United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Home Healthcare and Sweet Home Primary Care employed
Plaintiffs as health care workers. Plaintiffs filed this
lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other home health care
workers employed by Sweet Home, alleging Defendants failed to
pay overtime. Before the Court is Defendants' motion to
compel answers to interrogatories and requests for production
of documents. After thoroughly examining each of the disputed
requests, the Court will grant the motion in part and deny it
are direct care workers and home health aides employed by
Defendants. (Pls.' Mem. Law Opp'n Defs.' Mot.
Compel [hereinafter Pls.' Resp.] 1.) Plaintiffs allege
that Defendants did not properly pay overtime wages in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act
(“PMWA”). (Id.) The parties dispute
whether Defendants should have classified Plaintiffs as
employees or as independent contractors. (Mem. Law Supp.
Defs.' Mot. Compel [hereinafter Defs.' Mot. Compel]
were originally represented by Bochetto & Lentz, but
obtained new counsel on April 14, 2017. (Entry of Appearance,
ECF No. 32.) Defendants' new counsel served identical
requests for documents on each named plaintiff on the same
day. (Defs.' Mot. Compel 3.) On April 18, 2017,
Defendants served identical interrogatories on each named
plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiffs responded with similar
objections to the document requests and interrogatories on
May 17 and May 18, respectively. (Id.) Fact
discovery closes on July 17, 2017. (Ct.'s Order, ECF No.
Plaintiffs' allegedly insufficient answers, Defendants
filed a motion to compel on May 26, 2017. Among
Defendants' discovery requests, Defendants'
Interrogatories, No. 4, asks Plaintiffs to disclose their
damage calculation. (Defs.' Mot. Compel Ex. 3, ¶ 4.)
In response, Plaintiffs state the damages “can be
summarized as the failure to pay them the time and one-half
owed to them for hours worked over forty in a work
week.” (Id.) Plaintiffs also provided
Defendants with a spreadsheet created from personnel records
disclosed by Defendants to Plaintiffs. As a supplement to the
spreadsheet, Plaintiffs submitted a declaration by Amy R.
Brandt, counsel for Plaintiffs, cataloging how she created
the spreadsheet. (Defs.' Mot. Recons. Protective Order
Ex. 1.) In response, Defendants noticed Brandt for a
deposition, referring to paragraphs 6, 7, and 19 of her
declaration and purportedly treating Brandt as a damages
expert. (Pls.' Mot. Protective Order Ex. 1.) Plaintiffs
subsequently filed a motion for a protective order to quash
the notice of deposition. The Court entered the protective
order on June 7, 2017, and Defendants' moved the Court to
reconsider on June 13, 2017.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 governs the discovery process.
This process allows the parties to obtain “any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “Relevance in this
context has been ‘construed broadly to encompass any
matter that could bear on, or that could reasonably lead to
other matter that could bear on any issue that is or may be
in the case.'” United States ex rel. Bergman v.
Abbott Labs., Civ. A. No. 09-4264, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
106065, at *7-8 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 11, 2016) (quoting
Oppenheimer Fund v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351
(1978)). The scope of discovery is broad, but it is not
unlimited. See Bayer AG v. Betachem, Inc., 173 F.3d
188, 191 (3d Cir. 1999).
a party receives evasive or incomplete answers to a discovery
request, they are permitted to bring a motion to compel
disclosure” under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37.
In re Auto. Refinishing Paint Antitrust Litig., MDL
No. 1426, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34129, at *6 (E.D. Pa. May
26, 2006). “The party resisting disclosure bears the
burden of persuasion.” Id. Objections must
“specifically” show how the request is not
relevant, or is overly broad, burdensome, or oppressive.
Josephs v. Harris Corp., 677 F.2d 985, 992 (3d Cir.
1982) (quotation marks omitted).
object to Defendants' discovery requests for several
reasons. First, Plaintiffs challenge many requests as
“irrelevant.” Second, Plaintiffs object to
certain requests because the information is in the possession
of Defendants. Third, Plaintiffs claim some of the requests
are “overbroad” and “unduly
burdensome.” Fourth, Plaintiffs argue that disclosure
of tax returns and bank account records is improper due to
confidentiality concerns. Fifth, Plaintiffs assert
attorney-client privilege for two contested requests.
Finally, the Court will narrow several of Defendants'
is significantly more broad than just evidence admissible at
trial; it includes relevant information that is proportional
to the needs of the case. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
26(b)(1). In FLSA cases, “courts determining whether a
worker is an employee or an independent contractor . . . look
to the economic realities of the relationship between the
alleged employer and employee.” Verma v. 3001
Castor, Inc., Civ. A. No. 13-3034, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
88459, at *15-16 (E.D. Pa. June 30, 2014) (citing Donovan
v. DialAmerica Mktg., Inc., 757 F.2d 1376, 1382-83 (3d
Cir. 1985)). “Pennsylvania courts also undertake a
fact-intensive, multi-factor examination” referred to
as the “economic ...