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Leeb v. Charter Communications, Inc.

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

September 20, 2019

GREG LEEB, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. doing business as SPECTRUM Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN R. CLARK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Greg Leeb’s motion to compel discovery responses (ECF 80), Defendant Charter Communication, Inc.’s motion to compel discovery response (ECF 115), and Leeb’s motion to compel discovery responses and for sanctions (ECF 120). For the reasons stated below, this Court will GRANT Leeb’s motions (ECF 80, 120) and DENY Charter’s motion (ECF 115).

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involves class-wide allegations by Leeb that he and others like him were contacted by Charter without consent via an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and/or an “artificial or prerecorded voice” in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A). These non-consensual calls to people like Leeb, who are not customers of Charter, have been referred to as “wrong-number calls.” The facts of this case are more fully stated in Leeb v. Charter Communications, Inc., 2019 WL 144132 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 9, 2019).

         Multiple discovery-related disputes have emerged in this case, resulting in myriad motions to compel. All share a common thread, however: the production of Charter’s records, and Leeb’s analytical methodologies, used to determine the class-wide scope of wrong-number calls made by Charter. The parties’ continuous disagreement about discovery has also resulted in their filing of a joint motion to extend the deadlines of the Third Case Management Order. (ECF 105). That particular motion will not be taken up here, but suffice it to say that the parties mostly cite issues with discovery as the reason animating their request for a fourth case management order.

         The undersigned was assigned to this case on July 16, 2019. To marshal together all pending discovery issues for expedited resolution, this Court ordered the parties to meet and confer on “any outstanding discovery issues” and to jointly file a two-page summary of each pending discovery motion. They did so (ECF 119), but the parties also filed two more motions to compel (one requesting sanctions) nearly simultaneously therewith. (ECF 115, 120). On September 4, 2019, a hearing was held to discuss “any outstanding discovery issues, any contested issues needing resolution, and the formulation of a plan for expediting all remaining discovery in the case.” (ECF 110, 122). Today, the Court resolves the multitude of motions to compel in order to reach-in the near future-the separate but related issue of litigation deadlines.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Leeb’s Motion to Compel Certain Responses to his Second Set of Discovery Requests (ECF 80)

         Leeb’s first motion is a follow-up to an early set of discovery requests that were partially denied by Judge White this past January. See Leeb, 2019 WL 144132. After Judge White’s Order, Leeb filed a second set of discovery requests attempting to clean up many of the reasons his discovery requests were deemed overly broad and “not relevant to the scope of allegations in [the] case.” Id. at *2. Leeb’s motion follows after Charter, again, objected to the scope and vagueness of several of Leeb’s second set of requests. In the joint summary brief, Leeb laid out his pending discovery requests as follows:

Plaintiff’s second motion to compel, Dkt. No.80, has been pending since April 24, 2019. In that motion, Plaintiff asked the Court to compel Charter to produce the following:
1. Wrong Number or Not? Charter contends that some of the “wrong number” codes in its systems were incorrect. Plaintiff issued discovery asking which of its records Charter believes to be incorrect, and what evidence supports or refutes this:
Interrogatory No. 1 (2d Set). If you contend that any cell phone number you or any third party on your behalf called after it had been logged as a “wrong number” actually belonged to a customer of yours, please state such phone number(s) and identify what documents or data support or refute such contention.
Request for Production No. 8 (2d Set). All documents that support or refute any contention related to Interrogatory No. 1 above.
Request for Production No. 9 (2d Set). All inbound call data, payment data, and other types of documents or data that support or refute the notion that cell phone numbers you called after such phone numbers were logged as a “wrong number” were actually customers’ cell phone numbers.
2. Wrong Number Complaints. Judge White previously found that consumer complaints may be relevant to willfulness, Dkt. 69, Order at 3-4, but denied an earlier motion to compel finding the earlier request too broad. The reissued request is specifically tailored to the issues in this case: debt collection calls to non-customers or people who asked not to receive calls:
Request for Production No. 1 (2d Set). All complaints of any kind concerning outbound [debt collection] telephone communications to non-customers.
Request for Production No. 2 (2d Set). All complaints of any kind concerning outbound [debt collection] telephone communications to persons who had previously asked for communications to cease.
3. Wrong Number-Related Communications and Documents. These requests are narrowed versions of requests Judge White found to be too broad. Dkt. 69, Order at 4.
Request for Production No. 3 (2d Set). All communications and other documents of any kind concerning debt collection calls to “wrong numbers” or non-customers.
Request for Production No. 4 (2d Set). All communications and other documents of any kind concerning determining whether consumer assertions of “wrong numbers” were correct.
Request for Production No. 5 (2d Set). All communications and other documents of any kind concerning outbound telephone communications to persons who had previously asked for communications to cease.
Request for Production No. 6 (2d Set). All policies, practices, and procedures relating to the calling ...

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