Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The act of making boilerplate objections to discovery requests is prima facie evidence of a Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g) violation, because if the lawyer had paused, made a reasonable inquiry, and discovered facts that demonstrated the burdensomeness or excessive cost of the discovery request, he or she should have disclosed them in the objection, as both Fed. R. Civ. P. 33 and 34 responses must state objections with particularity, on pain of waiver. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(4).
On January 31, 2008, Glenda Mancia, Maria Daysi Reyes, Alfredo Aguirre, Henri Sosa, Sandra Suzao and Obdulia Martinez ("Plaintiffs"), individually and on behalf of all similarly situated employees, filed a collective action against Mayflower Textile Services Co., Mayflower Healthcare Textile Services, LLC, Mayflower Surgical Service, Inc., Mayflower Uniforms and Medical Supplies, LLC, Lunil Services Agency, LLC, Argo Enterprises, Inc. and Mukul M. Mehta ("Defendants") for declaratory and monetary relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. The Plaintiffs contended that the Defendants violated section § 207(a)(1) of the FLSA by knowingly failing to compensate Plaintiffs for overtime work and illegally deducting wages from the Plaintiffs' pay. The Plaintiffs further alleged that the supposed failure to provide overtime pay was a violation of the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employ. §§ 3-401 et seq., and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act, Md. Code Ann., Labor & Employ. §§ 3-501 et seq. Plaintiffs had served Fed. R. Civ. P. 33 interrogatories and Fed. R. Civ. P. 34 document production requests on each of the defendants.
Did the boilerplate objection to the interrogatory and document production requests waive any legitimate objection defendants may have had?
The court held that defendants' boilerplate objection to plaintiffs' interrogatory and document production requests waived any legitimate objection defendants may have had: either defendants lacked a factual basis to make the objections that they did, which would violate Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g), or they complied with Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g) and discovered facts that would support a legitimate objection, but they were waived for failure to specify them as required. However, Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C) imposed an obligation on the court, sua sponte, to limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed by the rules under certain circumstances. The court had concerns that the discovery sought by plaintiffs might have been excessive or overly burdensome, given the nature of the wage and hour case, the few number of named plaintiffs and the relatively modest amounts of wages claimed for each. However, the record lacked facts to enable the court to make a determination of overbreadth or burden under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C).