United States District Court, D. Maine
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON DISCOVERY
H. RICH III, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
request of defendant Roger Beaupre, I held a teleconference
in this section 1983 civil rights action on January 29, 2019,
to resolve disputes over the adequacy of plaintiff Lawrence
Roland Ouellette's responses to Defendant Beaupre's
contention interrogatories and related document requests.
See ECF No. 116 at ; ECF No. 123. I determined
that I required further information and ordered simultaneous
letter-briefs to be filed on the docket by the parties by
February 8, 2019, with simultaneous letter-brief responses to
be filed by February 14, 2019. ECF No. 123. The City of
Biddeford, noting that it had served virtually identical
discovery requests on the plaintiff and received essentially
identical responses, joined in Defendant Beaupre's letter
brief. See ECF No. 125.
reasons that follow, treating Defendant Beaupre's request
as a motion to compel, I grant the motion in part, to the
extent that I direct the plaintiff to supplement his answer
to both defendants' Interrogatory No. 3 no later than
April 15, 2019, and otherwise deny it.
section 1983 civil rights action has been ongoing for more
than three years. The parties have conducted extensive
discovery practice, including taking more than 75 depositions
in this action and related cases. See
Plaintiff's Letter Brief dated Feb. 8, 2019
(“Ptf's Letter Br.”) (ECF No. 124) at 1. More
than a year ago, Defendant Beaupre served the plaintiff with
contention interrogatories. See Defendant
Beaupre's Letter Brief dated Feb. 7, 2019
(“Def's Letter Br.”) (ECF No. 122) at 2. The
plaintiff argued that it was too early in the discovery
process to respond and requested an extension, which
Defendant Beaupre provided. See Id. The plaintiff
eventually served responses to the contention interrogatories
in December 2018 and to related contention-styled document
requests in November 2018. See Plaintiff's
Responses to Defendant Roger Beaupre's First Set of
Interrogatories (“Ptf's Interrog. Resp.”)
(ECF No. 122-1), attached to Def's Letter Br., at 15;
Plaintiff's Responses to Defendant Roger Beaupre's
First Request for Production of Documents (“Ptf's
RFP Resp.”) (ECF No. 122-2), attached to Def's
Letter Br., at 9.
Beaupre takes issue with the plaintiff's answers to 26 of
his 29 interrogatories, all but those numbered 1, 2, and 20,
see Interrogatories (“Interrog. Chart”)
(ECF No. 122-3), attached to Def's Letter Br, and the
plaintiff's responses to 26 of his 31 requests for
production of documents, all but those numbered 1 through 5,
see Requests for Production of Documents (“RFP
Chart”) (ECF No. 122-3), attached to Def's Letter
plaintiff responded to the interrogatories at issue by (i)
writing several narrative accounts of the evidence,
see Ptf's Interrog. Resp. Nos. 3-4, 13, 16, 19,
(ii) providing caveats that his answers did not contain all
of the requested information, which I construe as objections
as to scope and proportionality, see id. Nos. 4-5,
and (iii) referencing other answers, see id. Nos.
3-12, 15, 17-18, 21-29.
plaintiff served similar responses to the requests for
production of documents at issue, (i) directing Defendant
Beaupre to relevant sources (typically deposition
transcripts), see Ptf's RFP Resp. Nos. 6-8,
17-20, (ii) including caveats like those found in his
interrogatory responses and making blanket references to
discovery materials “already in [the] possession of
Defendant, ” which I construe as objections as to scope
and proportionality, id. Nos. 7-8, and (iii)
referencing other responses, usually his responses to RFP
Nos. 7 and 8, see id. Nos. 8-16, 21-31.
Beaupre now argues that the plaintiff's responses to his
contention interrogatories and document requests are
deficient. See generally Def's Letter Br.;
Defendant Beaupre's Letter Response dated Feb. 12, 2019
(“Def's Letter Resp.”) (ECF No. 126). Some,
according to Defendant Beaupre, are “[i]nadequately
answered”; others contain an “overbroad
loophole”; still others allegedly suffer both problems.
See Interrog. Chart; RFP Chart. To illustrate,
Defendant Beaupre methodically analyzes the plaintiff's
answers to Interrog. Nos. 3 and 4 and responses to RFP Nos. 7
and 8, all of which he deems inadequate. See
Def's Letter Br. at 3-7. He also objects to the
plaintiff's caveats regarding completeness, arguing that
answers and responses containing such a
“loophole” are not “helpful or
adequate[.]” Id. at 3, 7. Finally, he argues
that the plaintiff's references to other responses merely
incorporate the inadequacies of those underlying responses.
See Id. at 4, 7.
plaintiff rejoins that, because discovery in this case
comprises a set universe of documents and depositions known
to both sides, his responses are adequate, and requiring
further explication would be “unfair, unreasonable, and
plainly disproportionate.” Plaintiff's Letter
Response dated Feb. 14, 2019 (“Ptf's Letter
Resp.”) (ECF No. 127) at 1. The plaintiff relies on the
principles of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, my ruling
in Gemini Ins. Co. v. Branch River Plastics, Inc.,
No. 2:15-cv-343-NT, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75675 (D. Me. Jun.
9, 2016), and caselaw from other jurisdictions in arguing
that Defendant Beaupre's motion should be denied. See
generally Ptf's Letter Br.
26(b)(1) outlines the general scope of discovery:
“[p]arties 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). As outlined below, I
find that most of Defendant Beaupre's interrogatories and
document requests are overbroad, not proportional to the
needs of this case, and otherwise answered adequately.
Interrog. No. 3, however, I grant Defendant Beaupre's
motion. The plaintiff's narrative is unclear on the issue
of what admissions he believes Defendant Beaupre has made.
The plaintiff states that Defendant Beaupre has
“testified about those events, in whole or in part[,
]” but does not clarify which events he believes
Defendant Beaupre to have testified about. The plaintiff
could be referencing the testimony of Robert Devou or Robert
Poisson or any other portion of his narrative responding to
Interrog. No. 4, which he incorporates by reference to his
answers to Interrog. Nos. 5 and 6 (which, in turn,
incorporate by reference his answer to Interrog. No. 4).
Consequently, I direct the plaintiff to supplement his answer
to Interrog. No. 3 no later than April 15, 2019.
the remaining interrogatories in dispute and all of the
disputed requests for production, I sustain the
plaintiff's objections and, ...