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In re Sting Soccer Group, LP

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

November 30, 2017

IN RE STING SOCCER GROUP, LP, AND BRENT LEE CORALLI, Relators

         Original Proceeding from the 429th Judicial District Court Collin County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 429-01689-2016

          Before Justices Lang, Evans, and Stoddart

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DOUGLAS S. LANG JUSTICE

         This original proceeding involves a discovery dispute in a contract action involving soccer uniforms. Relators complain that the trial court sustained the real party in interest's objections to multiple requests for production, requests for admissions, and interrogatories. We conditionally grant the writ as to the requests for production and interrogatories and deny the writ as to the requests for admissions.

         Background

         Relator Brent Lee Coralli ("Coralli") is the president of Sting Soccer Club, which is a female soccer club, and of relator Sting Soccer Group, L.P. ("Sting Soccer"). Real party in interest Vola, LLC ("Vola") is a sports apparel brand that specializes in team uniforms, active wear, and footwear. Coralli was instrumental in founding Vola in 2007. In 2014, Vola was sold and a new entity created using the same name. Vola was created for the specific purpose of being the exclusive provider of sports apparel to Sting Soccer Club. In 2014, Sting Soccer Club, all its entities and subsidiaries, and Vola entered into a contract for Vola to be Sting Soccer Club's exclusive provider of uniforms. Coralli entered into multiple purchase orders with Vola, which resulted in an excess supply of custom uniforms for Sting Soccer. A dispute arose between Sting Soccer and Vola regarding uniforms for the 2016 season. Sting Soccer requested new custom-designed uniforms for the 2016 season, and Vola proposed that Sting Soccer instead purchase from the excess supply of uniforms from the prior season. Sting Soccer notified Vola that it was terminating the exclusively agreement due to Vola's failure to perform in relation to the 2016 uniforms. Vola sued Coralli, Sting Soccer, and others for breach of contract and declaratory judgment. Vola also brought a breach of fiduciary duty claim against Coralli.

         Sting Soccer and Coralli, as well as other defendants who have since been non-suited, each served Vola with interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admissions. Vola objected to a substantial portion of the discovery requests, and relators filed a motion to compel and motion to determine the sufficiency of those objections. The trial court sustained many of Vola's objections. This original proceeding followed.

         The Discovery Requests

         A. Sting Soccer's Interrogatories - Nos. 7, 8, 9, 14

         Sting Soccer complains of the trial court's denial of Sting Soccer's motion to compel responses to interrogatory numbers 7, 8, 9, and 14, and the trial court's sustaining of Vola's objections to those interrogatories. Interrogatory numbers 7, 8, and 9 requested Vola to identify facts of which Vola is specifically aware that Vola contends establishes, demonstrates or proves the following contentions:

• Sting Soccer was obligated to purchase any excess supply of uniforms from Vola for the 2016 soccer season as alleged in paragraph 21 of Vola's first amended petition. (Interrogatory No. 7)
• Excess uniforms ordered by any defendant made the basis of the lawsuit could not be sold to a third party due to customization. (Interrogatory No. 8).
• Vola was capable of fulfilling all purchase orders as submitted by any defendant for the 2016 soccer season. (Interrogatory No. 9).

         Vola objected to these interrogatories to the extent they require Vola to marshal its evidence or seek information protected by the work product privilege. Vola stated that it would provide "a basic statement of its legal contentions and factual bases for those contentions" if Vola is served with a Rule 194 request for disclosures.

         Interrogatory number 14 requested Vola to identify all trial witness in accordance with rule 192.3(d) and to set forth the basic facts to which such witnesses were anticipated to testify to at trial. Vola objected to this interrogatory as seeking an outline of witness testimony, requiring Vola to marshal its evidence, and seeking information protected by the work product privilege. Vola then referred Sting Soccer to the names listed in Vola's disclosure responses.

         B. Coralli's Interrogatories - Nos. 16, 17, 18, 23

         Coralli complains of the trial court's denial of his motion to compel responses to interrogatory numbers 16, 17, 18, and 23, and the trial court's sustaining of Vola's objections to those interrogatories. Interrogatory numbers 7, 8, and 9 requested Vola to identify facts of which Vola is specifically aware that Vola contends establishes, demonstrates, or proves the following contentions:

• Coralli owed the fiduciary duties as alleged in paragraph 35 of the first amended petition. (Interrogatory No. 16).
• Specific factual and legal basis for establishing a fiduciary duty owed by Coralli to Vola. (Interrogatory No. 17).
• Defendant violated such fiduciary duty (or duties) and when such conduct occurred. (Interrogatory No. 18).

         Vola objected to interrogatory numbers 16, 17, and 18 as exceeding the number of interrogatories permitted under rule 190.3, and to the extent they require Vola to marshal its evidence or seek information protected by the work product privilege. Vola stated that it would provide "a basic statement of its legal contentions and factual bases for those contentions" if Vola is served with a Rule 194 request for disclosures.

         Interrogatory number 23 asked Vola to identify by name and address all entities and/or individuals whom Coralli held himself out as a manager of Vola to and made oral promises regarding payment as alleged in paragraph 18 of the first amended petition. Vola objected to this interrogatory as exceeding the number of interrogatories permitted under rule 190.3.

         C. Sting Soccer's Requests for Production - Nos. 2-6, 27, 29, 30, 35

         Sting Soccer complains of the trial court's denial of Sting Soccer's motion to compel responses to requests for production numbers 2 through 6, 23, 27, 29, 30, and 35, and the trial court's sustaining of Vola's objections to those requests. In these requests, Sting Soccer seeks production of the following documents:

• All contracts, agreement, or other documents creating obligations by Sting Soccer to ...

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