United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
JAMES EDWARD MOONEYHAM, individually and as personal representative for the estate of Rebecca Jean Marks, Plaintiff,
NATURMED, INC., and INDEPENDENT VITAL LIFE, LLC Defendants. NATURMED, INC., Third Party Plaintiff,
BACTOLAC PHARMACEUTICAL, INC., Third Party Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the court is NaturMed's motion to compel Bactolac
to produce documents and witnesses (doc. # 126) filed on
March 9, 2018. Bactolac has filed a response in opposition to
the motion to compel (doc. # 140) and the court heard oral
argument on the motion on March 26, 2018. For the reasons
that follow, the court concludes that the motion to compel
should be granted in part and denied in part.
26(b)(1) provides that “[p]arties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense . . . ” The Committee
Comments to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 confirm that requiring relevance
to a claim or defense “signals to the court that it has
the authority to confine discovery to the claims and defenses
asserted in the pleadings, and signals to the parties that
they have no entitlement to discovery to develop new claims
or defenses that are not already identified in the
pleadings.” GAP Report of Advisory Committee to 2000
amendments to Rule 26.
determining what discovery to allow, the court is likewise
guided by some other fundamental principles. “Relevant
information need not be admissible at the trial if the
discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of admissible evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
[D]istrict courts have broad discretion in fashioning
discovery rulings, they are bound to adhere “to the
liberal spirit of the [Federal] Rules.” Burns v.
Thiokol Chem. Corp., 483 F.2d 300, 305 (5th Cir. 1973).
The Federal Rules do not give district courts “blanket
authorization . . . to prohibit disclosure of information
whenever it deems it advisable to do so, but is rather a
grant of power to impose conditions on discovery in order to
prevent injury, harassment, or abuse of the court's
processes.” Williams v. City of Dothan, Ala.,
745 F.2d 1406, 1416 (11th Cir. 1984) (quoting
Bridge C.A.T. Scan Assocs. v. Technicare Corp., 710
F.2d 940, 944-45 (2nd Cir. 1983)).
Adkins v. Christie, 488 F.3d 1324, 1331 (11th Cir.
26 . . . [(b)(1)] is highly flexible, having been designed to
accommodate all relevant interests as they arise . . .
” U.S. v. Microsoft Corp., 165 F.3d 952,
959-60 (D.C. Cir. 1999). In particular, considerations of the
public interest, the need for confidentiality, and privacy
interests are relevant factors to be balanced. See, e.g.,
Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 35 n. 21
(1984) (“Although ... Rule [26(c)] contains no specific
reference to privacy or to other rights or interests that may
be implicated, such matters are implicit in the broad purpose
and language of the Rule.”).
at issue in this case are NaturMed's request for
production of internal documents; its request to produce
witnesses for depositions; and its request to produce batch
records. At oral argument, Bactolac agreed to produce any
internal documents related to the NaturMed product at issue.
Accordingly, the court will grant the motion to compel with
respect to Bactolac's internal documents. Bactolac shall
produce responsive internal documents on or before April 16,
also seeks production of the full names and last known
addresses of two of Bactolac's employees who blended the
NaturMed product as well as two other employees who blended
other lots of products. Bactolac produced the full names and
last known addresses of blenders identified as Mario and
Emilio. Bactolac also agreed to produce the blender who still
works at Bactolac for deposition. Bactolac acknowledged that
a fourth employee who blended products is no longer employed
by Bactolac. With respect to the fourth employee who is no
longer employed by Bactolac, and the employee blender who is
still employed by Bactolac, the court will order Bactolac to
provide the names of these blenders and the last known
address of the blender no longer employed within 14 days from
the date of this order. Bactolac shall also make the employee
blender who is still employed available for deposition within
sixty days from the date of this order.
seeks to depose Bactolac employees Vijay Bhatt and Dr. Pailla
Reddy. Bactolac agrees that to produce these employees for
deposition. Accordingly, the court will require Bactolac to
make these witnesses available for deposition within sixty
days of the date of this order.
NaturMed seeks batch sheets related to the certification of
the ingredients in lots of products at issue in this case.
These documents go to NaturMed's cross-claim which has
not yet been filed. Accordingly, the court will reserve
resolution of this issue pending resolution of NaturMed's
motion to convert counterclaims into cross claims.
for the reasons as stated and for good cause, it is
that the motion to compel (doc. # 126) be and is hereby
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows:
1. With respect to the request for NaturMed's request for
internal documents, the motion to compel be and is hereby
GRANTED to the extent that Bactolac shall produce any
responsive internal documents related to ...