United States District Court, D. Maine
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON DISCOVERY
H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge
summary judgment practice and in advance of trial, the
plaintiff in this employment action seeks, over objection,
the defendant employer's financial information for
purposes of his punitive damages claim. Treating the
plaintiff's request as a motion to compel responses to
previously-served discovery requests, I grant the
plaintiff's request, with the modifications discussed
parties' dispute concerns the following six discovery
requests propounded by the plaintiff:
Interrogatory No. 28, seeking identification of the
defendant's gross and net revenues for 2010 to 2015.
Request for Production of Documents (“RFP”) No.
41, seeking all financial statements of the defendant from
2012 to the present.
No. 42, seeking documents, records, and information in any
form or format showing or tending to show the revenues and
liabilities of the defendant and the change in such revenues
and liabilities between January 1, 2012, and the present.
No. 43, seeking any record, evidence, appraisals, or
documents in any form or format assessing, appraising, or
purporting to assess, appraise, or estimate the fair market
value of the defendant's assets.
No. 44, seeking all documents, records, and evidence in any
form or format tending to indicate the amount of liquid
assets the defendant has on hand, or can reasonably access
either through borrowing or financing.
No. 45, seeking all records or documents continuing
projections or estimate of the defendant's projected
revenues for fiscal years 2015-2017.
a discovery teleconference that I held with the parties more
than a year ago, on July 7, 2015, they noted that they had
agreed to defer discovery on punitive damages until the
adjudication of any summary judgment motion. See ECF
No. 15 at 3. The defendant subsequently filed a motion for
partial summary judgment, see ECF No. 34, which
Judge Levy granted in part and denied in part by memorandum
decision and order dated May 31, 2016, see ECF No.
53. The parties then engaged in good-faith, but ultimately
futile, negotiations to resolve a dispute over the relevance
of the punitive damage-related discovery requests.
Judge Levy noted, see ECF No. 53 at 1-2, the
plaintiff, a heavy-equipment mechanic with 35 years'
experience and a history of artery disease, contends that the
defendant company, which provides crane and rigging services
and other trucking services, violated his rights pursuant to
the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the
Maine Human Rights Act (“MHRA”), and the Maine
Whistleblowers' Protection Act (“WPA”) when
it terminated his employment within two weeks after hiring
him as its shop mechanic in May 2013.
seeking the financial discovery here at issue, the plaintiff
contends that the requested information is discoverable
pursuant to rulings of this court and a majority of federal
courts, a proposition for which he cited St. Joseph Hosp.
v. INA Underwriters Ins. Co., 117 F.R.D. 24, 25-26 (D.
Me. 1987), and EEOC v. Braun Elec. Co., No.
1:12-cv-01592-LJO-JLT, 2014 WL 356998, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Jan.
24, 2014), as well as an unpublished order of this court,
Report of Hearing and Order re: Discovery Dispute (ECF No.
59), Centore v. Bentley's Saloon, LLC, No.
2:13-cv-324-DBH (“Centore Order”), at
3-4 (D. Me. Mar. 24, 2015).
defendant argues that the discovery requests are irrelevant
and harassing or, alternatively, overbroad given that
punitive damages are capped in this case as a matter of law
at $50, 000 because of the defendant's size. However, the
defendant acknowledges that it has not stipulated to punitive
damages in any particular amount should the jury find an
award of such damages appropriate. The plaintiff does not
dispute that the cap would apply; however, he notes that the
jury would not be made aware of it. He denies that any of the
discovery requests at issue was propounded to harass the
defendant or was irrelevant, although he expresses
willingness to modify the dates for which information was
requested given the passage of time since the requests were
the plaintiff's motion to compel responses to all six
discovery requests with the modifications that, as to
Interrogatory No. 28 and RFP Nos. 41-44, the discovery
requests shall pertain to the time period of January 1, 2014,
to the present, and, as to RFP No. 45, the request shall
pertain to 2017. The defendant shall serve its responses to
the relevant discovery requests pursuant to the
Confidentiality Order entered in this case (ECF No. 17) by no
later than December 6, 2016, with the proviso that it need
only produce the minimum number of documents that contain the
requested information: for example, if its financial