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Phoenix Four, Inc. v. Strategic Resources Corp.

June 2, 2006

PHOENIX FOUR, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
STRATEGIC RESOURCES CORPORATION, PAUL SCHACK, CHRISTIAN M. VAN PELT, JAMES J. HOPKINS III, ROBERT H. ARNOLD, R.H. ARNOLD & CO. INCORPORATED, JOEL G. SHAPIRO, AND JGS ADVISORS LLC, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harold Baer, Jr., District Judge

OPINION & ORDER

Defendants Strategic Resources Corporation ("SRC"), Paul Schack, Christian M. Van Pelt, and James J. Hopkins III (collectively the "SRC Defendants") move this Court for an Order:

(i) compelling plaintiff Phoenix Four, Inc. ("Phoenix") to provide substantive responses to their Requests for Admission and First and Second Sets of Interrogatories; or, in the alternative,

(ii) deeming those Requests for Admission admitted and precluding Phoenix from introducing at trial evidence responsive to those Interrogatories; and

(iii) granting them attorneys' fees and costs associated with bringing this motion. For the reasons set forth below, Phoenix's motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. BACKGROUND

On August 25, 2005, I issued a Pretrial Scheduling Order ("PTSO") that set March 12, 2006, as the deadline for the completion of all but expert discovery. On February 8, 2006, I granted the SRC Defendants' request to extend the discovery deadline by thirty days, and also noted that discovery could continue even after the expiration of the extended deadline.

Also on February 8, 2006, the SRC Defendants served Phoenix with their First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Admission. Phoenix responded to this discovery request on March 17, 2006. It interposed several objections to the SRC Defendants' two requests for admission and, according to the SRC Defendants, failed to provide any meaningful or substantive response to six of the thirteen interrogatories.

On April 20, 2006, the SRC Defendants served a second set of nine interrogatories on Phoenix. On April 24, 2006, Phoenix wrote to the SRC Defendants that, because the interrogatories were not timely served, Phoenix would not respond to them. On May 8, 2006, in response to a letter from the SRC Defendants that attempted to resolve the discovery disputes, Phoenix wrote that it would consider answering the untimely interrogatories once it had reviewed 172 additional boxes of documents produced by the SRC Defendants. As to the Requests for Admission and First Set of Interrogatories, however, Phoenix stated that it stood by its previous responses. This motion followed.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Phoenix's General Objections

In response to the SRC Defendants' First Set of Requests for Admission and Interrogatories, Phoenix interposed five general objections to the effect that the requests and interrogatories imposed disclosure obligations on it greater than those authorized under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26, 33, and 36. See Phoenix's Objections & Resps. to SRC Defs.' First Set of Reqs. For Admis. & Interrogs. ("Phoenix Objections"), Ex. 6 to Decl. of Mark S. Katz, counsel for SRC Defs. ("Katz Decl."), at 1-2.

As to Objections 2 through 4, Phoenix shall interpret the terms "Phoenix," "SRC," and "BDO International" as it has defined them in those objections. As to Objection 1, Phoenix shall follow Rules 26, 33, and 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules 26.3 and 33.3 of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in responding to the SRC Defendants' discovery requests. Objection 5 fails to meet the requirement of Rule 36 that the objection "be addressed to the specific matter with reasons 'therefore ...


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