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Moll v. Telesector Resources Group

September 28, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge


This case was referred to the undersigned by the Hon. William M. Skretny, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), for all pretrial matters, and for hearing and disposition of all non-dispositive motions or applications. Dkt. #15.

Currently before the Court are plaintiff's motion (Dkt. #20), to compel and defendant's motion (Dkt. #25), to quash a subpoena. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion to compel is granted in part and denied in part. As the parties have advised the Court that they have resolved defendant's motion to quash a subpoena, this motion is denied as moot.


Plaintiff has been employed at Telesector Resources Group, Inc., d/b/a Verizon Services Group, since 1990. Dkt. #1, ¶ 8. She was promoted to the position of Systems Analyst in 1997 and continued her employment without incident until sometime in 1998, when a co-worker, Daniel Irving, began to sexually harass her. Dkt. #1, ¶¶ 17-20. Plaintiff also alleges that she was subject to disparate treatment during her pregnancy and denied promotion upon her return from maternity leave. Dkt. #1, ¶¶ 21-27. Daniel Irving continued his sexual harassment of plaintiff upon her return from maternity leave and following his promotion to Sales Engineer Manager, at which time he became plaintiff's direct supervisor. Dkt. #1, ¶¶ 28-35. Plaintiff alleges that male external candidates were hired over qualified internal candidates and afforded preferential compensation packages and that women were denied accommodations and opportunities that were afforded to male employees . Dkt. #1, ¶¶ 35-44, 47, 50, 54, 58-60. She also alleges that defendant found alternative positions for male employees who were not performing their jobs and meeting their goals. Dkt. #1, ¶ 58.

Plaintiff commenced this complaint alleging hostile work environment; disparate treatment on the basis of sex; retaliation following her complaints of discrimination; and violation of the Equal Pay Act. Dkt. #1. By Decision and Order entered September 29, 2005, the Hon. William M. Skretny, U.S.D.J., dismissed plaintiff's claim of hostile work environment; limited plaintiff's disparate treatment and retaliation claims to allegations occurring after November 22, 2002; and limited plaintiff's Equal Pay Act claim to allegations occurring after October 4, 2001. Dkt. #13. The parties have executed a confidentiality agreement.


Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) provides, in relevant part:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party . . . . For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

"The key phrase in this definition--'relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action'-- has been construed broadly to encompass any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978).

"However, pursuant to Rule 26(c), the court may limit discovery even if the information sought is relevant." Tisby v. Buffalo General Hosp., 157 F.R.D. 157, 170 (W.D.N.Y. 1994); Coyne v. Houss, 584 F. Supp. 1105, 1109 (E.D.N.Y. 1984). Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c) provides, in relevant part, that the court "may make any order which justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense . . . ." Moreover, "[t]he management of discovery lies within the sound discretion of the district court, and the court's rulings on discovery will not be overturned on appeal absent an abuse of discretion." Grady v. Affiliated Cent., Inc., 130 F.3d 553, 561 (2d Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 936 (1998); see Robertson v. National Basketball Ass'n, 622 F.2d 34, 35-36 (2d Cir. 1980) ("Protection against unnecessary discovery is discretionary with the trial court and will be reversed only on a clear showing of abuse of discretion.").

Document Request No. 1

Plaintiff seeks the "personnel file or any personnel document, in whatever form(s) ever maintained including, but not limited to, office and personnel files, supervisory files, training files, Human Resources files, and/or any separate file materials and/or computer tape and/or computer stored personnel record maintained on" fourteen named individuals, including plaintiff, and any other individual who held the position of Sales Engineer (Level I, II, III or IV), Sales Engineer Manager, and Technical Sales Support in the Buffalo Officer of the Enterprise Solutions Group from 2001 to present, "including, but not limited to, performance evaluations, pay records, discipline records, work histories, training and experience records, transfer, promotion, and/or demotion records and review materials."

Defendant states that it has provided the personnel files for potential comparators and for plaintiff's supervisors, but denies any obligation to produce personnel records for six individuals who have never supervised plaintiff or worked as a sales engineer with her. Dkt. #30, pp.8-10. Specifically, defendant asserts that Mark Van Hoesen, Branch Vice President for Verizon Business (formerly known as the Enterprise Solutions Group), was three management levels above plaintiff, managed a sales region spanning three states, and never directly supervised plaintiff's daily activities. Dkt. #30, p.10, n.5. Defendant asserts that Christoper Sacco and Robert Dixon each held the position of Branch Sales Engineering Manager, which was two management levels above plaintiff and encompassed a sales region spanning three states, but never involved direct supervision of plaintiff's daily activities. Dkt. #30, p.10, n.5. Defendant also asserts that: Michael Finnegan held the position of Project Manager, which involved distinct job duties from plaintiff and reported to a different manager than plaintiff; Don Donahue held the position of Branch Sales Engineering Manager, then became a Regional Sales Manager working in Syracuse and Albany, but never supervised plaintiff; and that Ray Brogan held the position of Corporate Account Manager and neither supervised plaintiff nor reported to the same supervisor as plaintiff. Dkt. #30, p.10, n.5.

Plaintiff replies that it is appropriate for plaintiff to discover the personnel records of individuals subject to the same supervisors and decision-makers as plaintiff and to discover the personnel records of those individuals who were the decision makers for plaintiff. Dkt. #33, p.4. Plaintiff argues that Mark Van Hoesen, Christopher Sacco, Don Donahue and Robert Dixon "either supervised plaintiff or participated in discriminatory and retaliatory decisions with respect to plaintiff." Dkt. #23, p.8; Dkt. #34, p.5. With respect to Ray Brogan and Michael Finnegan, plaintiff argues that "these individuals were subordinate to the same decision-makers whom Plaintiff alleges discriminated against her" and that these individuals received preferential treatment because they are male. Dkt. #23, p.8; Dkt. #34, p.5.

Plaintiff also argues that it appears that defendant has failed to disclose all of the information contained within the personnel files it has produced, as defendant has not disclosed any mid-year evaluations as part of any of the ...

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