Plaintiff Motion to Compel Denied for Overbreadth when Manual Review of 278,000 Records Required
In Meredith v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, a debt collection service, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by making multiple phone calls to Plaintiff’s cell phone to collect on a debt, leaving multiple voicemail messages. The messages were pre-recorded; Plaintiff claimed that Defendant used equipment that called a list of telephone numbers found by skiptracing software. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant knew or should have known she did not consent to receiving the calls. Plaintiff sought to certify a class of people who had been called at least twice by Defendant on his or her cell phone and were left similar messages within four years prior to the date of the complaint, as long as those individuals did not consent to being called. She served discovery on Defendant and was not satisfied with its responses; she filed a Motion to Compel.
Among Plaintiff’s requests was a request for information about potential members of the putative class; she sought information about the calls, information about the software used to make the calls, and data regarding whether the call recipients ever notified Defendant that it had the wrong number. She offered to narrow the request to cell phone calls only and only calls to “wrong number” call recipients. She argued to the court that Defendant’s call to her was logged as “wrong#” and she believed that Defendant could query its database for all numbers tagged as such. Defendant argued that it had already produced all it had relevant to its calls to Plaintiff; however, it argued that it could not further search its database the way Plaintiff requested and said that instead, it would require a manual review, which would be unduly burdensome and prohibitively expensive, as it had more than 278,000 accounts to review.
The court found that Plaintiff’s request as originally drafted was overbroad. Despite Plaintiff’s offer to narrow the information sought, Defendant has advised that it “has no mechanism” to obtain the information Plaintiff seeks other than manual review. The court agreed that satisfying the request would be unduly burdensome and denied the Motion to Compel.