United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DR. HENG SHI, Plaintiff,
CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA, et al., Defendants.
A. SITARSKI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an employment discrimination case. Plaintiff Dr. Heng Shi
(“Plaintiff”) filed a Motion to Compel the
production of additional written discovery and to re-depose a
non-party witness. [Pl.'s Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 13,
(“hereinafter “Pl.'s Mot.”), and
Memorandum of Law, ECF No. 13-1 (hereinafter “Pl's
Memo. of Law”)]. Defendant Children's Hospital of
Philadelphia (“Defendant” or “CHOP”)
has filed a response. [Def.'s Resp., ECF No. 19
(hereinafter “Resp.”)]. For the reasons discussed
below, Plaintiff's motion will be granted in part, and
denied in part.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court writes primarily for the parties, who are familiar with
the background and procedural posture of the case. Plaintiff
worked for sixteen years as a Mass. Spectrometrist Specialist
(“Mass Specialist”) in the Chemistry Laboratory
of CHOP. (Compl. ECF No. 1 at ¶ ¶ 7-8). She was
terminated on November 17, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 57).
According to CHOP, all Mass. Specialist positions in the
Chemistry Lab were eliminated due to an organizational
restructuring that consolidated all mass spectrometry work in
the Metabolic Laboratory. (Resp. 2-3). This reorganization
allegedly led to the termination of Plaintiff and the other
Mass. Specialist in the Chemistry Lab, a Caucasian male named
Mark Eisman. (Id.). In the months after her
termination, Plaintiff applied for job openings, allegedly
created by the elimination of her position in the Chemistry
Lab, but Plaintiff was not hired for any of these open
positions. (Compl. ¶¶ 68, 70; Affidavit of Robert
F. Donahue, Ex. A, ¶7, Pl. Memo. of Law, ECF No. 13-3).
thus brought this action against her former employer CHOP and
two individual defendants, Vipul Shah and Tracey Polsky,
asserting claims of discrimination based on national origin
and race, hostile work environment, harassment, retaliation
for making internal complaints and filing charges with the
Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and retaliation
based on CHOP's alleged failure to rehire her to other
positions for which she applied after her separation.
has proceeded, with the parties conducting depositions of
current and former CHOP employees, including Plaintiff's
former supervisor, Theresa Vaccaro (“Vaccaro”).
In addition, Defendant produced nearly 6, 000 pages of
documents responsive to Plaintiff's multiple written
discovery requests. Defendant's production included
responsive emails with attachments such as Excel
spreadsheets. Specifically, Defendant produced Excel
spreadsheets for certain fiscal years documenting the budget
of all CHOP laboratories, listing all employee terminations
in all CHOP laboratories, and identifying all open positions
across all CHOP Departments. (Bates Numbered Documents CHOP
1390, CHOP 2328, CHOP 2519).
instant motion, Plaintiff seeks to compel: (1) production of
similar Excel spreadsheets for multiple fiscal years before
and after her termination; and (2) the re-deposition of
Theresa Vaccaro to question her further about the terms of
her retirement from CHOP, and the specific details of the
severance package she received upon retirement. As explained
below, I find that Plaintiff is entitled to a limited number
of additional spreadsheets relevant to the issues and time
period at hand, but is not entitled to re-depose Ms. Vaccaro.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow parties to obtain
discovery regarding “any nonprivileged matter that is
relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional
to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the
issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the
parties' relative access to relevant information, the
parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in
resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of
the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Information within the scope of
discovery does not need to be admissible at trial to be
discoverable. Id. While generally liberal,
permissible discovery is not without limitations and should
not serve as a fishing expedition. Upshaw v. Janssen
Research & Development, LLC, No. 11-7574, 2014 WL
1244047, at * 3 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 26, 2014).
to Rule 37, a party who has received evasive or incomplete
answers to discovery requests may move for an order
compelling discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1),
(4). The moving party bears the initial burden of showing
that the requested discovery is relevant. Morrison v.
Phila. Housing Auth., 203 F.R.D. 195, 196 (E.D. Pa.
2001). The burden then shifts to the party opposing discovery
to articulate why discovery should be withheld. Id.
The party resisting production must demonstrate to the court
“that the requested documents either do not come within
the broad scope of relevance defined pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1) or else are of such marginal relevance that the
potential harm occasioned by discovery would outweigh the
ordinary presumption in favor of broad disclosure.”
Young v. Lukens Steel Co., No. 92-6490, 1994 WL
45156, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 10, 1994) (quotations and
Excel Spreadsheets (Plaintiff's Third Request for
Documents Nos. 2 - 4)
firsts asks the Court to compel Defendant to produce Excel
spreadsheets for additional years reflecting data in three
categories: (1) Job Requisition (Open Positions); (2) CHOP
budget information for its main campus; and (3) employee
turnover by month at CHOP's main campus. (Pl. Memo of Law
6-7). I will address each category in the order discussed by
Job Requisition (Open Positions) ...