African American residents (plaintiffs) in Baltimore public housing developments sued the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, its secretary, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, its executive director, the Mayor, and the City Council of Baltimore (defendants). The plaintiffs alleged the defendants had segregated the housing developments since 1933, in violation of the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution and multiple civil rights statutes. Many claims settled. The plaintiffs made discovery requests under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 33 and 34 going back to 1933. The local defendants objected, arguing the requests were overbroad, burdensome, and exceeded the scope of discovery. The plaintiffs moved the court to compel production.