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Johnson v. INTU Corp.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 5, 2019

KRYSTAL JOHNSON, et al., Plaintiffs,

          ORDER (DOCKET NO. 66)


         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs Krystal Johnson and Elizabeth Spangler's motion to compel answers to interrogatories. Docket No. 66. The Court has considered Plaintiffs' motion and Defendant's response. Docket Nos. 66, 71. No. reply was filed. See Docket. The motion is properly resolved without a hearing. See Local Rule 78-1. For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is a class-action case that arises from casino-floor massage services in the Bellagio's poker room. Docket No. 9 at 4-5. Plaintiffs performed those services pursuant to agreements with Defendant, which had a contract to provide the services. Docket No. 66 at 2. Plaintiffs allege that-after Defendant lost the contract-Defendant interfered with Plaintiffs' efforts to work for the company that took over the contract. Id. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendant failed to pay them owed overtime wages, that Defendant fired them for bringing this case, and that Defendant misclassified them as independent contractors. Id.; see also Docket No. 9 at 15-23.

         On May 3, 2019, Plaintiffs propounded interrogatories on Defendant. Docket No. 66 at 3. After a conference between Plaintiffs' and Defendant's counsel, the parties' disputes about the interrogatories were narrowed to three. See Id. at 3-7. Plaintiffs then filed the pending motion to compel. Docket No. 66.

         II. ANALYSIS

         The trial court has broad discretion to permit or deny discovery. Hallet v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002). The scope of discovery is limited to nonprivileged matter that is relevant to a party's claim or defense and is proportional to the needs of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The party seeking to avoid discovery bears the burden of showing why the discovery should not be allowed. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975). The party that resists discovery must detail-through “specific examples and articulated reasoning”-why each discovery request is objectionable, and may not rely on boilerplate, generalized, conclusory, or speculative arguments. See U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Caesars Ent., 237 F.R.D. 428, 432 (D. Nev. 2006); see also F.T.C. v. AMG Servs., Inc., 291 F.R.D. 544, 553 (D. Nev. 2013).

         Plaintiffs move to compel responses to three interrogatories: Nos. 3, 4, and 10. Docket No. 66 at 3-7. “An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(2). Interrogatories are intended “to enable a party to prepare for trial, to narrow the issues and thus help determine what evidence will be needed at the trial, and to reduce the possibility of surprise at the trial.” 8B Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2162 (3d ed.). “Toward [those ends], Rule 26(b) is liberally interpreted to permit wide-ranging discovery of information even [if] the information may not be admissible at the trial.” Moon v. SCP Pool Corp., 232 F.R.D. 633, 635 (C.D. Cal. 2005). The Court analyzes the three disputed interrogatories in turn.

         A. No. 3

Provide the date on which [Defendant] first learned it would not be contracted to perform massage services at the Bellagio after December 7, 2018 and identify how [Defendant] first became aware of this information, including identifying any person(s) who transmitted such information to [Defendant] and identifying the means through which such information was transmitted.

         Docket. No. 66 at 4. Defendant objected to this interrogatory and submitted that it (1) is vague, ambiguous, and overbroad; (2) is argumentative and assumes facts not in the record; (3) is irrelevant; (4) is disproportional to the needs of the case; (5) is unduly burdensome or costly; and (6) is confidential and proprietary. Id. However, the only basis on which Defendant submits an argument in its response to the motion to compel is that the interrogatory requests irrelevant information. Docket No. 71 at 3-4. The Court therefore analyzes only that basis.

         Defendant submits that this interrogatory requests irrelevant information because, for a claim of intentional interference with contractual relations, Plaintiffs must establish only: “(1) the existence of ‘a valid and existing contract; (2) the defendant's knowledge of the contract; (3) intentional acts intended or designed to disrupt the contractual relationship; (4) actual disruption of the contract; and (5) resulting damage.'” Id. at 3 (citing J.J. Indus., LLC v. Bennett, 71 P.3d 1264, 1267 (Nev. 2003)). Defendant submits that “the only act alleged by Plaintiffs that allegedly interfered with their contracts” occurred after Defendant's contract expired with the Bellagio. Docket No. 71 at 3. Plaintiffs submit, however, that the information the interrogatory requests is relevant because if Defendant “knew well in advance of the end of the Bellagio contract that it would not be renewed, . . . [it] would support an intentional interference claim.” Docket No. 66 at 5.

         The Court disagrees with Plaintiffs. When Defendant learned of this information is irrelevant because the alleged interference happened after Defendant lost the contract and Plaintiffs do not allege that they had contracts with the company that took over the contract before Defendant lost the contract. In other words, when Defendant knew that the contract would not be renewed is irrelevant because it does not bear on any element of a claim of intentional ...

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