In Ossola v. American Express Company, 2015 WL 5158712 (N.D. Ill. 2015), Judge Cole found that a TCPA plaintiff, whose liability theory against a Defendant proceeded solely based on vicarious liability, was not entitled to “call data” from that Defendant because it was irrelevant since since that Defendant did not place any calls.  Instead, the discovery appeared to be improperly tailored to find a better class action plaintiff, which the federal rules did not permit.

As the party bringing the motion to compel, the Plaintiffs bear the burden of demonstrating the relevancy of Amex’s dialing records. See Sandoval v. Bridge Terminal Transport, Inc., 2015 WL 3650644 (E.D.Wis.2015); West, 2006 WL 2349988, at *2. They do not attempt to explain the relevancy of the data in the face of their own assertions to the contrary, instead arguing that producing the requested information is “standard practice in TCPA” cases. (Dkt. No. 290 at 5). This argument misses the point. Call data is relevant, and thus produced as standard practice, only in cases where the defendant is the alleged dialer. See, e.g., Martin v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, 2011 WL 2311869, at * *3–5 (N.D.Ill.2011); Donnelly v. NCO Fin. Sys., Inc., 263 F.R.D. 500, 503–04 (N.D.Ill.2009). By contrast, when plaintiffs do not allege having received calls from the defendant, or do not allege having received a certain type of call from the defendant, granting broad discovery of call data is not “standard practice.” See, e.g., Gusman v. Comcast Corp., 298 F.R.D. 592, 597 (S.D.Cal.2014) (denying motion to compel dialer list of marketing calls because plaintiff received only collection calls).  In sum, because none of the existing Plaintiffs allege having been called directly by Amex, and because Judge Lee accepted Plaintiffs’ argument that Amex’s own dialing practices are irrelevant to the outcome of the case, Amex’s internal dialing records are not information relevant to the Ossola, Callentine, or Dolemba claims. And so, the discovery being sought by the Plaintiffs is inappropriate.   The discovery rules are not a ticket to an unlimited, never-ending exploration of every conceivable matter that captures an attorney’s interest. Vakharia v. Swedish Covenant Hosp., 1994 WL 75055 at *2 (N.D.Ill.1994)(Moran, J.). “Parties are entitled to a reasonable opportunity to investigate the facts-and no more.” Id. Even before the limitation in Rule 26 that a party may obtain discovery on matters relevant to a claim or defense, see supra at 8, the Supreme Court had cautioned that the requirement of Rule 26(b)(1) that the material sought in discovery be “relevant” should be firmly applied, and that “judges should not hesitate to exercise appropriate control over the discovery process.” Herbert v. Lando, 441 U.S. 153 (1979). See also Oppenheimer Fund, Inc., 437 U.S. at 352.  Failure to exercise that control results in needless and enormous costs to the litigants and to the due administration of justice. Judicious use of the court’s case-management authority during the litigation can help to check overlawyering, and appropriate limits on discovery can effectively channel the efforts of counsel before excessive time and resources are expended. Montanez v. Simon, 755 F.3d 547, 552 (7th Cir.2014). Cf. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007); Frank Easterbrook, Discovery as Abuse, 69 B.U.L.Rev. 635 (1989. See also Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 507–508 (1947).   And so, courts frequently restrict discovery based on relevance objections. See, e.g., Balderston v. Fairbanks Morse Engine Div. of Coltec Indus., 328 F.3d 309, 320 (7th Cir.2003); Kinkead v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., 49 F.3d 454, 457 (8th Cir.1995); Diak v. Dwyer, Costello, and Knox, P.C., 33 F.3d 809, 813 (7th Cir.1994); Detweiler Bros., Inc. v. John Graham & Co., 412 F.Supp. 416, 422 (E.D.Wash.1976). That is the appropriate course to be followed here.