Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Abraham v. Hilton Worldwide Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 14, 2019

GARY L. ABRAHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
HILTON WORLDWIDE, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES P. O'HARA U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         In this race discrimination case, defendant MH Hospitality, LLC (“MH”) has filed a motion asking the court to compel plaintiff to respond to discovery requests (ECF No. 157). The motion also seeks an award of MH's expenses incurred as a result of bringing the motion, as allowed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5).

         Plaintiff has filed a separate motion for an award of his fees incurred in responding to MH's motion to compel (ECF No. 182).

         Because plaintiff failed to timely assert initial objections to interrogatories and requests for production of documents, and because plaintiff failed to reassert objections to requests for admission, the court grants MH's motion to compel and awards MH its associated expenses. The court denies plaintiff's motion for fees as frivolous.

         I. Background

         On August 17, 2018, MH served plaintiff with nineteen interrogatories[1] and fifteen requests for production of documents.[2] On August 22, 2018, MH sent plaintiff forty-four requests for admissions.[3]

         Throughout the course of this litigation, plaintiff has continuously sought to delay or avoid responding to this discovery. Plaintiff requested-and was granted-three extensions to respond.[4] In granting the second extension, the undersigned U.S. Magistrate Judge, James P. O'Hara, warned plaintiff-both in person and in the Amended Scheduling Order-that the court would grant no further extensions of discovery deadlines “absent a strong showing of truly extraordinary circumstances.”[5] Less than a week later, plaintiff filed a motion to stay discovery.[6] On November 2, 2018, the undersigned denied the motion to stay discovery, but granted plaintiff a third extension to November 16, 2018, to respond.[7] In granting the third extension, the undersigned stated,

Discovery must proceed in this case so that the case may advance toward the trial plaintiff requests. The court finds no good cause, let alone extraordinary circumstances, that would justify further delaying the pretrial proceedings. . . . Plaintiff is hereby warned . . . that if he fails to meet the November 16, 2018-discovery deadline set in this order such that defendants find it necessary to file a motion to compel, the court will favorably entertain a motion for plaintiff to pay defendants' fees incurred in bringing the motion.[8]

         On November 16, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion for the presiding U.S. District Judge, Daniel D. Crabtree, to review the undersigned's November 2, 2018 order denying his request for a discovery stay.[9] Significantly, plaintiff did not file a motion to stay the directives in the undersigned's order-including the directive that he respond to discovery by November 16, 2018-pending a decision by Judge Crabtree.[10] Plaintiff did respond to MH's requests for admission on that date, [11] but did not meet the deadline for responding to the interrogatories and requests for production of documents.

         On November 30, 2018, MH filed the instant motion to compel plaintiff to answer outstanding discovery.[12] Plaintiff responded that he “was under the impression that he could wait until after the pending motion for review [of the order denying the discovery stay]” was decided before answering the discovery.[13] On December 6, 2018, Judge Crabtree denied plaintiff's motion for review.[14] Plaintiff then served his responses and objections to MH's interrogatories and requests for production of documents on December 12, 2018.[15] MH filed its reply brief on December 20, 2018.[16] Acknowledging plaintiff's December 12, 2018 responses, the reply states the discovery disputes have been narrowed to interrogatories numbered 2, 4-10, and 19; requests for production of documents numbered 1, and 3-15; and requests for admission numbered 5-10, 12-15, 25, 27, 28, 31-36, and 41-44.[17]

         II. Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents

         There is no dispute that plaintiff failed to object to MH's interrogatories and requests for production of documents by the November 16, 2018 extended response-deadline set by the court. The law is well established that “[i]f a responding party fails to lodge timely objections to discovery requests, those objections are deemed waived unless the court excuses the failure for good cause.”[18] To demonstrate good cause, the “party failing to assert timely objections must show it could not have reasonably met the deadline to respond despite due diligence.”[19]

         Plaintiff does not explicitly assert he had good cause for his late discovery responses and objections. But plaintiff has asserted his belief that the filing of his motion for review of the undersigned's order denying a discovery stay permitted him to “wait” to respond. Construing this argument broadly as an assertion of good cause, it is rejected. “[I]gnorance of the rules . . . generally does not constitute ‘good cause.'”[20] And as the court has previously stated, plaintiff's pro se status does not excuse him from following the procedural rules of the court.[21]

         Thus, the court finds plaintiff waived any objections to MH's interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Plaintiff must therefore answer this discovery without further objection.[22] Within fourteen days of this order, plaintiff shall provide, without objection, amended responses to interrogatories numbered 2, 4, 6-10, and 19; and to requests for production of documents numbered 1, and 3-15. Plaintiff is hereby warned if he fails to abide by this order, he may be subject to sanctions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b), which could include dismissal of this case.

         III. Requests for Admission

         Plaintiff did assert timely answers and objections to MH's requests for admission. MH moved the court to overrule plaintiff's objections to requests for admission numbered 5-10, 12-15, 25, 27, 28, 31-36, and 41-44, and to deem them admitted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(6). In response to the motion, plaintiff did not directly reassert his objections, but only made the general statement that he could not “completely answer” the requests because defendants had not provided him certain discovery.[23]

         “When a party files a motion to compel and asks the Court to overrule certain objections, the objecting party must specifically show in its response to the motion how each request [for admission] is objectionable.”[24] Objections initially raised in response to a request but not relied ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.