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United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division
February 7, 2022, Decided; February 8, 2022, Filed
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Second Motion for Sanctions Seeking Default Judgment, (DE 117); Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment, (DEs 119-120); and the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation ("M&R"), (DE 143), recommending that this Court grant in part Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions and strike Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment, allow an adverse inference jury instruction, and award Plaintiffs' attorney's fees and costs. For the reasons stated herein, the Court ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's M&R.
Neither party has objected to the Magistrate Judge's statement of the factual and procedural background of this case. [*2] Therefore, the Court adopts the facts as set forth in the M&R.
In addition to the background in the M&R, the Court provides the following summation of relevant events which includes one successful motion for sanctions, seven successful motions to compel, and the instant second motion for sanctions:
July 3, 2020 (1st Motion to Compel): Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel Defendant City of Charlotte ("City") to serve verified responses to their discovery requests and find that all objections had been waived. (DE 32). In response, the City contended that it had been unable to have its discovery responses verified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (DE 36). Magistrate Judge Cayer granted in part and denied in part the motion, ordering that within forty-five days the City must serve complete verified responses to Plaintiffs. (DE 37).
January 11, 2021 (2nd Motion to Compel): Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel the City to produce documents regarding applicant/candidate files, including related scores, interview notes, and reports of recruits who were hired over Plaintiff Phifer in 2016 and 2017 as requested in RFP 4. (DE 46). Plaintiffs had been asking for these documents for over a year and the [*3] City repeatedly affirmed that it would produce these documents. Id. In response, the City contended that it had been unable to complete the document request due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also noted that the documents were "already in the process of being produced." (DE 48). Magistrate Judge Cayer granted the motion, ordering that within fifteen days the City must produce the documents. (Text-Only Order Feb. 1, 2021).
March 2, 2021 (3rd Motion to Compel): Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel the deposition of Mayor Viola Lyles and City Manager Marcus Jones as multiple Plaintiffs had made complaints of race discrimination within the Charlotte Fire Department to one or both of Mayor Lyles and City Manager Jones. (DE 51). Since the previous summer, the City had agreed it would make them both available for deposition. However, in response to the motion, the City contended that it should not have to make Mayor Lyles and City Manager Jones available as Plaintiffs' "failed to point to any piece of discovery that shows either . . . have unique personal knowledge of the issues in this case." (DE 53). Magistrate Judge Cayer granted the motion, ordering that within thirty days the City must [*4] make both individuals available for deposition. (Text-Only Order Apr. 13, 2021).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22593 *; 2022 WL 385163
WILL SUMMERS, JR., et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF CHARLOTTE, Defendant.
Prior History: Summers v. City of Charlotte, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 252926 (W.D.N.C., Nov. 30, 2021)
documents, discovery, motion to compel, magistrate judge, Orders, motion for sanctions, sanctions, duty to preserve, responses, adverse inference, recommendation, deposition, destroyed, attorney's fees, grant a motion, verified, notice, summary judgment motion, discovery request, interrogatories, candidates