United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
BURROUGHS DIESEL, INC. PLAINTIFF
BAKER PETROLITE, LLC, et al. DEFENDANTS
Michael T. Parker United States Magistrate Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion  to
Compel Discovery against Defendants, Baker Petrolite and
Baker Hughes. Having considered the parties'
submissions, the Court finds that Motion to Compel 
should be granted in part and denied in part.
action arises out of the alleged failure of a tank, owned by
Defendants, on October 14, 2016 that contained hydrochloric
acid. The acid allegedly traveled through the air and damaged
Plaintiff's real and personal property.
August 16, 2018, Plaintiff served interrogatories and
requests for production of documents on Defendants.
See Notices , , , . On August 31,
2018, Defendant Baker Petrolite filed its discovery
responses. See Notices , . On October 1,
2018, Defendant Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations filed its
discovery responses. See Notices , .
Court held a conference with the parties on October 30, 2018
to discuss several discovery disputes. After the parties were
unable to agree on all the issues, Plaintiff filed the
Court applies the standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil
26(b)(1) which allows for discovery of material that is
proportional to the case and non-privileged. “The party
seeking discovery bears the burden of showing its
necessity.” Freeman v. United States, 556 F.3d
326, 341 (5th Cir. 2009). Discovery is “to be accorded
a broad and liberal treatment to effect [its] purposes of
adequately informing litigants in civil trials.”
Herbert v. Lando, 441 U.S. 153, 176 (1979).
“At some point, however, discovery yields diminishing
returns, needlessly increases expenses, and delays the
resolution of the parties' dispute.” Willis v.
City of Hattiesburg, 2016 WL 918038, at *2 (S.D.Miss.
Mar. 10, 2016). Discovery disputes are left to the discretion
of the trial court. Freeman, 556 F.3d at 341. Having
carefully considered the Motion, the Court rules as follows:
Interrogatory No. 7: Please identify all ruptures of
tanks containing hydrochloric acid in tanks owned by Baker
Petrolite or Baker Hughes for the last ten (10) years, and
identify specifically the location, cause of the rupture of
the tank, amount of acid spilled, and reference all claims
for damages or civil actions arising from the rupture of the
information is relevant to the claims at issue, but the
request is far too broad. Defendants have already answered
this interrogatory regarding all ruptured tanks owned by
Baker and manufactured by Poly Processing within the past
five years in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Plaintiff
also requests this information regarding Texas.
request will be granted in part. Defendants shall identify
any such ruptures of tanks for a five-year period, from the
date suit was filed, in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and
Texas which have resulted in the filing of a lawsuit. For any
such lawsuit filed, Defendants shall provide the names of the
parties, identify the court where the suit was filed, and the
cause number. The Motion to Compel as to Interrogatory No. 7
is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART as set forth above.
Interrogatory No. 11: Please state the company or
individuals that you purchased hydrochloric acid from for the
five (5) years prior to the subject spill on October 14,
2016, identify the person or entity who filled the tank and
at what pneumatic pressure by which the tank was filled, and
list the persons or entities who utilized or purchased
hydrochloric acid withdrawn from the subject tank within this
five (5) year period.
concedes that Defendants have already provided records
pertaining to the filling of the tank for the past five
years. The only issue remaining is records regarding the
identity of the purchasers and how much hydrochloric acid was
assert that the transfer of acid from the tank at issue to
the intermediary tank, from which the acid was actually sold,
was not recorded, and records of customer purchases from the
intermediary tank will not aid the Plaintiff in calculating
how much acid was in the tank at issue when the alleged
failure occurred. Mem.  at 4-5. The Court finds that this
information would not be relevant to the claims and defenses
considering that the acid that was sold was drawn from an
intermediary tank and not the tank at issue. The burden of
producing this information outweighs any likely
benefit. The Motion to Compel as to Interrogatory
No. 11 is DENIED.
Interrogatory No. 16: Please provide a list
containing the model number, year manufactured and serial
number of any and all storage tanks which you have previously
purchased from Poly Processing Company, LLC on any storage
facility owned by Baker Petrolite and Baker Hughes, identify
each tank which has cracked, ruptured, or leaked, and give
dates, locations and cause of the cracks, ruptures, or leaks.
states in its Motion that it would limit the scope of this
interrogatory to the past five (5) years within the states
Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. Mot.  at 4.
Defendants have already provided this information regarding
tanks in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, but they object
to providing the information from Texas. Defendants shall
provide this information regarding any such tanks which are
the subject of any lawsuit identified in Interrogatory No. 7.
The Motion to Compel as to Interrogatory No. 16 is GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART as set forth above.
for Production No. 3
Request for Production No. 3: Please produce all
documentation of any type or sort relating to purchase of
tanks from Poly Processing Company, LLC (“Poly
Processing”) or any other manufacturer for storage of
hydrochloric acid for the last ten (10) years, including all
documents relating to any of the tanks that have cracked or
ruptured, the specific reasons for any cracking or rupture,
the amount of acid leaked or spilled, and reference all civil
actions by entities or persons alleging damages from the acid
states in in its Motion that it would limit the scope of this
request to the past five (5) years, from the date of the
rupture, within the states of Mississippi, Louisiana,
Alabama, and Texas. Mot.  at 5. Defendants have provided
this information regarding tanks in Mississippi, Louisiana,
and Alabama from 2011-2016. See Resp.  Ex. D.
Defendants shall produce this information for the five years
prior to filing suit for any tank manufactured by or
purchased from Poly Processing that resulted in litigation in
Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, or Texas. The Motion to
Compel as to Request for Production No. 3 is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART.