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Carter v. H2R Restaurant Holdings LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

June 6, 2017

SAMANTHA CARTER, Plaintiff,
v.
H2R RESTAURANT HOLDINGS, LLC, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DAVID L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This case has been referred to the United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from United States District Judge David C. Godbey. See Dkt. No. 102.

         On April 5, 2017, Plaintiff Samantha Carter served Defendants H2R Restaurant Holdings, LLC, John Dyess, and Chris Short (the “H2R Defendants”) and Rad Staffing d/b/a Trinity Event Staffing (“Trinity”; collectively with the H2R Defendants, “Defendants”) with her First Set of Interrogatories, Requests for Production, and Requests for Admission (“RFAs”).

         The H2R Defendants and Trinity each filed a Motion for Protective Order (“MPO”), asking the Court to protect them from complying with several of Ms. Carter's requests. See Dkt. No. 171 & 174.

         In response, Ms. Carter filed two motions to compel in which she insists that Defendants respond to the requests at issue. See Dkt. No. 176 & 177. Defendants filed their respective responses to Ms. Carter's motions shortly thereafter.

         The parties have not filed any other documents in connection with Defendants' respective Motions for Protective Order or Ms. Carter's motions to compel, and the deadlines to do so have passed.

         For the reasons and to the extent explained below, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the H2R Defendants' Motion for Protective Order and Trinity's Motion for Protective Order and DENIES Plaintiff's Motions to Compel.

         Background

         In her Amended Complaint, Ms. Carter brings claims for negligence and Title VII employment discrimination primarily based on the allegations summarized below:

1. On October 19, 2017, a Trinity representative sent Plaintiff Samantha Carter a text message asking if she was interested in accepting a temporary assignment as a chef at a catering event that would occur on the next day. She accepted.
2. She showed up at the event in a fuchsia-colored chef jacket. After she arrived, Chef Jeff Quals demoted her from “chef” to “cook, ” purportedly due to the color of her jacket. He then asked her to cook macaroni and cheese over a portable stove.
3. The fire heating the stove would not stay lit. After it went out for the third or fourth time, Defendant John Dyess performed a make-shift fix. Defendant Chris Short, Mr. Dyess's manager, acknowledged that this was not the proper way to fix the stove but concluded that it needed to be fixed this way. The stove later exploded, and Ms. Carter caught on fire. 9-1-1 was not called until about two hours later.

         In response to Ms. Carter's First Set of Interrogatories, Requests for Production, and Requests for Admission, Defendants filed their motions for protective order. The H2R Defendants appear to argue that they should not be required to answer all of Ms. Carter's interrogatories because she has exceeded the limit allowed by the Court's Amended Scheduling Order and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33. The Amended Schedule Order explains that“[t]he presumptive limit of ... 25 interrogatories per party will apply in this case.” See Dkt. No. 125 at 8 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(1)). And, as the H2R Defendants note, “Plaintiff has propounded 64 Interrogatories to [them].” Dkt. No. 171 at 1.

         The H2R Defendants also purport that it is not clear to whom Ms. Carter has directed her interrogatories because “the full set of Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories appear to be directed to each Defendant, but then addresses request[s] to William Hyde, a nonparty.” Id.

         And all Defendants contend that they should be protected from complying with several of Ms. Carter's requests because the requests are abusive, served only to harass them, or both.

         The H2R Defendants specifically object to the following requests:

Interrogatory No. 17: Mr. Dyess[, what] branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Texas are you a member of? What is your position?
Interrogatory No. 18: Mr. Dyess, did you torture animals as a child?
Interrogatory No. 25: Did Defendants in any capacity make a campaign contribution to Judge Tonya Parker anytime [sic] after October 20, 2012?
Interrogatory No. 31: Mr. Hyde[, ] are you or have you ever been a financial contributor to Parkland Hospital?
Interrogatory No. 37: Did Defendants pay a lump of cash to the EMT's to not complete an EMT report?
Interrogatory No. 47: Mr. Dyess, do you have a psychotic disorder?
Interrogatory No. 48: Mr. Hyde, Mr. Dyess, have either of you ever called a black person, [the N-Word]?
Interrogatory No. 61: Mr. Hyde, has anyone ever called you by the name Dr. Jekyll? And if so was it Kent Rathbun?
RFA No. 12: Admit or deny that Defendants are [S]atanists.
RFA No. 29: Admit or deny that Mr. Hyde sleeps perfectly well at night.
RFA No. 32: Admit or deny that you have children that are declared Colored, Black American or African American in your household.
RFA No. 44: Admit or deny that human life has no value.

See Id. at 2-5; Dkt. No. 166-1 at 14-17.

And Trinity specifically objects to the following requests:
Interrogatory No. 17: What branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Texas are you a member of? What is your position?
Interrogatory No. 18: Do you train your employees to have compassion for the human life?
Interrogatory No. 25: Did Defendants make a campaign contribution to Judge Tonya Parker anytime [sic] ...

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