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Gordon v. T.G.R. Logistics, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Wyoming

May 10, 2017

BRENDA GORDON, Plaintiff,
v.
T.G.R. LOGISTICS, INC. d/b/a T/G/R/ TRANSPORT; and IGOR V. VARGA, individually, Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO COMPEL

          MARK L. CARMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This comes before the Court on the Defendant T.G.R. Logistics, Inc.'s motion to compel discovery production. The Court being fully advised in the premise hereby finds and orders:

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant filed its Combined Motion and Brief to Compel Discovery Production from Plaintiff Brenda Gordon on April 21, 2017. [Doc 20]. Defendant seeks an order requiring Plaintiff to produce an electronic copy of her entire Facebook account history for the two Facebook accounts she has identified[1].

         Defendant served the following Request for Production on Plaintiff on January 25, 2017:

REQUEST NO. 11: Utilizing the instructions attached hereto, download and produce an electronic copy of your Facebook account history to the enclosed flash drive.

         Neither party provided Plaintiffs response to this request for production, but from the arguments of the parties it is clear that the Plaintiff has not, and will not, voluntarily produce the Plaintiffs entire Facebook history. Nevertheless this Court is not aware of the specific objections Plaintiff presented in her response to the discovery request.

         The parties have conferred and complied with the January 24, 2014 General Order and conducted an informal hearing with this Court on April 10, 2017. After hearing the nature of the pending motion the Court granted Defendant leave to file its motion to compel with briefing.

         Plaintiff was driving her motor vehicle on June 28, 2015 on U.S. Highway 309 in Lincoln County, Wyoming. As she was executing a left-hand turn she was struck by a tractor-trailer unit owned and operated by Defendant T.G.R. Logistics, Inc. and driven by Defendant Varga which was attempting to execute a pass in the left lane. As a result of this collision Plaintiff alleges numerous physical injuries, pain (back, neck and jaw), traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs Facebook account history is relevant and necessary to its defense of the damages claimed by Plaintiff.

         The Plaintiff responds that the request for the Facebook account history exceeds the permissible discovery limits of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26. Plaintiff further asserts that the request is unduly burdensome, lacks relevance and is overly invasive of Plaintiffs privacy. Plaintiff emphasizes that she has downloaded and produced the information from her Facebook accounts that references the accident or her injuries. Further the Plaintiff has provided the Facebook information for the following keywords as set forth by Defendant in its request for production number 12 [Doc 20-2 Page 4]. Those keywords are: accident; attorney; TGR; Igor Varga; Kemmerer; Lincoln County, Wyoming; brain injury; concussion; posttraumatic stress disorder; and PTSD.

         Discussion

         The scope of discovery is defined in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1):

Scope in General. Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may 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. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

         There are three basic steps for the court to consider when determining the appropriate scope of discovery under Rule 26(b)(1). Those steps are: (1) is the information privileged; (2) is it relevant to a claim or defense; and (3) is it proportional to the needs of the case. There being no claim of ...


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