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Folger v. Medicalodges, Inc.

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

December 3, 2013

JACQUELINE FOLGER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MEDICALODGES, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

KAREN M. HUMPHREYS United States Magistrate Judge

This matter is before the court on defendants’ motion to compel (Doc. 35). For the reasons set forth below, the motion shall be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

Background

Plaintiff brings this action against her former employer, Medicalodges, Inc., and its president, Garen Cox, alleging employee misclassification and unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act[1] (“FLSA”) and the Kansas Wage Payment Act[2] (“KWPA”).

Plaintiff claims she was initially hired by defendants as an MDS Coordinator[3] at Medicalodges in Goddard, Kansas (a nursing care facility) as an hourly, non-exempt employee. She alleges that she was often required to work more than forty (40) hours per week but was only paid for forty (40) hours. She also maintains that defendants’ purported practice of “rounding down” employees’ work hours led to underpayment. After working for defendants for a period of time, plaintiff was reclassified as a salaried, exempt employee although she continued working in the same position. Plaintiff asserts that this classification was an intentional misclassification under the FLSA by defendants to avoid payment of overtime wages.

In addition to her “off-the-clock” and misclassification wage claims, plaintiff also brings state common law claims of unjust enrichment/quantum meruit and breach of contract. Plaintiff filed this case as a collective action under the FLSA and a class action under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 on behalf of all other similarly situated employees pending certification by the district court.

Defendants’ Motion to Compel (Doc. 35)

Defendants’ motion concerns plaintiff’s responses to defendants’ First Request for Production of Documents and First Set of Interrogatories. Plaintiff timely responded to defendants’ requests, but the parties disagreed on the sufficiency of those responses. As required by D. Kan. Rule 37.2, the parties exchanged correspondence and conferred regarding this dispute. Despite the efforts at resolution, plaintiff’s responses to defendants’ First Interrogatories Nos. 3, 11, 13, and 15 and Request for Production No. 15 remain at issue for a ruling by the court.[4] For ease of discussion, the requests are analyzed below in the categories referenced in the parties’ briefing.

I. PLAINTIFF’S PERSONAL INFORMATION

A highly-contested portion of the discovery sought by defendants includes plaintiff’s personal phone records and consumer information. To meet their burden to rebut plaintiff’s evidence of uncompensated work, defendants contend that they must be allowed to discover this personal information.[5] Plaintiff argues that the information lacks relevance, and the requested discovery is overbroad, creates undue burden and invades plaintiff’s privacy.

A. Phone Records: Interrogatory No. 13 and Request for Production No. 15.

Defendants’ Interrogatory No. 13 seeks identification of “each and every telephone number—whether residential, mobile, facsimile, or other—[plaintiff] utilized and/or maintained in [her] name during the time” that she was employed by defendants, as well as the corresponding service provider. Plaintiff objects to Interrogatory No. 13 as “seeking information that is neither relevant to the subject matter of this lawsuit nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

Similarly, defendants’ Request No. 15 seeks “records, invoices, bill, and/or documents reflecting telephone calls, and the times and durations of such calls, placed to or received on [plaintiff’s] residential telephone, cellular telephone, or any other telephone [plaintiff] utilized” during her employment. Plaintiff objects to the request by repeating the relevance objection and asserting that the request is “overly broad and unduly burdensome in scope, [and] harassing.”

Plaintiff objects to both requests on the basis of relevance. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) states that “[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party . . . . Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Relevance is broadly construed at the discovery stage[6] and discovery relevance is minimal relevance, [7] which means a ...


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