PGW Files Opposition to Releasing Reduction-in-Force Documents
March 22, 2012
by Katie O'Mara, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) has filed a response brief in opposition to the company’s former employees’ motion to compel. The former employees, who are alleging age discrimination against the company, filed a motion that PGW release documents relating to the company’s reduction-in-force in October of 2011.
According to PGW’s response, “Plaintiffs’ motion to compel can be distilled into a single question: does Plaintiffs’ case regarding alleged discrimination in a reduction-in-force that took place in March 2009 entitle them to also litigate an unrelated reduction-in-force occurring more than two years later in October 2011? The answer is no.”
The company claims that the October 2011 reduction-in-force is not relevant to the case because this reduction-in-force had no impact on the former employees’ termination. PGW also claims that producing these documents would be “unduly burdensome.”
“Indeed, the parties have spent over a year taking discovery related to the March 31, 2009 reduction-in-force,” reads PGW's response. “PGW has produced thousands of documents, and dozens of employees for depositions. At this point in the litigation, opening discovery into the termination decisions related to the October, 2011 reduction-in-force is tantamount to adding an entire equally-sized case to this matter. If Plaintiffs are allowed to delve into such a completely separate and unrelated topic which has no bearing on Plaintiffs’ claims, discovery can be expected to proceed for another year (or more) just on matters related to the October, 2011 reduction-in-force...”
PGW goes on to say that no matter what the October 2011 documentation reveals the former employees will use it against the company.
“Indeed, Plaintiffs have advanced a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ theory of relevance,” reads PGW’s response. “Plaintiffs specifically state that if the 2011 reduction-in-force was done right, in their view, it proves that the March 2009 reduction-in-force was done incorrectly. Plaintiffs further state that if the 2011 reduction-in-force was done wrong, it proves that there is discrimination on an ongoing basis. Literally, then, as Plaintiffs’ have themselves presented the issue, it doesn’t matter what they will uncover, as, in their minds at least, it will always prove discrimination. This is precisely the danger of allowing such far-flung discovery and illustrates precisely why courts regularly refuse to permit fishing expeditions like Plaintiffs’ seek here.”
The suit was originally filed in October 2010 and the plaintiffs in the suit include seven former employees who allege they were let go during a March 2009 reduction-in-force due to their age. Mediation was held on February 2, but ended with the release of the joint status report claiming that the former employees and PGW could not come to agreement.
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