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Court Denies Motion For Corporate Email, ESI as Premature For Failure to Comply With Meet & Confer Requirements

Posted on February 7th, 2018

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Follow our blog for regular updates recent casesKellgren v. Petco Animal Supplies, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-644L-KSC, (S.D. Cal. March 10, 2017) is a collective litigation in which plaintiffs Erik Kellgren (“Kellgren”) and others employed as Assistant Managers in Defendants’ stores claim to have been misclassified as “exempt” from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The central issues in the case relate to the type of work plaintiffs performed during their employment, and whether the amount of time worked was in excess of forty hours per week during the relevant time frame.

Various discovery motions were filed, including a Joint Motion re discovery issues, Plaintiffs’ motion to compel Defendants’ regional and corporate e-mail, and Plaintiffs’ motion to compel further responses to certain interrogatories and requests for production.

Included in the law and motion filings was a request by Plaintiffs for an in-person conference with the Court to discuss the diiscovery disputes. Defendants replied that the items listed in the Plaintiffs’ request were too general, that the Plaintiffs did not properly identify the relief sought, and that Petco (Defendant) was not even aware there was a dispute as to several of the items listed. In total, the parties filed over eighty pages of briefing, excluding exhibits, regarding their respective positions. The Court denied the request for an in-person discovery conference.

The Court then considered the subject matter of the Plaintiffs’ motion to compel. Plaintiffs’ requested emails at the regional and corporate level, and argued that Defendants failed to produce the emails. Defendants opposed Plaintiffs’ request for regional and corporate e-mails on the grounds that Plaintiffs did not identify the specific requests upon which they based the motion. The Court noted that Plaintiffs did not comply with the Chambers’ Rules regarding the manner required for briefing motions.  The Court further found that because Plaintiffs failed to abide by the Chambers’ Rules, unnecessary difficulty resulted in deciphering the precise nature of Plaintiffs’ objections to Defendants’ production. The Court ruled that on a going forward basis, any discovery motions that failed to meet the Chambers’ Rules briefing requirements would be subject to denial.

The Court ultimately decided that the Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel the collection, search and production of ESI at the regional and corporate level was premature. On the date the Motion was filed, the parties had not yet meaningfully met and conferred as to the disputed discovery requests on a request-by-request basis. Therefore, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Defendants to produce ESI at the regional and corporate-level was denied.

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