United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
J. Shelby, Chief District Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
M. WARNER, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
District Judge Robert J. Shelby referred this case to Chief
Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Before the court is Plaintiff Jeffrey
Rosenthal's (“Rosenthal”) (1) motion to
compel production of documents and (2) motion to expedite his
motion to compel. The court has carefully reviewed the
written memoranda submitted by the parties. Pursuant to Civil
Rule 7-1(f) of the Rules of Practice for the United States
District Court for the District of Utah, the court has
concluded that oral argument is not necessary and will decide
the motions on the basis of the written memoranda.
See DUCivR 7-1(f).
motion to compel, Rosenthal requests a court order requiring
Defendant Matthew Morris (“Morris”) to fully
respond to Rosenthal's interrogatories no. 19 and 20 and
document requests no. 5 and 6 (collectively, “Discovery
Requests”). The Discovery Requests seek information
about Morris' financial status. Rosenthal argues that
discovery of such information is proper when punitive damages
are claimed, as in this case.
response, Morris relies upon Utah Code section
78B-8-201(2)(a) to argue that Rosenthal is not entitled to
the requested discovery concerning Morris' financial
status. Section 78B-8-201(2)(a) provides:
Discovery concerning a party's wealth or financial
condition may only be allowed after the party seeking
punitive damages has established a prima facie case on the
record that an award of punitive damages is reasonably likely
against the party about whom discovery is sought and, if
disputed, the court is satisfied that the discovery is not
sought for the purpose of harassment.
Utah Code § 78B-8-201(2)(a).
argument has been previously considered by this court and
rejected. See Free Conference Call Holdings,
Inc. v. Powerhouse Commc'ns, LLC, No.
2:07-CV-893-CW, 2009 WL 2916749, at *2 (D. Utah Sept. 8,
2009) (“[T]he requirement that claimant establish a
prima facie case applies to the admissibility of evidence
about financial status, not its discoverability. More
importantly, discovery is a procedural matter that is
governed in federal court by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Thus, state discovery practices are usually
irrelevant.”) (quotations, citations, and footnotes
omitted); see also E.E.O.C. v. Holmes & Holmes
Indus., Inc., No. 2:10-CV-955-DAK-PMW, 2011 WL 5118306,
at *3 (D. Utah Oct. 27, 2011) (same). The court concludes
that the reasoning of those cases applies here. Accordingly,
Morris' argument is without merit, and Rosenthal's
motion to compel is granted. Morris shall provide full
responses to the Discovery Requests within thirty (30) days
after the date of this order.
of his motion to compel, Rosenthal requests an award of
reasonable expenses incurred in connection with his motion.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A). Based upon the
arguments presented, the court concludes that Morris'
position was substantially justified. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)(ii). Furthermore, the court concludes
that an award of reasonable expenses is not warranted under
the circumstances. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
37(a)(5)(A)(iii). Therefore, Rosenthal's request for an
award of reasonable expenses is denied.
light of the foregoing rulings, Rosenthal's motion to
expedite his motion to compel has been rendered moot.
summary, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Rosenthal's motion to compel production of
documents is GRANTED.
2. Morris shall provide full responses to the Discovery
Requests within thirty (30) days after the ...