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White v. Phgg LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

November 15, 2016

CARLA WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
PHGG, LLC d/b/a GEORGIAN GARDENS NURSING CENTER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's motion to compel (#25). Plaintiff alleges she was terminated by defendant from her position as a nursing home administrator for reporting violations of law by another employee of defendant to the authorities. Defendant denies plaintiff's claim and asserts in its Answer that plaintiff was fired due to her handling of issues related to deficiencies in its sprinkler system.

         Plaintiff seeks additional information in response to four interrogatories and three requests for production of documents propounded on defendant. Each is discussed below.

INTERROGATORY NO. 6. Please identify plaintiff Carla White's role in resolving the issues with the sprinkler system and any actions taken by Ms. White to attempt to resolve these issues.
ANSWER: Objection. Defendant objects that this Interrogatory is vague and ambiguous. Plaintiff was tasked with ensuring that the sprinkler system was in a safe and working condition. Beyond that, Defendant does not understand this interrogatory.

         Plaintiff complains that defendant's response is incomplete because it does not address plaintiff's specific duties with respect to the sprinkler system, whether she should have been aware of an issue with the system, and what steps plaintiff took to resolve these issues. Defendant correctly observes that plaintiff did not ask for “specific duties” or of what she should have been aware. The Court finds that defendant adequately responded to plaintiff's “role” as requested by the interrogatory. As for the actions plaintiff took to resolve the sprinkler system issues, defendant says plaintiff has that information herself.

         However, it is not unreasonable for defendant to answer what it perceived as the actions she took to resolve the sprinkler system issues.

INTERROGATORY NO. 7. Please identify and describe the process that Ms. White was to go through to have the sprinkler system repaired, including whether or not Ms. White could have approved such repairs without the approval of her superiors.
ANSWER: As Administrator of the facility, plaintiff was ultimately responsible for ensuring that the facility met all applicable standards, including those governing the fire suppression system. Plaintiff was expected to determine what repairs were necessary and then follow through with a plan to ensure compliance with any applicable standards.

         Plaintiff says defendant failed to fully answer either part of the interrogatory. Defendant counters that it “clearly described what Plaintiff's responsibilities were, what the expectations were for her, and what she was to do to meet those responsibilities and expectations.” (#27 at 4.) As for whether repairs would have required approval of her supervisors, defendant states it cannot be more precise because the answer depends on the nature of the repairs plaintiff believed were necessary, and defendant offered to supplement its response to so indicate. Defendant should do so.

INTERROGATORY NO. 17. Please identify the name, job title, address, and telephone number of the Maintenance Supervisor, and any other individual, who had any responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the sprinkler system during Ms. White's employ and describe the role of each such individual.
ANSWER: Casey Thornton and Dames Dinger held the position of Maintenance Supervisor during Plaintiff's employment.

         Defendant states that it provided additional contact information as it was obtained. Plaintiff states that defendant has not described the role of each identified person; however, defendant has described the “role” of the maintenance supervisor by directing plaintiff to the job description for that position that was part of its original document production. The Court agrees that was a sufficient response for the question that was asked.

REQUEST NO. 15. All documents related to the job duties and performance of the Maintenance Supervisor and any and all other employees responsible, in any way, for the maintenance and repair of the sprinkler ...

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