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Woodbury v. Victory Van Lines

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 16, 2019

SHERA WOODBURY, Plaintiff,
v.
VICTORY VAN LINES d/b/a GREAT NATION MOVING, LLC, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          TIMOTHY J. SULLIVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This Report and Recommendation addresses the Motion for Sanctions (“Motion”) filed by Defendant Victory Van Lines d/b/a Great Nation Moving, LLC (“Victory”).[1] (ECF No. 97.) Plaintiff Shera Woodbury (“Woodbury”) has not responded to the Motion and the time for doing so has passed. Because Victory seeks dispositive relief in its motion, this Report and Recommendation is submitted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). See also Loc. Rule 301.5(b). For the reasons set forth below, I recommend that the Court grant Victory's Motion and dismiss Woodbury's case with prejudice.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Woodbury brought this case against her former employer, Victory, to recover for discrimination on the basis of sex, national origin, and disability in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112 to 12117.[2] A scheduling order was initially entered more than one year ago, on January 3, 2018. (ECF No. 50.) A second scheduling order was entered on November 8, 2018. (ECF No. 70.) Under the current scheduling order, the deadline for the completion of discovery was March 22, 2019. (Id.)

         On March 21, 2019, the Court granted Victory's motion to compel and ordered Woodbury to “to produce complete and non-evasive responses to Victory's Interrogatories (Nos. 1-6, 11, 13-18, and 20) and complete responses to all of Victory's document production requests” by April 3, 2019. (ECF No. 90 at 6.) The Court cautioned Woodbury that if she failed to comply with the order compelling discovery, Victory may file a motion for sanctions pursuant to Rule 37(b) and the Court may issue the following sanctions:

(i) directing that the matters embraced in the order or other designated facts be taken as established for purposes of the action, as the prevailing party claims; (ii) prohibiting the disobedient party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from introducing designated matters in evidence; (iii) striking pleadings in whole or in part; (iv) staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed; (v) dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in part; (vi) rendering a default judgment against the disobedient party; or (vii) treating as contempt of court the failure to obey any order except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2)(A)(i)-(vii).

(Id.)

         On April 5, 2019, after the deadline for Woodbury to comply with the order compelling discovery had passed, Victory sought leave of the Court to file a motion for sanctions. (ECF No. 91.) In its letter, Victory described the deficiencies in Woodbury's discovery production. (Id.) The Court held an on-the-record telephone conference on April 10, 2019, to discuss Victory's proposed motion for sanctions. (ECF Nos. 93 & 101.) During the telephone conference, Woodbury equivocated about whether she had produced all of the discovery required by the Court's previous order. The Court granted Victory leave to file its motion for sanctions and established a briefing schedule. (ECF No. 94.) Victory filed the Motion in accordance with the briefing schedule, but Woodbury did not file any response.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Woodbury Violated the Order Compelling Discovery

         Victory argues that Woodbury's discovery production is deficient in two ways. First, Woodbury produced a few dozen documents to Victory, even though she previously stated that she had “thousands” of documents to produce in discovery. (ECF No. 97-1 at 7.) Second, Woodbury provided incomplete and evasive answers to Victory's interrogatories. (Id. at 11.) As explained below, I find that Woodbury has violated the Court's order compelling her to produce discovery.

         1. Woodbury's Document Production

         a. Medical Records

         Woodbury has alleged that she suffered physical, mental, and emotional injury in connection with Victory's alleged unlawful conduct and has made a claim for related damages. In order to discover the basis for Woodbury's claim for damages, Victory sought documents pertaining to Woodbury's physical, emotional, and mental health. (Id. at 8.) Victory states that Woodbury “has acknowledged multiple times, including under oath at her depositions, that she has extensive documentation in her possession related to her medical care and treatment.” (Id. (emphasis in original).) Nonetheless, Woodbury has “not produced any of these documents.” (Id. at 9.)

         Victory argues that the prejudice that it will suffer in connection with Woodbury's deficient document production related to her damages is compounded by Woodbury's refusal to disclose the names of her regular medical providers to Victory. (Id.) Although Woodbury has reported during discovery that “she saw lots of doctors, ” she “could not remember the names of her regular neurologist or her therapist.” (Id.) Woodbury stated that the identities of her medical providers were contained in the documents that were in her possession, but she never produced those documents to Victory. (Id.)

         b. Income and ...


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