In most employment lawsuits, the defense has all the pertinent records. So, as one might expect, some defendants resist producing those documents. In Hernandez v. Clearwater Transportation Ltd., No. 18-CV-00319, 2021 WL 148053 (W.D. Tex. 1/15/2021), the defendant objected to several requests seeking information about other employees who were pregnant. The plaintiff herself was fired soon after complications with her pregnancy. She was alleging pregnancy discrimination in her lawsuit. So, it ought to be obvious that information about other pregnant employees would be discoverable, and probably admissible.
The defendant first argued that Plaintiff’s counsel did not confer before filing her motion to compel. The court dispensed with that argument quickly, noting that the employee’s attorney sent a letter seeking to confer. The letter called on the defendant to respond within about 12 days, or she would file a motion to compel.
The defense attorney also argued that the interrogatories and requests for production were overbroad and that the information was protected by HIPAA. But, as the court noted, privacy concerns could be addressed with a protective order. Regarding over breadth, the court simply noted it was apparent that information about other pregnant employees was relevant.
The employer also argued the requested time period was overbroad. The employee sought records dating back between four and five years. The court said, no, that time period was reasonable. The court noted other court decisions have approved of time periods of three to five years. The court noted that discovery regarding possible victims of the same type of discrimination have been found to be relevant by other courts. See the decision here.