St. Louis Record

Friday, November 15, 2019

Judge orders TJX, man suing it over French coffee press to converse over discovery disagreements


By Charmaine Little | Jun 14, 2019


ST. LOUIS – U.S. Magistrate Judge Noelle C. Collins ordered the owner of TJ Maxx stores and a man suing it over an allegedly faulty French coffee press to come to an agreement over their discovery issues over the phone or in person. 

Collins made the ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in the Northern Division on June 4.

While Wells Pettibone filed his third motion to compel and TJX Cos Inc. responded to it, Collins said he failed to reply within the allowed timeframe. Collins gave Pettibone until June 10 to file a reply brief indicating the remaining discovery disputes.

In his motion to compel, the ruling states Pettibone asked the court to order TJX Cos. to produce the following documents – “instructions for use or care for the product provided by the manufacturer; notes, records, or files in any way related to kind of due diligence, investigation or inquiry made by defendant regarding the product between 2013 and present; and notes, messages records, or files relating in any way to communications between defendant and HH Asia LTD regarding the product.” 

Pettibone also requested communication among employees about the product, parts of TJX’s e-library that’s connected to the distribution, care and evaluations such as inspection of the French coffee press or any glass kitchen products at TJX.

“...Plaintiff’s requests, while related to the subject matter and therefore relevant, [are] overly broad and not proportional to the needs of the case. Defendant has made a number of sensible recommendations to narrow the scope of production that the court urges the party to consider,” Collins wrote.

One of those things is that Collins determined was “reasonable” was to put a limit on the number of requests given at a time concerning the product.

Pettibone sued over allegations of negligence and products liability in March 2018 in Marion County Circuit Court. He said he purchased a French coffee express, the Masterclass Oak Handle 6-Cup Coffee Press, at a TJ Maxx store that he didn’t know was defective until it “failed and exploded” in September 2017, the ruling states. 

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