Rollins v. Cone Distributing, Inc.

710 Fed. Appx. 814 (11th Cir. 2017)


Rollins (P) was hired by D in a probationary capacity as a warehouse worker. P was responsible for loading bulk quantities of beer and other beverages onto and off of D trucks. In the 4th week, P received CDL training. P’s instructor, Yero, for driver training stated that P was not receptive and would not listen to his instructions and that she was the most difficult and combative trainee he had ever encountered. Cone employees are on probation for the first 90 days of employment. Tim Null, human resources, was told to look into whether P was a good fit for the company. Yero explained that P was combative and that when Yero would instruct P to do something, she would argue that he was incorrect and do something different. Null decided to terminate P before the end of her probation because P had difficulty working with others, did not perform tasks as instructed, and failed to follow Yero's instructions during driver training. P sued D in state court alleging sex discrimination and retaliation under state and federal law. P alleged that people refused to train or work with her because of her sex. She also alleged that Yero intentionally gave her misleading information and said she was unready to take a CDL test while providing male employees with more opportunities for CDL training. P alleged that she was terminated in retaliation for filing a report that another worker simply refused to work with a female. D removed the case to district court. P filed three motions to compel. P sought the personnel files of every employee who had ever held P's position at the Tallahassee warehouse to determine if these employees had received more favorable treatment than she did. P asked to conduct a second deposition of Lopez because he was not sufficiently prepared for his first deposition. P insisted that D respond to her interrogatories requesting information about the reasons for her termination; any documents related to those reasons; and any policies or procedures she could have utilized to address employment discrimination or harassment. The district court denied the requests as disproportional to the needs of the case and duplicative of items already produced. It did order D Cone to produce any notes Boyer took during a meeting she held with P and Mitchell. The court declined to order D to pay any of P's expenses because it concluded that D was substantially justified in opposing P's requests. Summary judgment was granted to D and P appealed.