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Stonebarger v. Union Pacific Corporation

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 2, 2014

MELISSA STONEBARGER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF VERONICA HOGLE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNION PACIFIC CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

TERESA J. JAMES, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiffs Melissa Stonebarger, individually and as representative of the estate of Veronica Hogle; Ruth Turner, as next friend of minor K.T.; and Therman Turner, Jr., filed this action seeking to recover damages for the deaths of Veronica Hogle and Therman Turner. Therman Turner was driving a truck in which Veronica Hogle was a passenger, and both died following a collision between the truck and a train that was traveling on Union Pacific's railroad tracks. This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Compel Discovery (ECF No. 42). Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37, Defendants ask the Court to overrule Plaintiffs' objections and order Plaintiffs to produce all documents responsive to Request Numbers 44 and 45 of their First Requests for Production of Documents to Plaintiffs.[1] As set forth below, Plaintiffs' objections to the discovery requests are overruled and Defendants' motion is granted as modified by the Court.

I. Relevant Background

Defendants served their First Requests for Production of Documents to Plaintiffs on October 16, 2013.[2] Plaintiffs served their responses and objections on November 18, 2013.[3] After conferring with Plaintiffs to resolve the issue without court action, as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1) and D. Kan. Rule 37.2, Defendants filed the instant Motion to Compel Discovery.

II. Specific Discovery Request at Issue

Defendants request in their motion that the Court order Plaintiffs to produce documents responsive to their First Requests for Production Nos. 44 and 45.

A. Request No. 44

Defendants seek to compel Plaintiffs to produce documents responsive to their First Requests for Production No. 44, which asks that Plaintiffs produce the account data for each Facebook.com account which Plaintiffs maintain, for the period of October 29, 2012 through the present. Each Plaintiff asserted the following objection:

Plaintiff objects to this request because it is overbroad, unduly burdensome and harassing in nature. Plaintiff further objects to this request because it seeks to violate plaintiff's right to privacy and seeks to violate the attorney-client privilege and the work product privilege. Plaintiff objects because this request seeks information not likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and thus it is not relevant.[4]

B. Request No. 45

Defendants also seek to compel Plaintiffs to produce documents responsive to their First Requests for Production No. 45, which asks that Plaintiffs produce all photographs posted, uploaded or otherwise added to any social networking sites or blogs, since the date of the accident alleged in the complaint, including photographs posted by others in which Plaintiff has been identified. Each Plaintiff asserted the following objection:

Plaintiff objects to this request because it is overbroad and unduly burdensome. Plaintiff further objects to this request because it seeks to violate Plaintiff's right to privacy. Plaintiff objects because this request seeks information not likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and thus it is not relevant. Subject to, and without waiving the foregoing objections, plaintiff has produced and will continue to produce, relevant photos.

No party has discussed the type or number of photos that plaintiffs have produced ...


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