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Sigui v. M Communications Inc.

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

March 15, 2017

JUAN SIGUI, et al.


          LINCOLN D. ALMOND United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before me for determination (28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A)) are Plaintiffs' Motions to Compel Further Discovery Responses from Defendants. Plaintiffs seek to compel further responses to their Document Requests from Defendants CoxCom and M Communications. (Document Nos. 54 and 71). In addition, Plaintiffs seek to compel additional and further responses from CoxCom's Rule 30(b)(6) deponent. (Document No. 56).

         A. Document Requests

         As to documents, Plaintiffs contend that, “[b]y logical inference, ” CoxCom and M have failed to produce “literally thousands of pages of documents” relevant to their joint employer theory of liability. (Document Nos. 54-1 at pp. 3-4 and 71-1 at pp. 3-4). CoxCom contends that Plaintiffs' Motion is “patently frivolous” and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the business relationship between CoxCom and M. (Document No. 58 at pp. 1-2). CoxCom argues that “all documentation regarding Plaintiffs' work with M and relevant to the joint employer theory is in M's possession alone - Cox has no documents responsive to Plaintiffs [sic] Requests beyond the Field Services Agreements with M that it has already produced.” Id. at p. 2. M, on the other hand, argues that Plaintiffs' Motion should be denied because it has provided “all of the Documents (as that term is defined in Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel[1]) in its possession, custody, or control that are responsive to Plaintiffs' discovery requests.” (Document No. 72 at p. 1).

         Plaintiffs served sixteen nearly identical Document Requests on each Defendant. They move to compel additional responses from both Defendants as to Requests 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16, and solely from Defendant M as to Requests 4, 8 and 12. After reviewing the parties respective arguments and considering the proportionality parameters embodied in Rule 26(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P, the disputes regarding these Requests are resolved as follows:

         1. Request Nos. 2 and 3

         DENIED as to both CoxCom and M.

         2. Request No. 4

         GRANTED in part. M represents that it obtained “payroll ledgers” from its payroll processor and produced them to Plaintiffs. However, as to the “weekly invoices” it received from CoxCom that provided the “amount of points earned by each technician on a weekly basis, ” it represents that these were sent to its “payroll processor” and not kept or maintained. As with the “payroll ledgers, ” M shall request the “weekly invoices” from its payroll processor and produce them to Plaintiffs if they remain in the payroll processor's possession. If the payroll processor did not keep those records, M shall promptly notify Plaintiffs of that fact.

         3. Request Nos. 6, 9 and 10

         DENIED as to the ICOM records.[2] As to the ETA records, the Court concludes that they are responsive; however, the record is unclear as to whether either CoxCom or M presently have possession of or access to such records. Although CoxCom disputes the relevance of the ETA records, it asserts that, if relevant, the records “must be sought from M, not Cox” and that it does not have any responsive documents. (Document No. 58 at p. 16). As to M, it represents that the ETA system “generates job start and stop times” but indicates that they “may not be accurate.” (Document No. 72-1 at p. 6). M also indicates that it printed out ETA records for technicians, if requested, but has not retained copies of these records in its files. Id. Unfortunately, neither CoxCom nor M shed any light on whether the ETA records are presently accessible and, if so, the cost and effort needed to produce them for the requested period. Accordingly, the Court orders the parties to confer in good faith about the accessibility to and production of the ETA records. If the parties are unable to reach a consensus, they shall request a discovery teleconference with the Court prior to resorting to further discovery motion practice.

         4. Request No. 7

         GRANTED. CoxCom narrowly interprets Plaintiffs' request for chargeback documents and focuses on the phrase “as a consequence of work performed by each named Plaintiff.” (Document No. 58 at p. 16). CoxCom contends that it issued chargebacks only to M. Id. While that is technically true, the chargebacks must be related to work performed by M through its technicians. In fact, M represents that, while CoxCom only issues chargebacks to it, it then “determines if it will impose a chargeback against individual technicians or absorb the chargeback without passing [it] on to the technicians.” (Document No. 72-1 at p. 7). Thus, the chargeback must refer to a particular technician, or M would not be able to make that determination. Accordingly, M and CoxCom shall produce any chargeback documentation for the relevant period which is in their possession, custody or control.

         5. ...

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