United States District Court, D. Nevada
AYNALEM G. WORKNEH, Plaintiff,
STARBUCKS CORPORATION, Defendant.
ORDER MOTION TO COMPEL [ECFNO. 14] COUNTER MOTION FOR
A PROTECTIVE ORDER [ECF NO. 19]
FERENBACH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is plaintiff Aynalem G. Workneh's motion to
compel. (ECF No. 14). Also before the court defendant
Starbuck Corporation's motion for a protective order.
(ECF No. 19). Plaintiff's motion and defendant's
motion are both granted in part and denied in part.
alleges that defendant failed to maintain a wobbly table at a
Starbucks coffee shop located at 4507 W. Flamingo Rd in Las
Vegas which caused hot tea to spill and burn her thigh. (ECF
No. 1-1 at 3). On January 16, 2019, plaintiff filed a
complaint against Starbucks alleging negligence, strict
products liability, and negligence (premises liability).
(Id. at 4-9). This Court entered a scheduling order
on April 26, 2019. (ECF No. 7). This Court also entered a
stipulated protective order on May 20, 2019. (ECF No. 13).
Plaintiff argues in the motion to compel that defendant
failed to respond to interrogatory 21 and requests for
production 1 and 7. (ECF No. 14 at 1). In interrogatory 21,
the plaintiff seeks the location and date, each time between
September 9, 2015 and September 9, 2018, a drink spilled at
Starbucks within Clark County, Nevada due to a wobbly table.
(ECF No. 14-5 at 13). The defendant objected that the request
was overly broad, unduly burdensome, and irrelevant.
(Id. at 14).
request for production 1, plaintiff seeks all written
documentation for five years prior to plaintiff's spill
that reflect incidents where a customer suffered from burns
due to spilling a hot beverage. (ECF No. 14-4 at 2-3). In
request for production 7 plaintiff asks for all
correspondence that put Starbucks on notice of possible
personal-injury claims regarding a burn incident within the
past five years. (Id. at 5). Defendant responded to
both requests for production as overbroad, unduly burdensome,
and irrelevant. (Id. at 3 and 5). Plaintiff argues
that discovery concerning other incidents are calculated to
lead to the uncovering of similar incidents that occurred in
substantially similar circumstances, which would show that
defendant had notice. (ECF No. 14 at 5). Defendant states
that the discovery is unduly burdensome because there are
over 120 Starbucks stores in Nevada and 80 stores in Clark
County. (ECF No. 17 at 15). Without waiving its objections,
Starbucks both responded to the interrogatory, and disclosed
documents, related to the subject store only. (ECF Nos. 14-5
at 3 and 14-4 at 3 and 5).
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). “[T]he scope of permissible discovery under
Rule 26 is ‘broad.'” Republic of Ecuador
v. Mackay, 742 F.3d 860, 866 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Shoen v. Shoen, 5 F.3d 1289, 1292 (9th Cir.1993)).
“Information within this scope of discovery need not be
admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “A party or any person from whom
discovery is sought may move for a protective order in the
court” on the grounds of “annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.”
limits interrogatory 21 to incidents that involved a spilled
hot drink due to a wobbly table to three years prior to the
incident and to all Starbucks located in Clark County. The
Court finds that these limitations are calculated to obtain
information that is proportional to the needs of the case
because the request is limited in time and scope and to
instances like the event that plaintiff describes in her
complaint. Though this information may not ultimately be
admissible at trial, it is discoverable.
places different limits on her requests for production. In
request 1, she seeks reports and related documents for the
five years prior to plaintiff's spill. In request 7, she
seek correspondence and similar documentation that placed
defendant on notice of claims related to burn incidents in
the past five years from the date of the request. Both
requests seek documentation regarding burn incidents from all
Starbucks stores. The Court agrees with the defendant that
requests for all documents from all Starbucks stores would be
unduly burdensome in this instance.
states in her motion that during the meet and confer, she
agreed to limit requests 1 and 7 to all Starbucks in Nevada.
(ECF No. 14 at 6). Plaintiff does not provide a persuasive
reason for why she needs documents for the past five years or
for five years prior to the incident from every Starbucks in
Nevada. Plaintiff also does not adequately explain why she
placed different limitations in her interrogatory regarding
the wobbly table (i.e. three years and stores within Clark
regarding prior burn incidents are discoverable because it
could show that defendant was on notice that the temperature
of hot water used at Starbucks is too hot, even if these
documents may ultimately not be admissible. The defendants
must produce the documents described in requests for
production 1 and 7 with the following limitations: 1) the
documents described will be limited to incidents that arose
in Clark County and, 2) the documentation will be limited to
the dates September 9, 2015 through September 9, 2018.
and for good cause shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
plaintiff's motion to compel (ECF No. 14) is GRANTED IN
PART AND DENIED IN PART.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant's motion for a protective
order (ECF NO. 19) is ...