United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
October 16, 2014
BUILDERS FLOORING CONNECTION, LLC, Plaintiff,
BROWN CHAMBLESS ARCHITECTS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER
CHARLES S. COODY, Magistrate Judge.
On September 26, 2014, the court reserved ruling on one aspect of defendant Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc's ("GMC") motion to compel (doc. # 224) filed on August 20, 2014. Also pending is plaintiff Builders Flooring Connection, LLC's ("BFC") motion for a protective order (doc. # 228) filed on August 28, 2014. Defendant GMC seeks to compel BFC to respond to requests for production of documents 18 and 19 which relate to settlement documents between BFC and any other defendant with whom a settlement has been reached. BFC's motion for a protective order asserts that the documents are confidential and protected by the work product doctrine. The court held oral argument on these motions on September 24, 2014, and the plaintiff requested time to file a supplemental brief. Despite being given the opportunity, BFC has not filed a supplemental brief. Consequently, the remaining aspect of the motion to compel and the motion for a protective order are ripe for resolution. For the reasons which follow, the motion to compel is due to be granted and the motion for a protective order is due to be denied.
Relying on FED.R.CIV.P. 408, BFC argues that any documents related to settlements with other defendants are protected from discovery. The court disagrees. While FED.R.EVID. 408 limits the admissibility of compromise offers and negotiations, it does not limit the discoverability of that information. See Doe No. 1 v. U.S. 749 F.3d 999, 1010 (11th Cir., 2014) citing In re MSTG, Inc., 675 F.3d 1337, 1344 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (rejecting a privilege for settlement negotiations because Congress, by enacting Rule 408, "did not take the additional step of protecting settlement negotiations from discovery."). Beyond a conclusory assertion that the documents are are privileged, BFC points to no facts or law that would support that position.
FED.R.CIV.P. 26(b)(1) provides that "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense ..." (emphasis added). GMC asserts that the documents may lead to admissible evidence, and may be relevant for purposes of cross-examination at trial. BFC has not shown that the documents are not relevant.
Accordingly, for the reasons as stated, and for good cause, it is
ORDERED that the defendant's motion to compel (doc. # 224) is GRANTED with respect to the requests for production of documents # 18 and 19. It is further
ORDERED that the plaintiff's motion for a protective order (doc. # 228) be and is hereby DENIED.