United States District Court, D. Kansas
KATRINA A. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, Defendant.
P. O'Hara, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
se plaintiff, Katrina Williams, has filed a motion (ECF No.
143) seeking to compel discovery responses to her requests
for production and second set of interrogatories. Defendant
opposes the motion, arguing as an initial matter plaintiff
failed to comply with the Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1) and D. Kan.
R. 37.2 requirements to meet and confer before filing such a
motion. Defendant further argues plaintiff's motion does
not clearly state her objections or which documents she
seeks. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff's
motion is respectfully denied.
Civ. P. 37(a)(1) requires that motions to compel
“include a certification that the movant has in good
faith conferred or attempted to confer with the person or
party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort to
obtain it without court action.” In addition, D. Kan.
Rule 37.2 states,
The court will not entertain any motion to resolve a
discovery dispute pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 through 37 . .
. unless the attorney for the moving party has conferred or
has made reasonable effort to confer with opposing counsel
concerning the matter in dispute prior to the filing of the
motion. Every certification required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)
and 37 and this rule related to the efforts of the parties to
resolve discovery or disclosure disputes must describe with
particularity the steps taken by all attorneys to resolve the
issues in dispute.
A “reasonable effort to confer” means more than
mailing or faxing a letter to the opposing party. It requires
that the parties in good faith converse, confer, compare
views, consult, and deliberate, or in good faith attempt to
court takes the requirements of Rule 37.2 seriously. The
purpose of the conference requirements in the federal and
local rules is to encourage parties to resolve their
discovery disputes without resorting to judicial
intervention. “Failure to confer or attempt to
confer may result in unnecessary motions. When the court must
resolve a dispute the parties themselves could have resolved,
it must needlessly expend resources it could better utilize
elsewhere.” The court evaluates all the surrounding
circumstances to determine whether the movant's efforts
to confer were reasonable. The duty to initiate the conference
process is on the party making the motion. The court may
deny a discovery motion for failure to confer prior to filing
August 8, 2019, plaintiff served her request for production
of documents. On August 16, 2019, she served her second
set of interrogatories. Defendant, after receiving an extension
of time, served responses on September 23 and 30, 2019,
respectively.Plaintiff did not confer with defendant or
otherwise attempt to discuss the substance of the
responses. Rather, plaintiff filed the instant motion
on October 14, 2019.
attaches to her reply “an exhibit which details the
requests for production that [she] requested from
defendant.” The exhibit contains e-mails discussing
service of the discovery, defendant's request for an
extension to respond, plaintiff's additional request for
production, and plaintiff's clarification of the scope of
several requests. This chain of correspondence occurred
before defendant served its responses. Plaintiff has offered
no evidence of conferring with defendant after receiving its
responses, beyond plaintiff's assertion that the parties
“conferred about [her] request for production in
several conversations.” Plaintiff claims her second
request for production “is just a more specific and
condensed version of [her] first request for production so
there really wasn't anything mentioned to defendants that
they weren't already aware of.” This
explanation for her failure to meet and confer is
court therefore finds plaintiff violated Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(1) and D. Kan. Rule 37.2 by failing to meet and confer
on the dispute. Plaintiff's assertion that the parties
conferred about the discovery does not constitute
“reasonable efforts to confer” under the rules.
The court directs plaintiff to contact defense counsel upon
receipt of this order to a schedule a time when the parties
can confer about the issues raised in the motion on or before
December 5, 2019.
the court does not reach the merits of plaintiff's motion
here, it reiterates to plaintiff the necessity of conferring
clearly with defense counsel about her specific requests.
Defendant argues, and the court agrees, it is “unclear
from plaintiff's motion exactly what information she is
seeking to compel or which discovery responses she believes
may be inadequate.” When the parties confer, they
“must determine precisely what the requested party is
actually seeking, what responsive documents or information
the discovering party is reasonably capable of producing, and
what specific, genuine objections or other issues, if any,
cannot be resolved without judicial
intervention.” The court reminds plaintiff of its May
10, 2019 order denying her motion for leave to file a motion
to compel related to defendant's prior discovery
responses. The court denied that motion without
prejudice because the deadlines were stayed at the
time. But the court instructed plaintiff of
her obligation to comply with federal and local rules -
specifically her obligation to confer with defendant in good
faith, and to certify those attempts, before filing any
motion to compel. Failure to do so in future motions to
compel will likely result in denial with prejudice, if not
more severe sanctions.
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to compel (ECF
No. 143) is denied. If, after conferring, the parties are
unable to reach an agreement on disputes over this discovery,
plaintiff may re-file a motion, fully compliant with the
standards governing motions to compel, by December 5,