United States District Court, D. Nebraska
RODOLFO A. QUILES, Plaintiff,
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, INCORPORATED, RODNEY N. DOERR, EDWARD ADELMAN, TRACY SCOTT, and KATHLEEN HUGHES, individually; Defendants.
M. BAZIS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for
Fees, Costs, and a Jury Instruction Associated with
Disproving Defendants’ Responses to Requests for
Admissions. (Filing No. 57.) Upon consideration, the
motion will be denied.
filed this action on July 7, 2016, alleging that Defendant
Union Pacific Railroad Company, Inc. (“Union
Pacific”) terminated his employment in violation of the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
(“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C. § 4301, et
seq. (Filing No. 1.)
29, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to stay and compel
arbitration (Filing No. 12), asserting that
Plaintiff agreed to arbitrate any claims arising out of his
employment relationship with Union Pacific when he entered
into a stock agreement which included an arbitration
provision. (Filing No. 13.) Plaintiff disputed that
he entered into any agreement by virtue of his acceptance of
a bonus award of stock.
October 11, 2016, the Court denied Defendants’ motion
to stay without prejudice to reassertion following
“limited discovery regarding the existence of the
[stock] agreement by means of the plaintiff’s
deposition and production of certain electronically stored
information associated with whether the plaintiff received
and accepted the stock incentive agreement when he received
notice of the stock award and created an [E-trade]
account.” (Filing No. 23.) The Court ordered
that the discovery be completed within sixty days.
Plaintiff served requests for admission upon Defendants.
(Filing No. 24.) On November 22, 2016, Defendants
respond to the discovery, denying requests for admission Nos.
7, 9 and 11. (Filing No. 41-1.) These requests asked
Defendants to admit: (1) “Defendants do not have
evidence showing [Plaintiff] reviewed the terms of an
arbitration agreement;” (2) “Defendants do not
have record/s of communication with [Plaintiff] regarding an
arbitration agreement;” and (3) “Defendants do
not know of a person who has personal knowledge that
[Plaintiff] was given (or presented with) the terms of the
arbitration agreement with Defendants.” (Id.)
January 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for partial
summary judgment, requesting that the Court dismiss all of
Defendants’ claims regarding the existence of an
arbitration agreement. (Filing No. 38.) The
following day, Defendants filed a second motion to stay and
compel arbitration (Filing No. 43), in which they
admitted that they did not have a signed stock agreement or
evidence that Plaintiff read or even accessed the stock
agreement. (Filing No. 44 at CM/ECF at pp. 2-5.)
Instead, Defendants argued that, if Plaintiff maintained his
claim that he was entitled to the value of the stock, the
“direct benefit estoppel” doctrine prohibited
Plaintiff from denying he was subject to the arbitration
clause contained in the stock agreement. (Id. at CM/ECF
at p. 2.)
April 28, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motion
for partial summary judgment and denied Defendants’
motion to compel arbitration and stay. (Filing No.
53.) The Court found that there was no valid, binding
agreement to arbitrate as a matter of law, and that there was
no evidence that Plaintiff agreed to arbitrate.
seeks sanctions against Defendants pursuant to Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 26, 36(a), and 37(c) for alleged discovery
abuses. (Filing No. 57.) Plaintiff asserts that he
has proved that an arbitration agreement between the parties
never existed and that the absence of such agreement
“should have been resolved nearly seven months ago by
truthful responses in discovery and representations of
counsel.” (Filing No. 58.) Plaintiff argues
that Defendants provided untruthful responses to
Plaintiff’s Requests for Admissions Nos. 7, 9, and 11,
which necessitated unnecessary discovery and motion practice.
Plaintiff maintains that he is entitled to (1) costs
associated with disproving Defendants’ responses to the
Requests for Admissions; (2) reasonable attorney fees
associated with the instant motion and the disproving of
Defendants’ responses to the Requests for Admissions;
and (3) a “negative inference jury instruction”
at the time of trial.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 states that parties responding to
discovery must certify that their responses are
“warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous
argument” and “not interposed for any improper
purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or
needlessly increase the cost of litigation.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 26. If a certification violates this Rule
without “substantial justification,” the Court
“must impose an appropriate sanction,” which may
include an order to pay reasonable expenses, including
attorney’s fees, caused by the violation. Id.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c)(2) provides:
If a party fails to admit what is requested under Rule 36 and
if the requesting party later proves a document to be genuine
or the matter true, the requesting party may move that the
party who failed to admit pay the reasonable expenses,
including attorney’s ...