s motion to compel after finding that Plaintiff’s conduct and responses did not reflect a good faith effort to comply with discovery rules. Accordingly, the Court ordered Plaintiff to provide the information requested in each interrogatory along with initial disclosures and that failure to provide such information may result in sanctions under Rule 37.
In this employment discrimination case, Defendant served 31 requests for production and 13 interrogatories on Plaintiff in November 2019. Three months later, Plaintiff responded to such requests on various grounds and failed to indicate whether she was withholding responsive documents. Raising broad objections, Plaintiff did not provide any of the requested information or initial disclosures and indicated that she would later provide the requested information if she deemed it “relevant.”
Two days after receiving the responses, Defendant attempted to meet and confer with Plaintiff in order to express concern with the sufficiency of Plaintiff’s responses and offering an extension to supplement her responses. Plaintiff refused to meet in person or via a teleconference and would only conference via email. As such, Defendant emailed Plaintiff specific examples of insufficient responses by Plaintiff. Instead of supplementing her responses, Plaintiff responded, “OK. File Motion to Compel.” Defendant did just that.
In ruling on the Motion, the Court held that Defendant met the meet and confer requirement by making multiple attempts to resolve its discovery dispute before reaching a genuine impasse on December 30, 2019, when Plaintiff bluntly told Defendant to “File Motion to Compel.”
With regard to the discovery requests, the Court held that Defendant’s requests “appear to be relevant and proportional to the case and that Plaintiff’s perfunctory objections do not reflect a good faith effort to comply with discovery rules.” As such, the Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to provide sufficient discovery responses and stated that failure to make reasonable efforts may result in sanctions under Rule 37, including dismissal of the matter.