Antitrust Case Faces Discovery Issues Regarding New FRCP Amendments
Kissing Camels Surgery Center, LLC et. al. v. Centura Health Corporation, et. al., Case No. 12-03012 (D. Colo., Jan. 22, 2016) may be one of the first cases this year facing discovery issues surrounding the FRCP Amendments. The case is a complex antitrust action brought by various ambulatory surgery centers against Defendants with regard to their competition in the field and alleged attempts to remove it. During the case, Defendants submitted requests for production that Plaintiff argued were duplicative. Plaintiff had already produced an entire terabyte of electronically stored information (ESI) and refused to comply with Defendants’ demand that Plaintiff go through the ESI already produced and identify which documents were responsive to Defendants’ requests.
The court looked at the Year End Report on the Federal Judiciary’s discussion of the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court noted that the Report highlighted the need for counsel and courts to work together for efficient dispute resolution. With that in mind, the court looked at FRCP 26(b)(1), as amended, which requires courts to consider the importance of the issues in the case, the amount in controversy, the parties’ access to information and their resources, the importance of discovery in resolving the issues and whether the proposed discovery’s burden/expense outweighs the likely benefit.
The court found that many of Defendants’ requests were improper, because they were not tailored to the issues of the case; however, the court also found that Plaintiffs’ objections were boilerplate, and the new FRCP 34 requires specificity in objections to discovery requests and also requires the objecting party to state whether responsive materials are being withheld because of the objection, which Plaintiffs did not do. Plaintiffs did, however, produce searchable ESI in a usable form. The court ordered that Defendants had to narrow their requests to 10 specific categories of documents, and Plaintiffs were to search for and identify by Bates number any documents already produced responsive within those 10 categories of documents.