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Ziehlke v. City of Angels Camp

August 6, 2009

MICHAEL ZIEHLKE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF ANGELS CAMP, AND CHRIS COMFORT, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EMPLOYEE OF THE CITY OF ANGELS CAMP, TONY TACHEIRA, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE CHIEF OF POLICE OF THE CITY OF ANGELS CAMP, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 20, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO COMPEL

ORDER DENYING SANCTIONS IN PART

(Documents 19 & 23)

I. INTRODUCTION

On July 6, 2009, Defendants City of Angels Camp, Chris Comfort and Tony Tacheira (hereinafter "Defendants") filed a Motion to Compel Answers to Special Interrogatories (Doc. 19) and a Motion to Compel Production of Documents (Doc. 23) based on Plaintiff Michael Ziehlke's lack of compliance with discovery. More particularly, Defendants contend Plaintiff has wholly failed to respond to Defendants' first set of special interrogatories and first set of request for production of documents. Plaintiff did not oppose the motions.

A hearing was scheduled for August 7, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. After reviewing the motions and related pleadings, the Court determined that these matters were suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 78-230(h). Thus, the hearing previously calendared for August 7, 2009, was vacated. (See Doc. 27.) Having considered all materials submitted, and as discussed more fully below, Defendants' Motions to Compel Answers to Special Interrogatories and Production of Documents are GRANTED. Defendants' requests for related sanctions are GRANTED IN PART.

II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 24, 2008, Plaintiff filed a complaint asserting (1) violations of Title 42 of the United States Code section 1983 and Title 28 of the United States Code section 1343, (2) false arrest and imprisonment, and (3) malicious prosecution. (Doc. 1.) Answers were filed on behalf of all Defendants on February 9, 2009. (Docs. 6-8.)

On July 6, 2009, Defendants filed a Motion to Compel Answers to Special Interrogatories, after serving the discovery request upon Plaintiff on March 16, 2009. (Doc. 19.) Defendants also filed a Motion to Compel Production of Documents, having served the request for production, set one, upon Plaintiff on March 10, 2009. (Doc. 23.)

Plaintiff did not oppose the motions or otherwise respond.

III. DISCOVERY DISPUTE

A. Special Interrogatories

On March 16, 2009, Defendants propounded the first set of specially prepared interrogatories to Plaintiff. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 2 & Ex. A.)

On April 20, 2009, after Plaintiff's time to respond to the discovery had expired, Defendants' counsel wrote to Plaintiff's counsel to request the responses be provided within ten days in order to avoid a motion to compel. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 3 & Ex. B.) Defense counsel received no response. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 4.)

Thereafter, hoping to avoid the instant motion, Defendants noticed Plaintiff's deposition for June 23, 2009. On June 22, 2009, Plaintiff's counsel advised Plaintiff would be unable to attend his deposition. During the conversation between counsel for the parties, Plaintiff's counsel advised defense counsel that discovery responses were forthcoming and should be expected on Friday of that week. Defense counsel confirmed the agreement in a letter dated June 23, 2009. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 5 & Ex. C.)

On July 1, 2009, when Plaintiff had again failed to provide any response to the outstanding discovery, defense counsel wrote to Plaintiff's counsel asking that the discovery responses be provided no later than July 6, 2009. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 6 & Ex. D.)

As of July 6, 2009, Defendants had received neither the discovery responses outstanding, nor a response to the correspondence of June 23 or ...


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