In McCallister v. McDermott & Co., Inc., et al., the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana recently ruled on the plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery directed to Armstrong International, Inc., requesting supplemental responses to interrogatories and requests for production. The plaintiffs initially served requests to Armstrong, which were responded to in a timely manner. Several months after receiving the responses, the plaintiffs’ counsel emailed Armstrong’s counsel, arguing that the responses were deficient and required supplemental responses within seven days. On the eve of the seven-day deadline, the plaintiffs’ counsel and Armstrong’s counsel engaged in settlement discussions and agreed to hold the discovery issues pending further negotiations.
Approximately one-and-a-half months later, the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel, supporting it with a generic certificate of attempt to resolve, which generally stated that the plaintiffs’ counsel “made reasonable attempts to resolve the matter,” and only filed the motion after the parties were “unable to resolve this dispute.” Contrary to this assertion, Armstrong’s counsel stated that no additional communications occurred between counsel with respect to the written discovery after the settlement discussions.
In ruling on the plaintiffs’ motion to compel, the court denied the motion for failure to comply with Rule 37(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, the plaintiffs’ motion failed to include a certification that the movant had 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 its ruling, the court specifically noted that the plaintiffs’ single attempt through email to obtain supplemental responses under threat of filing a motion to compel did not satisfy the requirements of Rule 37. Further, the plaintiffs’ certification did not include a statement that counsel conferred in person or by telephone for purposes of amicably resolving the issues. In its ruling, the court further noted that the plaintiffs failed to provide an explanation for waiting over one year to file a motion to compel written discovery.
Read the case decision here.