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Kuhns v. City of Allentown

October 26, 2010

KATHLEEN KUHNS, ET AL
v.
CITY OF ALLENTOWN, ET AL



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elizabeth T. Hey United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In this action, three anti-abortion protesters ("Plaintiffs") allege that Defendants Allentown Women's Center and its executive director, Jennifer Boulanger (collectively "AWC"), conspired with Defendants City of Allentown and Police Chief Roger MacLean (collectively "City Defendants") to violate Plaintiffs' constitutional and statutory rights to communicate religious and political anti-abortion messages to AWC patients.*fn1 Presently before the court is Plaintiffs' informal letter motion to compel supplemental discovery, Defendants' letter responses thereto, and Plaintiffs' and the City Defendants' supplemental letter responses submitted following a teleconference with me.*fn2 For the following reasons, I will deny the motion.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The various parties in this case have a long adversarial history, which has been discussed in my prior Memoranda and Orders. Therefore, I will limit the facts to those which bear directly upon the present dispute.

By Order dated February 4, 2010, I extended the discovery deadline in this case to March 25, 2010. See Doc. 71. The parties continued to engage in discovery beyond the discovery deadline. For example, counsel for Plaintiffs sent letters to City Defendants' counsel requesting supplemental discovery (May 25 & May 26, 2010), noting alleged deficiencies in supplemental discovery received (June 16 & 22, 2010), and requesting additional supplemental discovery (July 16, 2010).*fn3

During the summer of 2010, pursuant to the motions deadlines set by Judge Gardner, the parties filed various motions for summary judgment. Judge Gardner heard oral argument on the summary judgment motions on October 1, 2010, which was also the deadline for motions in limine. See Docs. 86, 107. On October 14, 2010, Judge Gardner further ordered that the parties' trial memoranda are due on October 28, 2010, and that trial shall commence on November 29, 2010. See Doc. 110.

Meanwhile, by letter sent to my chambers and dated October 13, 2010, Plaintiffs' counsel raised the present informal motion seeking a court order compelling the City Defendants to provide additional supplemental discovery.*fn4 After receipt of responsive letters from AWC and the City Defendants, I held a teleconference with counsel on October 18, 2010, at the conclusion of which I directed the parties to submit additional letters addressing the duty to supplement discovery set forth in Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e). Additional letters were received from Plaintiffs and the City Defendants.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Applicable Law

It is axiomatic that a trial court has broad discretion to fashion discovery orders.

See Florsheim Shoe Co., Div. of Interco, Inc. v. United States, 744 F.2d 787, 797 (Fed. Cir. 1984) ("Questions of the scope and conduct of discovery are, of course, committed to the discretion of the trial court."). In the Third Circuit, "it is well recognized that the federal rules allow broad and liberal discovery." Pacitti v. Macy's, 193 F.3d 766, 777-78 (3d Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). Supplemental discovery is governed by Rule 26(e), which provides:

(1) In General. A party . . . who has responded to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for admission [] must supplement or correct its disclosure or response:

(A) in a timely manner if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been known to the ...


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