United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
KERRI LUREEN, AS GUARDIAN AD LITEM OF S.L., A MINOR; Plaintiff,
CHRISTOPHER JOHN HOLL, IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY AND AS OWNER; METRO INITIATIVES, LLC, DOCTOR'S ASSOCIATES, INC., JOHN CLARK, IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY AND AS OWNER; FRANCHISE WORLD HEADQUARTERS, LLC, SUBWAY IP, INC., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DOCKET NO. 58
VERONICA L. DUFFY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the court on plaintiff Kerri Lureen's
amended complaint alleging sex discrimination, hostile work
environment, constructive discharge, negligence, and assault
and battery. See Docket No. 46. Jurisdiction is
founded on the presence of a federal question, diversity of
citizenship of the parties, and the court's supplemental
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332,
and 1367. Plaintiff has filed a motion to compel two
categories of discovery. See Docket No. 58.
Defendants resist the motion. See Docket No. 72. The
Honorable Lawrence L. Piersol, United States District Court
Judge, referred plaintiff's motion to this magistrate
judge for decision pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).
See Docket No. 63.
Background and Parties
is the mother and guardian of S.L., a minor. S.L. worked for
a Subway restaurant on East Arrow Avenue NE in Watertown,
South Dakota, for approximately 9 months, from August, 2015,
to March 16, 2016. S.L. was 15 years old at the time she went
to work for Subway. S.L.'s claims center around sexual
contact perpetrated by her direct manager at Subway, Kiley
Ramstorf, a man 14 years older than she. The Watertown Subway
was owed at the time by Metro Initiatives, LLC
("Metro"), a business entity owned by defendants
Christopher John Holl and John Clark, together with Ramstorf.
Metro owned five separate Subway restaurants. Neither party
has informed the court of the locations of these restaurants
or the dates during which Metro owned the restaurants.
the sexual contact between S.L. and Ramstorf came to light,
Ramstorf was charged criminally, convicted, and sentenced to
two years' imprisonment for the crime of sexual
exploitation of a minor. Ramstorf had been investigated in
2013 and 2014 for suspected sexual contact with minors,
apparently without any criminal charges ever being asserted.
alleges that defendants Doctor's Associates, Inc.
("DIA"); Franchise World Headquarters, LLC
("FWH"); and Subway IP (plaintiff collectively
characterizes these parties as "Subway"), provided
franchise training and ongoing managerial training of
Ramstorf both online, regionally, and at its corporate office
in Connecticut. Plaintiff alleges these defendants had
substantial control over day-to-day activities of its
franchisees, and specifically, over Metro. Plaintiff asserts
that the Subway defendants and Metro should be considered a
single employer, joint employers, or as principal and agent.
alleges that defendants Holl, Clark, and Metro had prior
knowledge of at least one of Ramstorf's prior criminal
investigations for sexual contact with minors. Plaintiff
alleges all defendants had been made aware of multiple
complaints about Ramstorf's inappropriate behavior toward
female employees at the Subway store where S.L. worked and
that these complaints were brought to defendants'
attention prior to the time Ramstorf victimized S.L. Despite
this foreknowledge, plaintiff asserts none of the defendants
took any appropriate action to address Ramstorf's
behavior toward female employees.
Interrogatory Number 43
served two discovery requests which are the subject of this
motion to compel, one an interrogatory directed to DIA and
the other a request for the production of documents directed
to defendants. The interrogatory asked the following:
Interrogatory No. 43:
Identify any and all other claims of sexual harassment or any
inappropriate sexual behavior or contact between managers or
any other female employees at any of your franchises in the
last 10 years including but not limited to formal complaints
to the EEOC or litigation resulted and state the manner of
resolution of those complaints.
See Docket No. 60-1 at p. 15.
responded to the interrogatory with the objection that it was
overbroad, unduly burdensome, not proportional to the needs
of the case, and not relevant. Id. DAI explained
that the request called for information about franchisees,
over which DAI disclaims any management authority regarding
managers of Subway franchises or sexual harassment.
Id. Also, DAI asserted the discovery request called
for information about other franchisees and locations not
relevant to this lawsuit. Id.
subsequent letter to defense counsel, plaintiff's counsel
asserted the discovery request was relevant under
Sandoval v. Amer. Bldg. Maint. Indus., Inc., 578
F.3d 787, 802 (8th Cir. 2009). See Docket No. 60-3
at p. 2. Plaintiff did not address the overbreadth or burden
objections made by DAI. Id. DAI pointed this lapse
out when it responded via letter. See Docket No.
60-4 at p. 2.
counsel wrote a subsequent letter in response, but
misconstrued DAI's position and never addressed the
overbroad/undue burden issue.See Docket No. 60-5 at
p. 2. In another subsequent letter, plaintiff's counsel
wrote that DIA "ha[d] not provided case law supporting
your position that such information is not relevant. If this
information is not provided by July 7, 2017, we will have ...