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Allen-Noll v. Madison Area Technical College

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

July 8, 2019

TAYSHEEDRA D. ALLEN-NOLL, Plaintiff,
v.
MADISON AREA TECHNICAL COLLEGE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Stephen L. Crocker Magistrate Judge.

         On April 8, 2019, the court filed an order (dkt. 59) denying plaintiff's motion to compel discovery (dkt. 31) and ordering cost-shifting pursuant to Rule 37(a). See dkt. 49. On May 15, 2019, defendants filed their bill of costs and expenses, requesting $10, 578.75. See dkt. 59. On June 3, 2019, plaintiff filed a 24-page motion for reconsideration of the court's substantive order, or in the alternative, opposing cost-shifting. See dkt. 61. I am denying both motions.

         Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

         Plaintiff Allen-Noll had an ample opportunity to present her facts and arguments in original motion to compel. In a 16-page brief (dkt. 32), Allen-Noll sought to compel a second deposition of defendant Lausch and more satisfactory answers to six of her interrogatories and eight of her requests for production of documents. In my order denying Allen-Noll's motion in its entirety, I characterized her supporting brief as “terse to the point of being inscrutable.” Dkt. 49 at 3. The defendants responded with a 20-page brief and 15 exhibits totaling over 200 pages. (Dkts. 44 and 45). Although the court does not ordinarily allow replies in support of discovery motions, see Preliminary Pretrial Conference Order, dkt. 13, at 4, I invited a reply from Allen-Noll to give her a chance to amplify her first brief. I also granted Allen-Noll's request to suspend her deadline to respond to defendants' summary judgment motion until the court ruled on her motion to compel discovery. See March26, 2019 text-only order, dkt. 47. The reply brief would have been Allen-Noll's opportunity to challenge the points that defendants had made in their response. Instead, Allen-Noll filed a two-page reply on April 6, 2019 (dkt. 48), ten days after her deadline, citing one case and getting the holding backwards.

         Although Allen-Noll's failure to develop her arguments in her supporting brief was a sufficient stand-alone ground to deny the motion, I took the time and went to the effort of reviewing the case file, doing my own legal research, and deciding each of Allen-Noll's claims on its merits. This led to a 22-page order in which I separately addressed each of Allen-Noll's requests and found that she was not entitled to additional discovery on any of them.

         Allen-Noll's greatest concern was that her second attorney be allowed to take a second deposition of defendant Lausch, based on her claim that she was pursuing her claims under a different theory of racial conspiracy. Having carefully considered both sides' submissions, I found that

The absence of the word “conspiracy” [from the deposition transcript], however, is not a reason to compel a second deposition of Lausch when there is no showing of any specific substantive gaps in the questions and answers. Deposing Lausch again with an eye toward proving up a hidden racial conspiracy would simply cover the same facts a second time, with Lausch denying the existence of any such conspiracy. The fact that Attorney Coe might approach deposing Lausch differently than Attorney Kennelly did is not a reason to make Lausch sit for a second deposition. Pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5)(B), this is a circumstance under Rule 26(c) in which Lausch is entitled be spared from another deposition due to annoyance, undue burden and undue expense, all of which would be disproportionate to the cost in time, effort and money of attempting to adduce any new, relevant information.

Dkt. 49 at 20-21.

         The same was true for all of Allen-Noll's other requests. My order speaks for itself but here is the headline version of my decision on each request:

Interrogatory No. 9: The court cannot discern any evidentiary basis for Allen-Noll's terse contentions of inadequate disclosures by defendants.
Interrogatory 12 & RFP 7: On this record, Allen-Noll has not fleshed out any facts or argument that would suggest that this court should compel defendants to provide any additional information.
Interrogatory 13 & RFP 15: The court cannot discern from Allen-Noll's motion to compel what else she is seeking or what else she thinks is out there that defendants have not provided.
Interrogatory 14, Interrogatory 15 and RFP 17: Defendants are not required to acquiesce in Allen-Noll's theory of prosecution when responding to her discovery requests. As long as they have provided the relevant information in their possession, they have met their discovery obligations and there is nothing for the court to compel.
Interrogatory 16: defendants clarified their answer in their response to the motion to compel. There is nothing left ...

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