United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
NICK WILLIAMS, et al. Plaintiffs,
ANGIE'S LIST, INC., Defendant.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL
DINSMORE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
discovery dispute demonstrates, long gone are the days when
physical punches on time cards definitively determined the
compensation an employee was owed for hours worked on the
company floor. The hodgepodge of technological time marking
involved in this case would have far exceeded the imagination
of the brothers Willard and Harlow Bundy, who, in the
late-nineteenth century, were the first to commercialize the
once-ubiquitous punch clock. See Wilson Casey,
Firsts: Origins of Everyday Things that Changed the
World 164 (2009). Having punched considerable time of
its own wading through the approximately 250 pages of
briefing and exhibits submitted by the parties, the Court now
GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel.
48 current and former employees of Angie's List, allege
that Angie's List instructed them to underreport their
overtime hours on their computerized time records (using a
service called TimeTracker), the consequence of which is that
they allege entitlement to substantial compensation under the
Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-19. To
prove these claims, Plaintiffs have sought a variety of
records that shed some light on their hours spent laboring in
Angie's List's employ. The data sought thus far has
included company TimeTracker records, badge-swipe data, and
so good, it might appear; but there is a catch: Plaintiffs
frequently worked from home, and at least some of these hours
are likely not reflected in any of these records-
particularly if, as alleged and supported by testimony,
Plaintiffs were operating under instructions not to report
some of their work hours on their official time records.
Thus, Plaintiffs now seek background data automatically
recorded while they were working on Salesforce, a sales
platform used by Angie's List, in an effort to close the
gaps allegedly left by the other records. Angie's List
has provided one year's worth of this background data
already, but refuses to produce the other two years of data
requested by Plaintiffs. These additional two years of
records are the subject of the instant Motion.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3), a party may move
the Court to compel production of documents if the
party's request comports with the scope of discovery.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iv). The scope of discovery under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) is broad, only
limited from the outset to “any nonprivileged matter
that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). “Information within this scope of discovery
need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
Id. Requests for production, such as those at issue
in this case, are subject to the common-sense limitation that
the items be within “the responding party's
possession, custody, or control.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
34(a)(1). This Court is accorded “broad discretion in
matters relating to discovery” and must be cognizant of
the “strong public policy in favor of disclosure of
relevant materials.” Patterson v. Avery Dennison
Corp., 281 F.3d 676, 681 (7th Cir. 2002).
List first responds to Plaintiffs' Motion with a
threshold argument; namely, that Plaintiffs' request for
the Salesforce records falls outside of Rule 34(a)(1) because
the records are outside of Angie's List's
“possession, custody, or control.” Second,
Angie's List argues if the Court grants the Motion, it
should apportion some or all of the costs of production to
Plaintiffs. The Court addresses each of these issues in turn.
Possession, Custody, or Control
List first argues that it cannot be compelled to comply with
Plaintiffs' request because the Salesforce background
data is outside of its “possession, custody, or
control.” In support, Angie's List argues that
Salesforce is a third-party provider of services and that it
has no greater rights to the background data than any other
person. Angie's List points to the $15, 000 invoice it
received from Salesforce for the background data it already
provided to Plaintiffs.
in reply, argue that Angie's List's argument is
belied by their conduct in producing a year's worth of
background data. Plaintiffs argue that Angie's List is
conflating the requirement of “control” with
undue cost or burden under the proportionality prong of Rule
List has used Salesforce's sales platform since 2012.
[Dkt. 100 ¶ 2 (declaration of Salesforce
employee Avanti Sardesai offered by Plaintiffs); Dkt.
103-2 ¶ 2 (declaration of Salesforce employee
Avanti Sardesai offered by Angie's List).] Angie's
List, as an end user of Salesforce, has regular access to a
wide array of sales data and metrics. [SeeDkt. 103-2
¶ 3.] Salesforce's platform, as part of the ordinary
course of business and functioning of the system, also logs
background data regarding each client's Salesforce use.
[Dkt. 100 ¶¶ 4-9, 12.] While “[a]n
end user” such as Angie's List “does not
typically access this log data” [Dkt. 103-2
¶ 7], these event records are maintained “for
Angie's List, Inc. . . . in the regular course of
business” [Dkt. 100 ¶ 12]. These records
may be used for a variety of purposes, including to allow
Angie's List “to determine what activities an
Angie's List User performed in Salesforce and the date
and time when those activities were performed”
[id. ¶ 13].
multiple email exchanges, meets-and-confers, delays, and
conferences with the Court, Angie's List produced one
year's worth of Salesforce background data in response to
Plaintiffs' request for production served on June 15,
2016. [See Dkt. 67; Dkt. 91; Dkt. 97-6; Dkt. 97-7;
Dkt. 97-8; Dkt. 97-9; Dkt. 97-10; Dkt. 97-11; Dkt. 97-12;
Dkt. 97-13; Dkt. 97-14; Dkt. 97-15; Dkt. ...