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Freedom from Religion Foundation v. New Kensington-Arnold School District: Motion to Compel

Freedom from Religion Foundation v. New Kensington-Arnold School District: Motion to Compel

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Published by Bill Santagata
Defendants New Kensington-Arnold School District seek to compel plaintiff Marie Schaub to provide her full activity on Facebook and other social media websites.
Defendants New Kensington-Arnold School District seek to compel plaintiff Marie Schaub to provide her full activity on Facebook and other social media websites.

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Published by: Bill Santagata on Apr 22, 2014
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06/03/2014

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION, INC.; DOE 1, by Doe 1's next friend and parent MARIE SCHAUB, who also sues on her own behalf; DOE 2, by Doe 2's next friend and parent DOE 3, who also sues on Doe 3's own behalf, Plaintiffs, vs.  NEW KENSINGTON-ARNOLD SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant. : : : : : : : : : : : : : : Civil Action No. 12-1319 JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL AND FOR LEAVE TO CONDUCT ADDITIONAL DEPOSITIONS, PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. 30 AND 34
 The Defendant, New Kensington-Arnold School District, by and through its attorneys, Anthony G. Sanchez, Esquire, Amie A. Thompson, Esquire, and the law firm of Andrews & Price LLC, files the following Brief in Support of Motion to Compel and for Leave to Conduct Additional Depositions in accordance therewith.
I. BACKGROUND
This action was commenced by the filing of a Complaint at the above number. On July 19, 2013, Defendant served Interrogatories and a Request for Production of Documents upon Plaintiffs. (A copy of the transmittal letter is attached as Exhibit “A”.) Plaintiffs responded to Defendant's discovery requests on September 13, 2013, objecting to 16 of the 22 Interrogatories (Nos. 5-8; 10; 11-13; 15-22) and providing partial answers thereto. (A copy of the transmittal letter is attached as Exhibit “B”.) On September 26, 2013, Defense counsel wrote to Plaintiffs’ counsel via E-mail concerning numerous deficiencies the responses. (Exhibit “C”.) Plaintiffs’ 1
Case 2:12-cv-01319-TFM Document 38 Filed 04/21/14 Page 1 of 16
 
counsel responded to Defendant’s letter on October 9, 2013, indicating in part that Plaintiffs would supplement their responses to Defendant’s Interrogatories Number 16-17, 18, 19-20. (See Exhibit “D”.) Upon joint motions of the parties, discovery was extended on several occasions, and is currently scheduled to close on April 21, 2014. During the course of discovery, Defendant  preserved, reviewed and produced a portion of over 120,138 electronic stored information files in response to Plaintiffs’ Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. On April 2, 2014, in the course of attempting to schedule Plaintiffs depositions for the third time by Amended Notices of Deposition and accompanying subpoenas, Defense counsel again made inquiry of Plaintiffs’ counsel as to when the Defendant might expect supplemental responses to its outstanding discovery requests. (See Exhibit “E”.) On April 7, 2014, with all Plaintiffs still unable to provide mutually agreeable dates of availability for depositions, Plaintiffs’ counsel responded to Defendant’s repeated requests for both dates of availability and outstanding discovery requests. (See Exhibit “F”.) In sum, Plaintiffs’ counsel indicated that he would provide no further responses to the interrogatories, other than those contained in his E-mail. (See Exhibit “F”.) Defendants are entitled to complete responses to its Interrogatory and Requests for Production of Documents and Plaintiffs have improperly withheld such information. Depositions for Marie Schaub and Doe 1 were finally scheduled for April 18, 2014. However, there is currently no date scheduled for the depositions of Doe 2 and Doe 3.
1
 
1
 Plaintiffs’ counsel has informally advised Defendant’s counsel that Doe 2 and Doe 3 wish to withdraw from the lawsuit. However, as of the date of this Motion, Plaintiffs’ counsel has not filed a notice to dismiss the lawsuit by Doe 2 and Doe 3 nor requested to amend the case caption. 2
Case 2:12-cv-01319-TFM Document 38 Filed 04/21/14 Page 2 of 16
 
 Plaintiffs’ failure to respond to Defendant’s discovery requests and failure to make available for depositions Plaintiffs’ Doe 2 and Doe 3 unfairly prejudices Defendant’s ability to defend and prepare for trial. Defendant needs Plaintiffs’ discovery responses to be able to  prepare for depositions, which Defendant requests remain open should this Court compel Plaintiffs to produce documents that have been improperly withheld. Despite frequent discussions between counsel, the parties have failed to reach an agreement.
II. ARGUMENTS A. DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO COMPLETE RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORY NOS. 4 AND 10 THROUGH 12. PLAINTIFFS HAVE IMPROPERLY WITHHELD INFORMATION REGARDING THE PLAINTIFFS’ COMMUNICATIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES.
Plaintiffs have improperly withheld information regarding the Plaintiffs’ communications on social media websites. Defendant requested information pertaining to discussions regarding this lawsuit and/or the grounds of the suit; whether Plaintiffs maintain social media accounts; and more particularly, whether Plaintiffs communicated about the lawsuit and related matters on such social media accounts. Specifically, Interrogatory Nos. 4, 10 through 12 and Plaintiffs’ responses  provide as follows:
INTERROGATORY No. 4
If you have at any time discussed this lawsuit and/or the grounds for your suit against the Defendant with any individual other than your attorney: (a) Identify each person with whom you have had such communication(s) or discussion(s); (b) State the date(s) of the communication(s) or discussion(s); (c) Identify and describe in detail each such oral and/or written communication(s) or discussion(s); and (d) Identify all documents that constitute or refer or relate to the communication(s).
ANSWER:
3
Case 2:12-cv-01319-TFM Document 38 Filed 04/21/14 Page 3 of 16

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