Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Freeman v. Rochester Psychiatric Center

United States District Court, W.D. New York

March 10, 2017

DWAYNE FREEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
ROCHESTER PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, Defendant.

          DECISION & ORDER

          MARIAN W. PAYSON United States Magistrate Judge

         On January 25, 2012, Dwayne Freeman (“Freeman”) filed suit against Rochester Psychiatric Center (“RPC”), his employer, [1] under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. (Docket # 1). Freeman's complaint alleges that he was subjected to race and gender-based discrimination and retaliation beginning on June 8, 2010, approximately ten years after he was hired by RPC. (Id.). Currently pending before this Court is Freeman's motion to compel. (Docket # 161). Also pending is his motion seeking an extension of time to file a motion for leave to amend his complaint. (Docket # 171).

         MOTION TO COMPEL

         Freeman seeks to compel further responses to several of his interrogatories propounded on March 31, 2015, which RPC responded to on June 1, 2015. (Docket ## 99, 116, 161). According to Freeman, he attempted to confer with counsel for RPC in mid-August 2015 regarding his position that the responses were inadequate. (Docket ## 129; 161 at ¶ 2). RPC supplemented its interrogatory responses on October 29, 2015. (Docket # 142-1).

         Freeman objects to the supplemental responses, maintaining that several of the responses continue to be inadequate. (Docket # 161). According to Freeman, RPC's responses to Interrogatory Nos. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 21, and 22 are inadequate because they refer to approximately fifty pages of produced documents, rather than answering the questions posed, and fail to identify the particular pages within the production from which the answers may be determined. (Id.). Freeman also objects to RPC's failure to answer Interrogatory No. 23, first propounded in Docket # 129 on August 13, 2015. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-14). Finally, Freeman maintains that several pages of the documents that were produced by RPC are illegible.[2] (Docket # 161 at ¶ 19).

         In opposition to the motion, RPC supplemented several of its interrogatory answers to address Freeman's concerns, but refused to supplement its responses to Interrogatories 9 and 10. (Docket # 165). Additionally, RPC objected to and did not provide a response to Interrogatory 23. (Id. at ¶ 12). Finally, RPC reproduced its document production in an attempt to provide Freeman more legible copies of the documents. (Id. at ¶ 13). I have reviewed the documents produced and their quality is somewhat improved, although some of the documents still do not appear to be entirely legible. To the extent Freeman remains unable to read any of the documents, he should identify those by Bates number to counsel for RPC; if counsel cannot provide more legible copies, RPC must make arrangements for Freeman to inspect the originals of those documents.

         On August 2, 2016, Freeman filed a declaration stating that he intended to reply to RPC's opposition by August 19, 2016. (Docket # 168). No such reply was apparently filed.

         As indicated above, Freeman objects to RPC's responses to Interrogatories 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 21, and 22 on the grounds that they simply refer him to a “mass of business documents” without answering the interrogatories. (Docket # 161 at ¶¶ 3-4). Freeman maintains that RPC should be required, at the very least, to identify the specific pages of the document production within which the answers may be discerned. (Id. at ¶ 7).

         RPC supplemented its responses to Interrogatories 1, 2, 7, 8, 20, 21, and 22 by referencing in response to each interrogatory a few specific pages within its document production. (Docket # 165 at ¶¶ 3-6, 9-11). A review of the referenced pages, which amount to no more than six pages for each interrogatory, confirms that they contain information relating generally to Interrogatories 1, 2, 7, and 8. Further, RPC has provided narrative answers to Interrogatories 1 and 8. (Docket # 142-1 at 2, 3). RPC did not supplement its answers to Interrogatories 2 and 7 to provide narrative responses, however, and the document production pages referenced in the supplemental answers do not provide clear answers to these interrogatories. See XChange Telecom Corp. v. Sprint Spectrum L.P., 2015 WL 773752, *5 (N.D.N.Y. 2015) (“Rule 33 production is suited to those discovery requests requiring a compilation or analysis . . . [and] is well-suited to reply to inquiries of an intensely objective nature; . . . Rule 33 is not appropriate where interrogatories pose questions of fact or mixed questions of law and fact [which] require the exercise of particular knowledge and judgment on the part of the responding party”) (internal quotations omitted). Accordingly, RPC is directed to supplement its responses to Interrogatories 2 and 7.

         With respect to Interrogatories 20, 21, and 22, the specific pages identified by RPC in its supplemental response do not appear to contain the answer to Freeman's questions. Additionally, RPC has objected to Interrogatory 23 on the grounds that it is vague and speculative. (Docket # 165 at ¶ 12). These interrogatories, although not the model of clarity, read together and in the context of the other interrogatories, clearly seek information relating to statements contained in the administrative report produced by RPC at Docket ## 40 and 49. For instance, Interrogatories 21, 22, and 23 seek the identities and job titles of the “several employees with supervisory responsibility” to whom Ms. Hancoski reported the incident, the identity of those employees' supervisors, and the dates and times that Ms. Hancoski made the reports. (Docket ## 142-1 at 8; 161 at ¶ 13). RPC is directed to supplement its responses with responsive information within its possession, custody and/or control.

         Interrogatory 20 appears to seek information relating to the statement in the same report that several witnesses reported that they were targeted by Freeman as a result of their interview with the investigator about allegations that Freeman sexually harassed a co-worker. (Docket ## 49 at 4; 141-2 at 7). Read in context with the previous interrogatory, Freeman is asking whether RPC has information demonstrating that Freeman “targeted” the witnesses after they spoke to RPC's investigator. RPC is directed to supplement its response with responsive information within its possession, custody and/or control.

         RPC refused to supplement its responses to Interrogatories 9 and 10, maintaining that it has fully responded to those questions. (Docket # 165 at ¶¶ 7-8). Those interrogatories clearly relate to the last paragraph of the fourth page of RPC's January 6, 2011, written response to the New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”) (see Docket # 142-1 at 3-4, 15). Although RPC's supplemental response to Interrogatory 9 provides the names of “Charge Nurses, ” it does not identify the particular charge nurse who reported to Cynthia Crowell Ms. Hancoski's allegation of sexual harassment by Freeman as set forth in RPC's response to the NYSDHR. RPC must supplement its response to do so.

         Interrogatory 10 asked RPC to identify the “‘supervisor' or Nurse Administrator [who] ‘never reported it to her superiors.'” (Docket # 142-1 at 4). In response, RPC maintains that the interrogatory mischaracterizes the facts, contending that “there was no incident of a supervisor who failed to report[] plaintiff's allegations” and referred Freeman to its NYSDHR response for further information. (Id.). Freeman's request plainly references the last paragraph of the fourth page of RPC's NYSDHR response. (See Id. at 15). Specifically, RPC stated, “Ms. Hancoski has reported this incident previously to coworkers and to her supervisor but the supervisor never reported it to her superiors.” (Id.). Freeman has requested the identity of the supervisor referenced in this statement. Accordingly, RPC is directed to supplement its answer to Interrogatory 10 to provide responsive information within its possession, custody and/or control.

         Accordingly, Freeman's motion to compel is granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, that portion of Freeman's motion to compel seeking further responses to Interrogatories 1 and 8 is denied and the portion seeking further ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.