The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER
The Court has twelve motions currently before it for decision in this case. Local Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) states that no attorney shall "present to the Court vexatious motions . . . or shall otherwise so multiply the proceedings in a case as to increase unreasonably and vexatiously the costs thereof." After review of each of the twelve motions outstanding, the Court does not believe that any can be called "vexatious". On the other hand, many are not substantial enough to require discussion and will be dealt with in the accompanying Order. Certainly some might better have been resolved among counsel or perhaps withdrawn after further reflection. The Court notes the provisions of Local Rule 16 only to alert counsel that in the future the Court will refuse to consider any vexatious motions, and will, under the implied authority of Local Rule 16(c), order them stricken from the record.
By Memorandum and Order dated May 30, 1979, the Court ordered plaintiffs' lead counsel disqualified from further representation of the plaintiffs in this case. Most of the briefing of the instant motions was done by disqualified counsel. Nevertheless, the defendants will not be prejudiced by the Court's considering any of the pleadings of former counsel. Most of the motions involve purely legal issues which do not relate in any way to the prior representation. The briefs present arguments that any competent lawyer might have made in the circumstances of this case.
The discovery requests made by plaintiffs' former counsel present a more difficult question, because in theory the prior representation of certain of the defendants might have enabled counsel to "know what to ask for". After a careful review of the requests, however, the Court has found none that appears to be based on special knowledge. Given the facts in the plaintiffs' possession and the allegations of the complaint, any competent lawyer might have made similar requests.
Any prejudice to the defendants confidentiality interests was adequately cured by the May 30, 1979, Order of Disqualification.
The plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Answers to Interrogatories is granted as to Interrogatories 1(g-1), 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. The defendants shall file full and complete and responsive answers within thirty days of the date of this Order, or the Court will impose sanctions.
The interrogatories in question go to the heart of the case. After consideration of a similar motion to compel the Court has already ordered them to be answered. The defendants, however, filed patently insufficient answers, including objections unsupported by adequate explanations therefor, and unsupportable attempts to rely on Rule 33(c), F.R.Civ.P. These interrogatories must be answered and this litigation shall proceed, and the Court will take all appropriate steps to enforce timely compliance with this Order.
Interrogatory No. 5 stands on a slightly different footing, since it is really a request for production of documents. The request is massive, but the documents sought are relevant to the subject matter of this lawsuit. Rule 26(b)(1), F.R.Civ.P.
Nevertheless, the request as framed appears burdensome. Without prejudice to the plaintiffs' right to renew their request for items not granted, the Court orders the defendants to produce the documents requested in sub-paragraphs a, b, c, d, e, f, g, j, m, o, q, r, § of Interrogatory 5 within sixty (60) days of the date of this Order.
The plaintiffs' Motion to Strike Various Affirmative Defenses is denied. The Court has not been briefed, and will not speculate, as to whether a finding that the alleged maritime contracts did not exist would deprive it of subject matter jurisdiction, assuming (without deciding) incomplete diversity of citizenship. However, the presence of defenses disclaiming diversity do not prejudice the plaintiffs, and in ...