Friction Manufacturer’s Objection to Motion to Compel Denied Due to Untimely Submission of Affidavit

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KENTUCKY – The plaintiff, Jack Papineau, alleged that he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma from exposure to Honeywell’s asbestos-containing brake products. The plaintiff sought an order from the magistrate judge to compel Honeywell to answer one interrogatory and respond to one request for production concerning lawsuits alleging exposure to Honeywell asbestos-containing friction products. Honeywell opposed.

Per the magistrate judge’s order, the plaintiff filed an amended request that limited the scope of the requested documentation. Honeywell responded to the supplemental request and attached the affidavit of Ellen Tenebaum, the national coordinating counsel for Honeywell, regarding their docket of Bendix Brake related cases.

The magistrate judge then granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel. Honeywell requested a rehearing, which the magistrate judge denied. In this current matter, Honeywell now requests that the court sustain its objections and quash the magistrate judge’s orders.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 636(b)(1)(A), the district court reviews an order by a magistrate judge on a non-dispositive matter under the clearly erroneous or contrary to law standard. Honeywell argued that the magistrate judge ruled that he would not consider their undue burden or proportionality argument because the affidavit they submitted was filed untimely. Further, Honeywell asserted that it is clearly erroneous that a party is precluded from presenting renewed objections and, if warranted, an affidavit in support of such objection in the face of a court ordered amended production.

The court noted that magistrate judge’s decision to not consider the affidavit was not contrary to law and within the court’s discretion since the affidavit was presented after the close of arguments on the issue. The magistrate judge’s order compelling the discovery at issue was not contrary to law because the case law that he relied on supported his reasoning. The discovery was relevant and proportional to the needs of the case for the reasons explained in magistrate judge’s orders.

Therefore, Honeywell’s objection was overruled.

Read the case decision here.