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Bucceri v. Cumberland Farms, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

January 6, 2020

DIANNE BUCCERI, et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
CUMBERLAND FARMS, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Indira Talwani, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiffs filed this collective action alleging overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§1, et seq., and Massachusetts wage laws. Before the court are Plaintiffs' Corrected Motions to Compel the Production of Documents. [#167, #168, #169], which Defendant has opposed. Omnibus Opposition [#163]. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion [#167] is ALLOWED IN PART and DENIED without prejudice IN PART, Plaintiffs' Motion [#168] is DENIED, and Plaintiffs' Motion [#169] is DENIED.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiffs Dianne Bucceri, Janet Charak, and Lisa Sanders brought this suit against Defendant Cumberland Farms, Inc. (“Cumberland”) on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated Legacy Store Managers (“LSM”). The court conditionally certified this action as a collective action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §216(b) for the purpose of facilitating notice to current and former LSMs, see Order Regarding 216(b) Notice [#41], and one hundred and six individuals opted-in to the action. The court subsequently set a timetable for “Phase I Discovery, ” involving the claims of eight Plaintiffs (the “Phase I Plaintiffs”) and Defendant's defenses to such claims. Amended Scheduling Order [#115]. Pursuant to the Amended Scheduling Order, Defendant was directed to respond to Plaintiffs' previously served requests for production of documents, as they pertained to the Phase I Plaintiffs. Id. at ¶ 1(a)(i). Plaintiffs now seek to compel further responses to these requests.[1]

         B. Motion #167 - Training Materials

         The first motion seeks to compel documents that Plaintiffs contend are responsive to Plaintiffs' Requests for Production of Documents Nos. 4 and 17. These requests and Defendant's responses are as follows:

REQUEST NO. 4:
Documents relating to the training of Store Managers in the performance of their tasks, assignments, duties or functions, including but not limited to curricula, syllabi, training materials handouts, instructors' materials, test and answer keys, and video tapes.
RESPONSE:
Cumberland Farms objects to this Interrogatory as overbroad to the extent it purports to seek information about all Store Manager positions, and is not properly limited to Store Managers of Cumberland Farms's Legacy format stores.
Subject to and without waiving its objection, Cumberland Farms states that it has produced all trainings for Store Managers of Legacy format stores that it located after a reasonable search. Further responding, Cumberland Farms refers Plaintiffs[] to its response to Interrogatory No. 8 . . . .
REQUEST NO. 17:
Documents related to the terms and conditions of a Store Managers' employment with Defendant, including but not limited to all company and personnel manuals, employee handbooks, training materials, new hire orientation materials, and memoranda that Store Managers were provided by Defendant or that applied to Defendant's Store Managers.
RESPONSE:
Cumberland Farms objects to this Interrogatory as overbroad to the extent it purports to seek information about all Store Manager positions, and is not properly limited to Store Managers of Cumberland Farms's Legacy format stores. Cumberland Farms further objects to this Request as overbroad and unduly burdensome to the extent it purports to seek information beyond what is relevant and proportionate to the needs of the case . . . .
Subject to and without waiving its objections, Cumberland Farms states that it produced documents that are both responsive to this Request and relevant to issues in this litigation . . . that it could locate after a reasonable search . . [and] had produced additional documents responsive to this Request.

         Defendant's First Am. Resp. to Plaintiffs' Req. for Production of Docs. 4, 11-12 [#167-1].

         Plaintiffs seek an order compelling Defendant (1) to produce Managers-in-Training training materials; (2) to produce all versions of Defendant's “Store Managers' Guide to Orienting and Training New Team Members” (“Store Manager Guide”) that were used in the relevant employment period and a list maintained on Defendant's Learning Management System listing all trainings available to LSMs; and (3) “to conduct a diligent search of its training documents, identify all responsive documents which have not been produced, and produce them to Plaintiffs.” Pls.' Mot. to Compel 3-7 [#167]. The court addresses each of the above requests in turn.

         1.Manager-in-Training Materials

         The parties dispute first whether training materials for Managers-in-Training fall within either of the Requests at issue. Defendant argues that Request No. 4 and Request No. 17 only seek materials relating to “Store Managers, ” a term defined by Plaintiffs as “current or former employees working at any and all of Defendants' [sic] [Legacy] store locations in that position.” Def. Omnibus Opp'n 9 [#163], quoting Request for Production of Documents [#163-14] at 9. Defendant argues that since Managers-in-Training do not work in the position of Legacy Store Manager, Plaintiffs' Requests do not include Manager-in-Training training materials.

         Request No. 17 sought documents relating to “the terms and conditions of a [Legacy] Store Managers' employment with Defendant, including . . . training materials . . . that [Legacy] Store Managers were provided by Defendant or that applied to Defendant's [Legacy] Store Managers.” Ex. 1 at 11 (Pls.' Mot. to Compel) [#167]. Because the request is for documents relating to the “terms and conditions of employment” of Legacy Store Managers, the court agrees that training material provided to Manager-in-Training is not responsive to this request.

         In contrast, Request No. 4 sought “documents relating to the training of [Legacy] Store Managers in the performance of their tasks, assignments, duties or functions.” The Request seeks material used to train employees for the position of Legacy Store Manager, and not merely material provided after the employee has already been trained for the position. See Def.'s Omnibus Opp'n 9-10 (stating that all LSMs are ...


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