United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge
October 25, 2019, the plaintiff, Greenfield Rehabilitation
Agency Inc. (“Greenfield”), filed an expedited
motion to compel discovery responses from defendant Eden
Consulting LLC (“Eden”). (Docket #37). Greenfield
seeks production of “complete responses to
Plaintiff's First Set of Discovery to Defendant”
and “initial responses to Plaintiff's Second
Requests for Production of Documents to Eden Consulting
LLC.” Id. at 1. For several reasons,
Greenfield's motion must be denied.
Greenfield's motion neither sufficiently identifies the
disputes at issue nor supports its arguments with authority.
Greenfield generally bemoans Eden's tardiness and says
that, as to the responses Eden has made thus far, they are
“evasive and incomplete.” Id. at 2.
Greenfield then gives “examples” of this
evasiveness, citing to a few specific discovery responses,
id. at 2-3, presumably inviting the Court to explore
the remainder of its discovery materials to ferret out the
other evasive responses. The few examples of allegedly
deficient responses that Greenfield highlights are not
supported by case law or other authority that demonstrates
their deficiency. For example, Greenfield summarily states
that “Eden Consulting apparently believes that it does
not have to answer interrogatories or provide documentation
regarding its billing for Greenfield's services because
it was allegedly acting on behalf on a different entity. That
is not a valid objection.” Id. at 3. This is a
legal conclusion that Greenfield must support with argument
and authority if it desires relief. The Court cannot, and
will not, construct arguments on behalf of parties.
Stransky v. Cummins Engine Co., 51 F.3d 1329, 1335
(7th Cir. 1995).
Greenfield spends significant space in its motion condemning
Eden for allegedly dodging its many attempts to confer about
the status of discovery. Id. at 1-4. But Greenfield
neglects to address, much less acknowledge, its own dilatory
conduct in the discovery process. Beginning in July 2019,
Eden began reaching out to Greenfield to discuss outstanding
discovery issues. (Docket #43 at 2). On July 16, Eden sent
Greenfield amendments to its previous discovery responses and
inquired about coming to an agreement to resolve all
outstanding discovery issues, including Greenfield's own
delinquent responses. (Docket #44-5). Regrettably, Greenfield
did not respond to that email. (Docket #44). On August 5,
Eden sent another email seeking to resolve outstanding
discovery issues. (Docket #44-7). One of Greenfield's
lawyers, Christopher Wolske, responded with obfuscation,
saying that Eden's counsel had to take up the issue of
discovery with Greenfield's other lawyer, Jacob
Sundelius. Id. Despite being cc'd on that email,
Sundelius did not follow up with Greenfield. (Docket #44). On
August 28, during two witness depositions, Greenfield again
inquired about outstanding discovery issues and was again
directed to Sundelius with no further response. Id.
It appears Greenfield's goal was to negotiate a date by
which both parties would complete their discovery responses,
given that both parties had outstanding discovery
in early October, Greenfield began responding to Eden's
entreaties. On October 7, Greenfield made its first
production of documents to Eden and then promptly told Eden
that because it had now “completely responded to all
[of Eden's] discovery requests, ” no “mutual
exchange of written discovery [was] necessary.” (Docket
#44-11). Greenfield demanded an immediate response to its
second set of discovery and threatened to file a motion to
compel on October 9. Id. The parties then exchanged
a handful of emails about the timing of Eden's
production, with Eden requesting a brief extension due to Yom
Kippur. (Docket #44-12 and #44-13). On October 14, Eden sent
Greenfield a draft of its discovery responses, promising to
send a signed copy after its client was able to review the
draft. (Docket #44-13). On October 25, Greenfield filed the
both sides to this discovery spat deserve some blame for
delay. But it is Greenfield who has come to this Court for
relief, and it bears the burden of satisfying the Court that
it attempted in good faith to confer with its opponent to
obtain discovery without court action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1).
Greenfield has not made a sufficient showing in that regard.
It is disingenuous at best for Greenfield to demand prompt
judicial intervention to compel responses to its discovery
requests when it ignored for months Eden's attempts to
negotiate a mutual date by which both sides would fulfill
their discovery obligations. This is especially true given
that, once Greenfield finally engaged with Eden's
requests to confer, Greenfield did not attempt to discuss the
specific issues underlying the parties' disputes about
particular discovery requests; Greenfield simply made firm
and blanket demands for a complete production. This does not
comport with the spirit of the meet-and-confer requirement.
See Gross v. PPG Indus., Inc., No. 07-CV-982, 2009
WL 159261, at *1 (E.D. Wis. Jan 22, 2009) (holding that
telephone and e-mail correspondence was insufficient to
satisfy the discovery motion meet and confer requirements
where the tone of those communications demonstrated a lack of
sincere conciliatory effort).
Eden indicates that on October 25, the same day Greenfield
filed the instant motion, Eden provided complete responses to
Greenfield's outstanding discovery requests. (Docket #43
at 3). The software Eden used to send the discovery shows
that Greenfield accessed the file on October 30. (Docket #44
at 3). Because Greenfield is not entitled to a file a reply
in support of its expedited motion, see Civ. L. R.
7(h)(2), the Court has no way of knowing whether Greenfield
is satisfied with Eden's production. Regardless, it
appears Greenfield's demand has been met, and if it has
not, Greenfield can file another motion to compel after it
meaningfully complies with its obligation to meet and confer.
Rule 37(a)(1) and Civil Local Rule 37.1 are designed to
prevent discovery motions such as the one now before the
Court. The Court has neither the time nor inclination to
involve itself in an aspect of the case which our legal
system entrusts attorneys to handle in a cooperative
professional manner. If there is a genuine dispute regarding
discovery that the parties cannot resolve despite actual good
faith efforts, then the Court will be obliged to rule on the
matter. The instant motion does not advance such a dispute.
Thus, it will be denied.
IT IS ORDERED that Greenfield Rehabilitation
Agency Inc.'s expedited motion to compel (Docket ...