United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
Machinery Solutions, Inc. (“MSI” or
“Plaintiff”), filed this action seeking damages
from Defendant Doosan Infracore America Corporation
(“Doosan”) for terminating its dealership
contract with MSI and for contracting with another
distributor, Ellison Technologies, Inc.
(“Ellison”). (See generally ECF No. 37.)
matter is before the court by way of Doosan's Motion to
Compel Discovery filed on October 13, 2017. (ECF No. 154.)
MSI opposes Doosan's Motion in its entirety. (ECF No.
RELEVANT BACKGROUND TO PENDING MOTION
March 16, 2017, Doosan served Second Request(s) for
Production of Documents on MSI. (ECF No. 154-1.) On May 26,
2017, MSI provided Doosan with responses to the Second
Request(s) for Production of Documents. (ECF No. 154-2.) Upon
review of MSI's discovery responses and/or objections,
Doosan found deficient MSI's Responses to Requests Nos.
1, 2, 4, 5, 23, 32, 33 and 64. (ECF No. 154-5 at 5-10.) In
addition, Doosan concluded that MSI had failed “to
identify by Bates number the documents responsive to Request
Nos. 19, 28-34, 27, 40-52, 54-56, 58, 67-69, 73-75 and
77.” (ECF No. 154 at 4 (referencing ECF No. 154-5 at
10- 11).) After the parties were unable to resolve the
discovery dispute resulting from the alleged deficiencies in
MSI's production, Doosan timely filed a Motion to Compel
on October 13, 2017.(Id.) On November 3, 2017, MSI
filed its Memorandum in Opposition to Doosan's Motion to
Compel. (ECF No. 164.)
court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, because the parties are
citizens of different states and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000.00. MSI is a corporation organized under the
laws of South Carolina with its principal place of business
in Lexington County, South Carolina. (ECF No. 37 at 1 ¶
1.) Doosan is incorporated in the State of New York and
Ellison is incorporated in the State of Delaware.
(Id. at 2 ¶¶ 5 & 7; see also
ECF No. 1 at 2-3.) Moreover, the court is satisfied that the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00 in accordance with
MSI's representation. (ECF No. 37 at 3 ¶ 11.)
Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, .
. . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable.” Id.
scope of discovery permitted by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 is designed
to provide a party with information reasonably necessary to
afford a fair opportunity to develop its case.
Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh,
P.A. v. Murray Sheet Metal Co., Inc., 967 F.2d 980, 983
(4th Cir. 1992) (“the discovery rules are given
‘a broad and liberal treatment'”) (quoting
Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 507 (1947)). That
said, discovery is not limitless and the court has the
discretion to protect a party from “oppression”
or “undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c).
Motions to Compel
a party fails to make a disclosure” required by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26, “any other party may move to compel
disclosure and for appropriate sanction” after it has
“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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a). Specifically, a party “may move for
an order compelling an answer, designation, production, or
inspection.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). Broad discretion
is afforded a district court's decision to grant or deny
a motion to compel. See, e.g., Lone Star
Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of Va., Inc., 43
F.3d 922, 929 (4th Cir. 1995) (“This Court affords a
district court substantial discretion in managing discovery
and reviews the denial or granting of a motion to compel
discovery for abuse of discretion.”) (Internal citation
omitted); Erdmann v. Preferred Research Inc., 852
F.2d 788, 792 (4th Cir. 1988); LaRouche v. Nat'l
Broad. Co., 780 F.2d 1134, 1139 (4th Cir. 1986)
(“A motion to compel discovery is addressed to the
sound discretion of the district court.”).
Production Under Rule 34
Rule 34, “[a] party must produce documents as they are
kept in the usual course of business or must organize and
label them to correspond to the categories in the request; .
. . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(E)(i). “While the
party producing ‘cannot attempt to hide a needle in a
haystack by mingling responsive documents with large numbers
of nonresponsive documents, ' the plain language of Rule
34 makes clear that ‘a responding party has no duty to
organize and label the documents if it has produced them as
they are kept in the usual course of business.'”
Williams v. Taser Int'l, Inc., C/A No.
1:06-CV-0051-RWS, 2006 WL 1835437, at *7 (N.D.Ga. June 30,
2006) (citations omitted). However, if a party elects to
produce documents ...