United States District Court, D. New Mexico
ORDER ON NMLA'S MOTION TO COMPEL
KHALSA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant New Mexico Legal Aid,
Inc.'s (“NMLA”) Motion to Compel Discovery
from Plaintiff (Doc. 122), filed August 26, 2019. Plaintiff
filed a response in opposition to the motion on September 19,
2019, (Doc. 136), and NMLA filed a reply in support of it on
October 3, 2019. (Doc. 149.) The Court, having reviewed the
pleadings, the record, and the relevant law, being otherwise
fully advised, and for the reasons stated below, FINDS that
the motion is well-taken in part and should be GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART.
motion, NMLA asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to respond,
or supplement her responses, to four written discovery
requests to which she objected on July 29, 2019. (Doc.
122-1.) The Court will address each of these requests in
Interrogatory No. 1
respect to this interrogatory, NMLA asks the Court to compel
Plaintiff to provide “the name and contact information
for any adult who has lived with Plaintiff . . . during the
past ten years.” (Doc. 122 at 3 (emphasis omitted).)
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33, parties may
serve interrogatories “relat[ing] to any matter that
may be inquired into under Rule 26(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P.
33(a)(2). Rule 26(b), in turn, permits parties to
“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). “Information within this scope of discovery
need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
the Court should consider in determining whether discovery is
“proportional to the needs of the case” include:
the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the
amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to
relevant information, the parties' resources, the
importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit.
Id. “The court's responsibility, using all
the information provided by the parties, is to consider these
. . . factors in reaching a case-specific determination of
the appropriate scope of discovery.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1), 2015 Amendment, Advisory Committee Notes.
adults who have lived with Plaintiff within the last ten (10)
years may have knowledge relevant to Plaintiff's claims
of harassment by her supervisors while employed at NMLA,
emotional distress, other damages, and mitigation efforts.
(Doc. 7 at 19-20, 31.) NMLA is therefore entitled to
information that would allow it to interview or, if
necessary, subpoena any such persons to testify at trial.
Moreover, NMLA's request for these potential
witnesses' names and contact information is not onerous
and is appropriate and proportional to the needs of the case
in light of the factors listed in Rule 26(b)(1). The Court
will therefore grant NMLA's motion to compel Plaintiff to
provide the requested information.
Interrogatory No. 22
interrogatory, NMLA asked Plaintiff to identify by make,
model year, and serial number all computers she has used from
January 1, 2014 to the present. (Doc. 122 at 3.) Plaintiff
objected to providing the requested information on the bases
of relevance and invasion of privacy. (Id. at 4.) In
its motion, NMLA argues that the requested information is
relevant to “Plaintiff's repeated claims of
computer problems” and her allegations that NMLA and
its counsel have hacked into her computer. (Id.)
Plaintiff responds that “[p]roviding NMLA with the any
[sic] information regarding her computer compromises the
security of her computer.” (Doc. 136 at 7.)
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff makes allegations concerning her
computer problems to support her claims against the Union.
(Doc. 7 at 23-24.) Thus, information about the computer or
computers she was using at that time are relevant to her
claims as she has stated them. In addition, the information
NMLA has requested is proportional to the needs of the case
in light of the factors listed in Rule 26(b)(1). The burden
on Plaintiff to provide the requested information is minimal,
notwithstanding Plaintiff's argument to the contrary. The
allegations Plaintiff has made during discovery to the effect
that NMLA has hacked into her computer are unsupported and
unconvincing. Thus, the Court finds Plaintiff's
objections to providing the requested information to be
without merit. In short, the Court will order Plaintiff to
provide NMLA with the make, model year, and serial number of
all computers she has used from January 1, 2014 to December
31, 2017, a time frame which amply encompasses the pertinent
events alleged in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.
Court will not, however, order Plaintiff to provide
information regarding the computer or computers she has used
during the pendency of this litigation, though she has, as
NMLA observes, accused counsel of hacking into her computer
and has repeatedly relied on computer problems to request
extensions. Satellite litigation about Plaintiff's
conduct and accusations during discovery is not an
appropriate or productive use of the parties' and the
Court's time, nor is discovery in support of such
litigation proportional to the needs of the case in light of
the factors listed in Rule 26(b)(1).