United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
RHONDA K. WELLMAN, Plaintiff,
HASAN NORJIGITOV, and KEEN CARGO INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. Eifert United States Magistrate Judge.
are Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide
Responses to Plaintiff's Second Set of Request for
Production of Documents, (ECF No. 60), and Plaintiff's
Notice of Withdrawal of Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide
Responses to Plaintiff's Second Set of Request for
Production of Documents, (ECF No. 69). In view of the Notice
of Withdrawal, the Motion to Compel is
DENIED, (ECF No. 60), as moot.
pending is Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Compel Defendant
Keen Cargo Inc. to Provide Sufficient Answers to
Plaintiff's Interrogatories, (ECF No. 52). Defendant Keen
Cargo Inc. (“Keen”) has responded in opposition
to the Motion, (ECF No. 58), and Plaintiff has replied. (ECF
No. 62). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is
GRANTED, in part, and
DENIED, in part, as set forth below.
asks Keen to provide information about each lawsuit and claim
asserted in the past five years where it was suggested or
alleged that a person was injured or killed as a result of an
act or omission of someone driving for Keen. In response,
Keen provided the style of a single lawsuit that was filed in
Brooke County, West Virginia. Plaintiff found this answer to
be deficient, because Plaintiff was aware that drivers for
Keen had been involved in fifteen accidents in the last
twenty-four months, seven of which resulted in injuries to
fourteen people. Keen defended its response, however,
indicating that the Brooke County lawsuit was “the only
suit known to [Keen] in which it was named as a
defendant.” (ECF No. 58 at 1). Keen explained that it
did not employ drivers or independent contractors as drivers.
Instead, it contracted with other companies to supply drivers
and paid those companies directly.
carefully reviewed the interrogatory and Keen's answer,
the Court ORDERS Keen within seven
days of the date of this Order to provide Plaintiff
with the information requested in Interrogatory No. 2 for any
claim or lawsuit known to Keen involving a vehicle
transporting shipments as part of, or on behalf of,
Keen's business operations, regardless of who was driving
the vehicle and regardless of whether Keen was sued or named
in the claim or lawsuit. Plaintiff did not ask only for
claims or lawsuits in which Keen was named as a party, nor
did Plaintiff show any particular concern regarding the legal
relationship between Keen and Keen's drivers. Rather,
Plaintiff sought information about claims and lawsuits
involving individuals transporting shipments for Keen.
Consequently, Keen should provide that information.
requests information regarding communications “of any
kind” between “any federal and/or state agency
and Keen” during the past five years that involve
compliance or noncompliance with state and/or federal laws
and/or regulations. Keen objects to the interrogatory as
overly broad, arguing that being asked to “identify and
explain” every such communication from the multitude of
agencies with which Keen interacts for a period of five years
is unreasonable on its face. Keen points out that the request
does not limit its scope to communications concerning the
co-defendant or even to Keen, itself; rather, it seeks
undersigned agrees with Keen that Plaintiff's request is
overly broad on its face. Plaintiff fails to identify any
particular agency, either state or federal, or any specific
type of regulation(s) about which she seeks information. Keen
is an interstate motor carrier likely subject to laws,
regulations, rules, and agency oversight by the forty-eight
contiguous states, as well as the United States. Many of
these laws, rules, and regulations have no relevance to this
case. Consequently, Keen's compliance or noncompliance
with them is irrelevant. An interrogatory that requires Keen
to search, gather, identify, and explain useless
communications is not proportional to the needs of the case
and, thus, is beyond the scope of permissible discovery.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Therefore,
Plaintiff's motion to compel an additional response to
this interrogatory is DENIED. If Plaintiff
requires information regarding Keen's compliance with
regulations pertinent to the issues in this case, then
Plaintiff needs to draft a more specific interrogatory.
interrogatory, Plaintiff asks several questions regarding the
load transported by co-defendant, Hasan Norjigitov. Keen
answered some of the questions, but failed to provide
detailed information about the reasons for and duration of
various stops taken by Mr. Norjigitov during a 24-hour travel
period. Plaintiff asks the Court to compel Keen to provide
more detailed information about what the co-defendant did
during his stops. Plaintiff contends that an investigation of
Mr. Norjigitov's logs suggests that Mr. Norjigitov may
have intentionally falsified or manipulated the logs.
Plaintiff argues that the information sought is readily
accessible to Keen, although Plaintiff fails to explain the
factual basis for that contention. Keen, on the other hand,
denies that it has any additional knowledge concerning of Mr.
Norjigitov's trip, including the details of his stops.
Keen states that Daily Logs prepared by Mr. Norjigitov
constitute the extent of Keen's information on the
extent that Keen does have additional information-either in
its possession, or reasonably accessible to it-regarding the
reasons for and/or duration of Mr. Norjigitov's stops
during the relevant twenty-four hour period, Keen is
ORDERED to provide that information to
Plaintiff within seven days of the date of
this Order. However, if Mr. Norjigitov is the only available
source of that information, then Plaintiff will have to
direct her inquiry to Mr. Norjigitov.
asks Keen to identify the steps it took to qualify Hasan
Norjigitov as a driver in accordance with the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Act. Keen objects to the interrogatory as
irrelevant and disproportional, stating that the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Act does not require a commercial
trucking broker to qualify drivers and adding that Keen did
not take any steps to qualify Hasan Norjigitov to obtain or
hold a valid commercial driver's license. Plaintiff
states that she seeks a simple answer to a simple question;
that being, what steps, if any, did Keen take to qualify Mr.
Norjigitov as a driver before letting him operate under
Keen's authority? According to Plaintiff, Keen has not
answered this question. The undersigned agrees with
Plaintiff. Keen has answered other questions that ...