United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
EARLINE COLE, CLETUS COLE, and PRECIOUS BEARCRANE, a minor child, Plaintiffs,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS, SALT LAKE CITY FIELD OFFICE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS, BILLINGS OFFICE,  Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HADDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 28, 2019, Plaintiffs moved to compel responses to
discovery, seeking the Court to compel Defendants to provide
more detailed responses to certain interrogatories and
Court on March 7, 2019, inter alia: (1) adopted,
accepted, and affirmed Magistrate Judge Cavan's Findings
and Recommendation as to Defendant Matthew Oravec's
Motion to Dismiss; and (2) ordered limited additional
discovery. The single claim remaining relates to
First Claim for Relief of the Second Amended Complaint, which
alleges equal protection violations against the
Motion to Compel is fully briefed and ripe for decision.
Court is vested with broad discretion in management of
discovery.Discovery is permitted for "any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case." Proportionality is assessed by
"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." Although the
moving party has the ultimate burden of showing that
discovery sought is relevant, the Court "look[s] to
evidence and arguments from both sides in deciding whether
discovery ... is permitted under Rule 26."
contend that the responses sought are both irrelevant and
disproportionate to Plaintiffs' remaining claim. In
addition, Defendants claim some of the information sought
has, in fact, already been provided. Plaintiffs nonetheless
assert that further disclosures are required since
"[u]nder Rule 26, relevant information is any
information that 'appears reasonably calculated to lead
to the discovery of admissible
claimed discovery standard is incorrect. The "reasonably
calculated" standard cited by Plaintiffs was removed
from Rule 26 in 2015.
Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
has explained, "[t]he phrase [reasonably calculated] has
been used by some, incorrectly, to define the scope of
discovery . .. [t]he 'reasonably calculated' phrase
has continued to create problems, however, and is removed by
these amendments." With the 2015 amendment, "[t]he
test... is whether evidence is 'relevant to any
party's claim or defense,' not whether it is
'reasonably calculated to lead to admissible
addition, Plaintiffs fail to address the 2015 proportionality
standard. At bottom it is the obligation of the Court both to
determine whether the discovery sought is: (1) relevant to
any party's claim or defense; and (2) in proportional in
light of the factors outlined in Rule 26(b)(1).
Interrogatory # 2. Please
identify and describe the processes and procedures by which
you work and coordinate with state victims' assistance
programs and/or personnel.
is made to this interrogatory on grounds that it is
unreasonably broad, is not reasonably limited in temporal
scope, and is irrelevant.
interrogatory as framed and as served on Defendants fails to
specify or limit the request to any relevant time period.
Processes and procedures undoubtably change from time to
time. The request is overbroad. No. additional response is
Interrogatory # 4, Please
identify and describe any and all complaints, whether
informally in writing or orally, or judicial or
administrative, received you [sic] regarding Defendant Oravec
during the period he has worked for the FBI, including but
not limited to the substance of the complaint, the person
making the complaint, the person(s) receiving the complaint,
the person(s) who were told about the complaint, and the
actions taken by [sic] in response to the
interrogatory is objected to on grounds that it is overbroad
and irrelevant. The response provided nevertheless states
that a thorough search of the FBI complaint system disclosed
no additional information not already known to the
Plaintiffs. The response is adequate. The objection to the
response is denied.
Interrogatory # 7. Please identify and
describe the processes and procedures by which you work and
coordinate with state law enforcement agencies and/or
interrogatory is objected to on grounds that it is overbroad,
unduly burdensome, not proportional to the needs of the case,
and that '"work and coordinate with' are
undefined and consequently do not allow Defendants to
formulate an appropriate response." The Court
agrees. Absent some limitation, any description of the
process by which work and coordination with state law
enforcement or personnel is carried out is potentially
endless. The objection to the response to Interrogatory No. 7
Document Request # 2.
Please produce any and all documents containing, referencing
or related in any way to investigatory procedures, processes
and/or instructions regarding FBI investigations, including
but not limited to any and all manuals and handbooks, in use
during the period January 1, 2000 to the
request is objected to on grounds that it is overbroad,
unduly burdensome, and not proportional to the needs of the
case. Notwithstanding the objection, the response provided
references policy and procedures followed in Indian ...