United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
KIM R. GIBSON, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's recent discovery motions (ECF Nos. 20, 21, and 23). The Court held oral argument on these motions on May 5, 2014, at which time counsel for Defendant stated that his client consents to the relief requested in ECF Nos. 20 and 23. Counsel for Defendant further stated that, no later than May 12, 2014, his client would fully respond to all outstanding interrogatories and discovery requests as discussed in the motion to compel at ECF No. 21. For purposes of this Order, therefore, the sole issue remaining is whether the Court should award Plaintiff her reasonable costs and attorney's fees incurred in filing the motion to compel.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(1) provides that, "[o]n notice to other parties and all affected persons, a party may move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery." A motion to compel discovery must include a "certification that the movant 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." Id.
Relevant here, in granting a motion to compel, a court must award the payment of reasonable expenses in appropriate circumstances:
[T]he court must, after giving an opportunity to be heard, require the party or deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion... to pay the movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including attorney's fees. But the court must not order this payment if:
(i) the movant filed the motion before attempting in good faith to obtain the disclosure or discovery without court action;
(ii) the opposing party's nondisclosure, response, or objection was substantially justified; or
(iii) other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(S). Sanctions under Rule 37(a)(S) are compensatory in nature and are intended to make the prevailing party whole for the expenses caused by an opponent's obstinacy. GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp., 248 F.R.D. 182, 193 (E.D. Pa. 2008) (citing Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678, 690 n.4 (1978)).
On April 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel Defendant to respond to Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for Production of Documents; Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories; Plaintiff's Second Set of Interrogatories; Plaintiff's Second Set of Requests for Production of Documents; and Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for Admission. (ECF No. 21). The motion is over 100 pages in length, includes 18 exhibits, and describes several instances in which Defendant has failed to timely respond to discovery requests.
After reviewing the motion to compel, the Court finds that Plaintiff has attempted in good faith to obtain the requested discovery without court action. The Court further finds that Defendant was placed on notice of the motion to compel before it was filed. As well, Defendant did not file a written response to the motion to compel and, during oral argument, counsel for Defendant did not justify Defendant's failure to timely respond to the relevant discovery ...