United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM & ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
KENNETH G. GALE, Magistrate Judge.
Before the Court is the "Motion to Compel Production of Documents" (Doc. 75) filed by Plaintiff. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED.
The background of this case was recently summarized in this Court's Order of June 23, 2014 (Doc. 71), granting in part and denying in part Defendant's "Motion to Enforce Discovery and for Sanctions." That summary stated in part
[t]he present action was filed on July 9, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Claims were asserted against the various Defendants for breach of contract, trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, trademark dilution, and unjust enrichment. (Doc. 1.) In August 2012, Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint or, in the alternative, transfer it to the District of Kansas. (Doc. 6.)
Defendant Ringside filed Suggestions of Bankruptcy in November 2012, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas. (Doc. 17.) This triggered an automatic bankruptcy stay. The present action was transferred to the District of Kansas on March 13, 2013. (Doc. 22.)
Judge Berger of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas denied the Motion to Enforce Automatic Stay regarding Plaintiff's claims against Defendants RAL and Combat, by Order dated September 27, 2013. This permitted those counts to go forward in this Court. ( See Doc. 37, at 7.) Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint (Doc. 36) on December 2, 2013, which was granted on December 23, 2013 (Doc. 41).
(Doc. 71, at 1-2.)
The document requests at issue were served on March 27, 2014. (Doc. 60.) Defendant received an extension to respond to the requests and ultimately served a notice of "responses" on May 5, 2014, but no documents were actually produced. (Doc. 76, at 3; Doc. 67.) Plaintiff's counsel made sufficient effort to communicate with opposing counsel in compliance with D. Kan. Rule 37.2 prior to filing the present motion, despite defense counsel's blatant disregard for the conferral process. (Doc. 76, at 3-7.) Plaintiff's counsel made numerous inquiries with defense counsel as to when documents would be produced. The inquiries were either ignored or were given blatantly misleading responses, including an instance in which defense counsel failed to attend a meeting scheduled in defense counsel's own office to discuss these discovery issues. ( Id., at 5.)
Based on representations from opposing counsel, Plaintiff sought two extensions to file the present motion, which was filed on July 3, 2014. Defendant also sought and received two extensions to respond to Plaintiff's motion.
A. Standards for Discovery.
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." Courts of this District have long held that "[d]iscovery relevance is minimal relevance, ' which means it is possible and reasonably calculated that the request will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Teichgraeber v. Memorial Union Corp. of Emporia State University, 932 F.Supp. 1263, 1265 (D. Kan. 1996) (internal citation omitted). "Relevance is broadly construed at the discovery stage of the litigation and a request for discovery should be considered relevant if there is any possibility the information sought may be relevant to the subject matter of the action." Smith v. MCI Telecommunications Corp., 137 F.R.D. 25, 27 (D.Kan.1991).
Discovery requests must be relevant on their face. Williams v. Bd. of County Comm'rs, 192 F.R.D. 698, 705 (D. Kan. 2000). Once this low burden of relevance is established, the legal burden regarding the defense of a motion to compel resides with the party opposing the discovery request. See Swackhammer v. Sprint Corp. PCS, 225 F.R.D. 658, 661, 662, 666 (D. Kan. 2004) (stating that the party resisting a discovery request based on ...