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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. MJC, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 17, 2019

U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
MJC, INC.; GAC AUTO GROUP, INC. dba CUTTER MAZDA OF HONOLULU; and DOES 1-10 INCLUSIVE, Defendants.

          ORDER REVERSING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DEFENDANTS' FINANCIAL RECORDS

          SUSAN OKI MOLLWAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         Plaintiff U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) appeals from a ruling by the Magistrate Judge that denied two discovery requests, Request Nos. 28 and 29. ECF No. 103.[1] Those requests seek discovery regarding the monthly revenue, expenses, assets, and liabilities of Defendants MJC, Inc. and GAC Auto Group, Inc. dba Cutter Mazda of Honolulu (collectively, “Defendants”).

         The court concludes that discovery of Defendants' financial records is relevant to EEOC's claim for punitive damages, but that discovery going beyond Defendants' current net worth is disproportional to the needs of the case. As a result, the court reverses the Magistrate Judge's order with respect to Request Nos. 28 and 29 and tailors the remedy as follows: Defendants shall produce their balance sheets for the years 2017, 2018, and, to the extent available, 2019.

         Because neither party appeals any other portion of the Magistrate Judge's order, the remainder of the order is affirmed.

         II. BACKGROUND.

         EEOC is suing Defendants for allegedly discriminating against Ryan Vicari on the basis of his hearing disability. ECF No. 1. A summary of the discovery process thus far is provided in the background section of the Magistrate Judge's order. ECF No. 95, PageID #s 1294-95. The court incorporates the Magistrate Judge's background section and recites below only those facts necessary to decide the issues before it.

         On April 3, 2019, EEOC filed a “Motion to Compel Further Response to Document Requests.” ECF No. 70. Its motion sought Defendants' response to the following requests, among others:

REQUEST NO. 28:
Please IDENTIFY and produce all DOCUMENTS that pertain, regard or relate to monthly revenue generated and expenses incurred for MJC, Inc. and GAC Auto Group, Inc. dba Cutter Mazda of Honolulu from January 1, 2013 to the present.
REQUEST NO. 29:
Please IDENTIFY and produce all DOCUMENTS that pertain, regard or relate to assets and liabilities for MJC, Inc. and GAC Auto Group, Inc. dba Cutter Mazda of Honolulu from January 1, 2013 to the present.

         ECF No. 70-2, PageID # 457; ECF No. 103.

         In an order filed on May 6, 2019, the Magistrate Judge granted in part and denied in part EEOC's motion. ECF No. 95. The Magistrate Judge denied Request Nos. 28 and 29, reasoning that the requests “are overly broad, seek documents outside of the relevant time period, and seek documents that are not ...


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