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Neal v. Juarez

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


April 13, 2007

RICHARD LELAND NEAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RIC JUAREZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jan M. AdlerU.S. Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT WMC MORTGAGE CORP.'S REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF [Doc. No. 108]

On March 21, 2007, this Court issued an Order Denying Remainder of Plaintiff's "Motion For Sanctions." Doc. No. 110. The Order required, in response to Defendant WMC Mortgage Corp.'s ("WMC's") request for sanctions against Plaintiff under Rule 37(a)(4)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that Plaintiff file a response to the request for sanctions. See WMC's Response to Plaintiff Richard Leland Neal's Supplemental Brief for an Order Compelling Disclosure [Doc. No. 108] at 3-4; Mar. 21, 2007 Order [Doc. No. 110] at 3. The Court received Plaintiff's response on April 6, 2007.

Under Rule 37(a)(4)(B), if a motion to compel discovery is denied, the court . . . shall, after affording an opportunity to be heard, require the moving party . . . to pay to the party . . . who opposed the motion the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion, including attorney's fees, unless the court finds that the making of the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(4)(B). Here, Plaintiff's motion for sanctions, construed by the Court as a motion to compel discovery, was denied in full. See Feb. 23, 2007 Order [Doc. No. 101] & Mar. 21, 2007 Order. The Court finds that the motion was not "substantially justified." However, an award of sanctions against Plaintiff would be unjust under the circumstances. It does not appear to the Court that Plaintiff made his motion with the intent to harass or annoy WMC. Rather, the Court finds that notwithstanding his failure to demonstrate that WMC withheld any documents, Plaintiff genuinely believed that WMC had not fully responded to his discovery requests. See, e.g., Rhodes v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., 2007 WL 840307 at *2 (E.D. Cal. 2007) (denying motion for sanctions under Rule 37(a)(4)(B) against pro se plaintiff).

Accordingly, the Court DENIES WMC's request for sanctions against Plaintiff.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20070413

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