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Chapman v. Hiland Operating, LLC

United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Southwestern Division

April 16, 2014

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 MOTION TO COMPEL

CHARLES S. MILLER, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is "Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel: November 11, 2013 Requests for Production of Documents" filed February 12, 2014. Defendants filed a response opposing the motion. On April 11, 2014, the court held a telephonic hearing on the motion. Attorneys Robert P. Schuster, David S. Maring, and James R. Hoy appeared on plaintiffs' behalf. Attorneys Margaret M. Clarke and Patrick W. Durick appeared on defendants' behalf. Attorney Joel A. Flom appeared on behalf of third-party defendant Missouri Basin Well Service, Inc. Attorneys Gordon H. Hansmeier and Christopher A. Wills appeared on behalf of third-party defendant B&B Heavy Haul, LLC.

I. BACKGROUND

At issue are defendants' responses to two sets of Requests for Production of Documents ("RFPD") issued by plaintiffs on November 11, 2013. The requests are essentially identical except that one set was issued to Hiland Partners GP Holdings, LLC ("Hiland Holdings") and the other was issued to Hiland Partners, LP ("Hiland Partners"). Plaintiffs assert that defendants' responses were inadequate in that they contained improper objections and that they were presented in such a way that it was difficult, if not impossible, to determine which documents were responsive to which requests.

Defendants' responses included both "General Objections" and objections to the specific document requests. The general objections included at the beginning of the responses provide:

GENERAL OBJECTIONS
These general objections are to all Requests for Production of Documents and are in addition to any other objections set forth below:
i. Pursuant to FRE 401 et. seq., this Defendant objects to the Document Requests that are not relevant to the subject matter of the pending action and those that are not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
ii. This Defendant objects to the Document Requests that call for disclosure of information subject to the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine.
iii. This Defendant objects to the disclosure of any information that was prepared in anticipation of litigation by and for this Defendant or any of its representatives that are otherwise beyond the scope of discovery admitted by Court rule.
iv. This Defendant objects to the definitions and instructions contained in the Document Requests to the extent those definitions and instructions purport to impose duties or obligations in addition to, or inconsistent with, or different from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
v. This Defendant objects to Plaintiffs' Document Requests to the extent Plaintiffs purport to require this Defendant to identify or produce information or documents that are not within this Defendant's custody and control. This Defendant will identify or produce nonprivileged information or documents that are presently in the custody and control of this Defendant.
vi. This Defendant objects to Plaintiffs' instructions concerning the supplementation of this Defendant's answers to the extent that those instructions purport to impose duties or obligations in addition, or inconsistent with, or different from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
vii. This Defendant objects to Plaintiffs' instructions to the extent Plaintiffs purport to require this Defendant to identify and give detailed information concerning privileged documents, communications or information in which such ...

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