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Crossman v. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC

Crossman v. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC

Case Date: 05/04/2020
Citation: 2020 WL 2114639; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77940
Court Type: Federal District
Court: Middle District of Florida (M.D. Fla.)
Judge: Federal Magistrate Judge: Patricia D. Barksdale
Rule(s): Fed. R. Civ. P. 1; Fed. R. Civ. P.26(b)(2)(B); Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(2)(B); Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)
Issues:
Plaintiff sought back and front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs for claims of emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience.
Defendant moved to compel plaintiff to respond to requests for production of plaintiff’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and any online information plaintiff provided or to which plaintiff contributed that refers to defendant, the allegations, plaintiff”s mental state, and events “that could reasonably be expected to produce significant emotion, feeling, or mental state.”
Plaintiff originally raised the same objections for all the requests: “This request is overly broad, invasive, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

Plaintiff then supplemented her objections, stating first that she has no documents responsive to the request for production of online information she provided or to which she contributed that refers to the defendant or the complaint allegations.

Plaintiff then supplemented her objection to the requests of her Facebook and Instagram accounts by stating that

“[t]he request for full download of [her] social media profile will result [in] the production of several items that have no relevance, no materiality, and no bearing on any issue presented in this lawsuit.”
Finally, plaintiff supplemented her objection to the defendant’s requests for production of other online communications by stating that “the requests [were] “far too nebulous and ambiguous [of a] description for [her] to comply with th[ese] request[s].”
Resolution:

Magistrate Judge Barksdale found the plaintiff’s original objections improper due to the plaintiff’s failure to state with specificity the grounds for objection.

Magistrate Judge Barksdale found that the plaintiff used the outdated and problematic “not reasonably calculated” standard of Rule 26, which the 2015 amendments to Rule 26 sought to eliminate.

On  the issue of relevancy, Magistrate Judge Barksdale found that the information in the plaintiff’s social media, including her Facebook and Instagram accounts, relates to her contemporaneous mental and emotional states and therefore relates to the injuries she claims she suffered at the hands of the defendant, including loss of enjoyment of life.
On the issue of privacy, Magistrate Judge Barksdale found that the plaintiff “ceded some by sharing her personal information with others on social media and by bringing this lawsuit subject to the public right of access.” Magistrate Judge Barksdale then held that, “[t]o the extent she has not, a confidentiality agreement suffices to protect her interests, and the obligations of members of the Court’s bar suffices to deter misuse of the information.
On the issue of vagueness, Magistrate Judge Barksdale found that plaintiff’s counsel “can ‘reasonably and naturally’ interpret the requests in view of the claims and defenses and through communication with opposing counsel to provide the information obviously sought.”
In closing, Magistrate Judge Barksdale granted the defendant’s motion to compel, directed the parties to expeditiously confer about an appropriate confidentiality agreement, and ordered the plaintiff to respond fully to requests for production.
Relevant Documents:

Order on Defendant’s Motion to Compel

Defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Respond to Discovery Requests

Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Motion to Compel

E-Discovery Issues: Confidentiality Agreement, Discovery Order, Motion to Compel, Production Request
E-discovery Tags: Communication/Cooperation, Cooperation, Privacy, Relevancy, Vagueness
E-discovery subjects: Electronically stored information, Internet usage, Social Media

Published: July 9th, 2021

Category: Uncategorized


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