United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
ISABEL TRANSITO MIRANDA, CESAR BAUTISTA, and CESAR ISLAS, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated Plaintiffs,
MAHARD EGG FARM, INC., and MAHARD PULLET FARMS, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Compel
Discovery (Dkt. #20). Having considered the Motion and the
relevant pleadings, the Court finds that Defendants'
Motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
case was filed by Isabel Transito Miranda, Cesar Bautista,
and Cesar Islas on behalf of themselves and a class of
similarly situated Hispanic employees
(“Plaintiffs” or “Hispanic Workers”)
(Dkt. #1). The workers were all employed, or are currently
employed, by Mahard Egg Farm, Inc., and Mahard Pullet Farms,
Inc., (collectively “Mahard”) “at various
times since February 4, 2015” (Dkt. #1). Mahard is a
domestic for-profit corporation with various facilities
across Texas and Oklahoma, including Chillicothe, Texas that
“manages both egg farms and egg processing
plants” (Dkt. #1). Mahard hires its employees to
“clean, sort, and package eggs” (Dkt. #1).
According to Plaintiffs, their time with Mahard was filled
with intimidation, abuse, and discrimination (Dkt. #1).
Hispanic Workers' work environment, ” according to
the Complaint, “was permeated by intimidation and
abuse. Mahard supervisory or management personnel-including
Andy Mahard, Oscar San Miguel, and Tony Brown-regularly
shouted at, cursed at, physically intimidated, and insulted
the Hispanic Workers” (Dkt. #1). For example,
Plaintiffs claim that “Mahard supervisory or management
personnel hurled race-based insults at the Hispanic
Workers”-in Spanish-“such as ‘worthless
Mexicans, ” “monkeys, ” “fucking
Hondurans, ” “stupid Guatemalans, ”
“dumbasses, ” “motherfuckers, ”
“wetbacks, ” and “illegals” (Dkt.
#1). The supervisory or management personnel also, allegedly,
“threatened to have the Hispanic Workers deported if
they complained or did not obey orders” (Dkt. #1). In
addition to verbal insults, Plaintiffs allege that the staff
made “menacing gestures, ” threw tools and other
objects at them, and, “on occasion, ” shoved,
grabbed, or hit them (Dkt. #1). This physical conduct
allegedly included sexual assault and harassment of some
female Hispanic Workers (Dkt. #1). The personnel also,
according to Plaintiffs, scolded the Hispanic Workers for
taking rest breaks, “withheld information about their
right to file claims for workers' compensation benefits
when they were injured, ” and falsified their hours to
deprive them of wages (Dkt. #1).
with physical and verbal abuse, the supervisory and
management personnel allegedly “subjected the Hispanic
Workers to unreasonably dangerous, unsanitary, and degrading
conditions because of their race” (Dkt. #1). For
example, Plaintiffs contend that Mahard “refused to
provide the Hispanic Workers with even the most basic safety
and hygiene resources, personal protection equipment, or
safety training that is necessary for the work and required
by applicable regulations or industry standards” (Dkt.
#1). This allegedly included refusing to provide the Hispanic
Workers with “safety training, respirators, or gas
monitors to protect the Hispanic Workers from dangerous
levels of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and carbon
dioxide gases . . . .” (Dkt. #1). Further, Mahard
allegedly refused to provide work boots, protective masks,
earplugs, gloves, or aprons to Hispanic Workers-instead,
Hispanic Workers were required to purchase any personal
protection equipment themselves (Dkt. #1). On top of
allegedly refusing to provide personal protection equipment,
Plaintiffs contend that Mahard also refused to provide
Hispanic Workers with bathrooms and potable water and
required the Workers to “eat in the filthy farm
environment, [with] no hand-washing facilities or clean break
area” (Dkt. #1). Key to Plaintiffs' claims is the
allegation that “the non-Hispanic workers employed by
Defendants were treated with more respect” (Dkt. #1).
to Plaintiffs' Complaint, Isabel Transito Miranda, Cesar
Bautista, and other Class Members were discharged after they
“opposed or resisted” this alleged conduct (Dkt.
#1). As a result of Mahard's allegedly unlawful conduct
and subsequent discharge of Plaintiffs, Miranda, Bautista,
and Islas filed the present action on behalf of themselves
and others similarly situated on February 4, 2019 (Dkt. #1).
Plaintiffs claim violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 pursuant
to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b)(1), (2), and
(3) (Dkt. #1). Plaintiffs seek, among other things,
compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorneys'
fees and costs (Dkt. #1). Mahard denies all allegations (Dkt.
April 24, 2019, the Court issued the Order Governing
Proceedings (Dkt. #5). In the Order, the Court instructed the
parties to produce “[a] copy of all documents,
electronically stored information, witness statements, and
tangible things in the possession, custody, or control of the
disclosing party that are relevant to the claim or defense of
any party” (Dkt. #12). Such production was to be
accomplished not later than 10 days after the deadline for
the Rule 26(f) conference (Dkt. #12). The Order, pursuant to
Local Rule CV-26(d), defined “relevant” as
(1) information that would not support the disclosing
parties' contentions; (2) those persons who, if their
potential testimony were known, might reasonably be expected
to be deposed or called as a witness by any of the parties;
(3) information that is likely to have an influence on or
affect the outcome of a claim or defense; (4) information
that deserves to be considered in the preparation,
evaluation, or trial of a claim or defense; and (5)
information that reasonable and competent counsel would
consider reasonably necessary to prepare, evaluate, or try a
claim or defense
(Local Rule CV-26(d)). The Court then entered its Preliminary
Scheduling Order (Dkt. #12) on July 1, 2019. In the
Scheduling Order, the Court stated:
If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute without
court intervention, the parties must then call the
Court's chambers to schedule a telephone conference
regarding the subject matter of the dispute prior to filing
any motion to compel. After reviewing the dispute, the Court
will resolve the dispute, order the parties to file an
appropriate motion, or direct the parties to call the
the issuance of the Court's Preliminary Scheduling Order,
Mahard served its first set of Interrogatories and Requests
for Production of Documents (Dkt. #20). Plaintiffs objected
to multiple of the Interrogatories and Requests for
Production (Dkt. #20, Exhibit A). Accordingly, the parties
complied with the Court's Preliminary Scheduling Order
and sought a telephone conference with the Court (Dkt. #16).
The telephone conference occurred on August 6, 2019 (Dkt.
#16). At the conference, the Court authorized Mahard-just
like Plaintiffs-to file a motion to compel, if necessary
(Dkt. #16). Mahard took up the Court's offer and has now
filed a Motion to Compel seeking the following information:
1. Plaintiff Miranda
a. Order Plaintiff Miranda to produce her tax returns for
2010 to present to obtain the names of her other employers.
Defendants need this information to determine when and where
the alleged assault occurred.
b. Order Plaintiff Miranda to sign authorizations to obtain
employment and medical records to get the complete records.
Plaintiffs' counsel has been given several chances to do
so, but has failed to comply with the LR and OGP.
c. Order Plaintiff Miranda to produce the unredacted notes
from the report from Crime Victim Services and make a ruling
on whether the ...