St. Louis Record

Saturday, November 16, 2019

TJX required to present more documentation in lawsuit from French press buyer

Federal Court

By Charmaine Little | Aug 9, 2019

Collins
Judge Noelle Collins

ST. LOUIS – A federal court has ordered the parent company to a number of department stores to produce a privilege log and other documents in a case over injuries allegedly caused by a coffee press.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Noelle C. Collins of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri’s Northern Division on June 25 ordered TJX Cos. Inc. to submit a correct privilege log to both the court and plaintiff Wells Pettibone. TJX owns TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and other stores.

Pettibone sued TJX after an accident with a French press machine in 2012 he purchased from the defendant's store. He alleges the coffee press malfunctioned.

The ruling comes after Pettibone filed a second motion to compel on May 3 but he did not correctly confirm that both sides conversed in good faith, so the court denied it without prejudice. A week later, he filed his third motion to compel and wanted the court to order the defendant to release instructions for use or care for the product from the manufacturer. He also sought notes, records or files related to any investigation or inquiries TJX made about the product since 2013, as well as any notes, messages and other records connected to TJX and H&H Asia LTD as it relates to the product and other information.

On June 4, the court determined that Pettibone’s motion was connected to the lawsuit, but also that some requests could be too broad. The court told the parties to converse for a second time and Pettibone updated some of his requests. TJX then asked for leave to file a reply. The documents were due within 10 days, but TJX took issue with requests for documents concerning the communications between its counsel and H&H Asia LTD and communications between TJX’s corporate office with some employees. 

The defendant argued that “these communications are both outside the scope of discovery and not discoverable as privileged,” according to the ruling.

Collins found that these are discoverable, and ordered TJX to issue a privilege log to the plaintiff. It gave TJX a 10-day deadline.

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