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Kear v. Kohl's Department Stores, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

May 29, 2014

TIFFANY KEAR, Plaintiff,
v.
KOHL'S DEPARTMENT STORES, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

KENNETH G. GALE, Magistrate Judge.

This case is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion requesting an Order compelling Defendant to produce certain documents and respond to interrogatories. (Doc. 149.) After reviewing the submissions of the parties, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Plaintiff's motion as more fully set forth below.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Tiffany Kear was employed by Defendant Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. as an Assistant Store Manager from December 27, 2004, until September 10, 2010, when Plaintiff claims she was constructively discharged. In this action, Plaintiff claims damages for lost wages as well as "mental anguish" and "emotional distress" suffered during her employment with Kohl's. Plaintiff alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the form of gender discrimination, gender stereotyping, pregnancy discrimination, and hostile environment created by sexual harassment. Plaintiff also claims discrimination under Kansas state law, K.S.A. ยง44-1001.

There have been numerous discovery issues in the present case. The Court's most recent discovery Order (Doc. 127) addressed certain issues that are raised again in the present motion (Doc. 149), which challenges Defendant's objections Defendant raised in response to Plaintiff's Requests for Production Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, and 21, and Interrogatories Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 from Plaintiff's third set of discovery requests. Based on representations contained in Defendant's response, the issues relating to Requests Nos. 5, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 19 appear to have been resolved after Plaintiff's motion was filed.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Compel.

A. Standards on Motions to Compel.

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." As such, the requested information must be both nonprivileged and relevant to be discoverable.

B. Specific Requests at Issue.

1. Requests Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, and Interrogatory No. 4.

Request No. 1 seeks applications and other documents for individuals who "expressed interest in obtaining a Store Manager position with Kohl's, nationwide" while Request No. 2 seeks such information regarding individuals who "applied for one or more" such positions (Request No. 2) from January 1, 2008 to the present. (Doc. 150-4, at 3, 4.) Request No. 3 seeks email correspondence between decision-makers "comparing, evaluating, and selecting" store managers, nationwide, during this time frame. ( Id., at 6.) Request No. 4 seeks "all employment related documents (excluding medical and other statutorily confidential information" for individuals who became store managers, nationwide, during this time frame. ( Id., at 6-7.) Interrogatory No. 4 seeks the identity and certain information regarding the individuals filling each of Defendant's store manager positions, nationwide, from 2008 until the last day of Plaintiff's employment with Defendant. (Doc. 150-3, at 4.)

The Court's prior ruling addressed the issue of geographic scope as follows:

Plaintiff has shown the likely relevance of information in districts, regions, and territories overseen by District Manager Scott Link, Vice President-Regional Manager Peter Riley, and Territory Human Resources Executive Jolene Christensen, by indicating that these supervisors held positions overseeing Plaintiff's potential promotion. The Court therefore finds that the appropriate geographic scope of discovery is the areas under the these decision-makers' supervision because the corporate decisions and ...

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