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Chapman v. Hiland Operating, LLC

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

December 26, 2013

Lenny M. Chapman and Tracy M. Chapman, Plaintiffs,
v.
Hiland Operating, LLC, a Foreign Company, Hiland Partners GP Holdings, LLC, a Foreign Company, and Hiland Partners LP, a Foreign Partnership, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiff (Hiland Operating, LLC)
v.
Missouri Basin Well Service, Inc., and B&B Heavy Haul, LLC, Third-Party Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY; GRANTING MOTIONS TO QUASH SUBPOENAS

CHARLES S. MILLER, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

On December 17, 2013, the court held a discovery hearing in the above-captioned case. Attorneys David S. Maring and James R. Hoy appeared in person on plaintiffs' behalf. Attorney Robert P. Schuster appeared by telephone on plaintiffs' behalf. Attorneys Meredth L. Vukelic, Patrick W. Durick, and Margaret M. Clarke appeared in person on behalf of defendants and third-party plaintiff. Attorney Joel A. Flom appeared in person on behalf of third-party defendant Missouri Basin Well Service, Inc. At the hearing, the court considered disputes regarding plaintiffs' interrogatories, plaintiffs' requests for production of documents, and defendants' motions to quash subpoenas. What follows are the court's rulings with respect to the matters in dispute based on the reasons expressed on the record during the hearing.

I. DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS BASED ON FED. R. EVID. 407

Defendants have objected to a number of discovery requests claiming that the information being sought relates to subsequent remedial measures and would be inadmissible under Fed.R.Evid. 407. Rule 407, however, is a rule of admissibility and not a rule of discovery. E.g., Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. v. Factory Mut. Ins. Co., 270 F.R.D. 456, 463-64 (D.N.D. 2010). More importantly, it contains numerous exceptions and it is far too early in the litigation to determine whether the evidence being sought would be admissible. See id. Consequently, all of defendants' objections based on Rule 407 are overruled.

II. PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY

Prior to the hearing, plaintiffs filed a motion to compel discovery. The motion (Docket No. 78) is GRANTED IN PART. The court's rulings on the issues raised in the motion are summarized below.

A. INTERROGATORIES

Subject to the court's overruling all objections based on Fed.R.Evid. 407, the court rules as follows with respect to the interrogatories in dispute:

1. INTERROGATORY NOS. 5-6

The requests are overbroad. Defendants shall respond in part. The response shall be limited to the requested information as it relates any piping that leads to the tanks, the operation and construction of the tanks, anything relating to places of loading, the layout of the loading facilities, and signage and lighting related to the tanks, including both the high pressure and the low pressure systems.

2. INTERROGATORY NO. 8

Defendants have provided a sufficient response to the interrogatory as written.

3. INTERROGATORY NO. 11

The request is overbroad. Defendants shall respond in part. The response shall be limited to the requested information as it relates to lawsuits related to the overflow of a condensate tank resulting ...


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