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Masterson v. Campbell

August 31, 2009

DANIEL J. MASTERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROSEANNE CAMPBELL, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court are various motions filed by plaintiff.

BACKGROUND

In his 251-page complaint, plaintiff alleges that over the course of several years, defendant Baker has sexually harassed him and other inmates. Plaintiff further alleges that defendants have retaliated against him for filing complaints concerning defendant Baker's alleged misconduct.*fn1 In addition, plaintiff alleges that defendants have searched his cell and improperly confiscated his personal property. Plaintiff claims that defendants have violated his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

DISCOVERY AND SUBPOENA-RELATED MOTIONS

I. Plaintiff's Motion to Take Written Depositions

Plaintiff has filed a motion seeking a court order allowing him to take written depositions. Plaintiff claims that he is dissatisfied with the defendants responses to his interrogatories. He notes that he submitted to an oral deposition for several hours and answered defense counsels' questions without objections. He would like to submit written questions to the defendants and have them respond in writing to avoid the cost of a court reporter or stenographer, recording devices, and transcripts.

Defendants have opposed plaintiff's motion, arguing that plaintiff is attempting to exceed the limit of twenty-five interrogatories per defendant. Moreover, defendants note that under Rule 31 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a deposition by written questions must take place before a court reporter who transcribes the deposition testimony and certifies the deposition.

Assuming for the sake of argument that plaintiff is acting in good faith and not attempting to exceed the numerical limit on interrogatories, he has not shown that he is able and willing to procure the services of an officer that could administer the written deposition, certify defendants' responses, and prepare a record. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 31(a)(3) & (b). Accordingly, the court will deny plaintiff's motion to take written depositions.

II. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery

Plaintiff has filed a motion to compel defendants to "answer in full, any and all Interrogatories that were not fully responded to, and or, were responded to with evasive answers, and or, were objected to in bad faith. . . ." He also seeks to compel defendants to "produce any and all documents requested by Plaintiff. . . ." Plaintiff has attached to his motion copies of his discovery requests and defendants' responses thereto.

Defendants have opposed plaintiff's motion, arguing that he has failed to sufficiently state in what way their responses to his discovery requests are inadequate. For example, plaintiff has not specified which of defendants' responses to his interrogatories or document requests are the subject of his motion. Instead, he has merely attached to his motion more than 120 pages of defendants' responses to his discovery requests.

The court does not hold litigants proceeding pro se to the same standards that it holds attorneys. However, at a minimum, as the moving party plaintiff has the burden of informing the court which discovery requests are the subject of his motion to compel, which of defendants' responses are disputed, why he believes defendants' responses are deficient, why defendants' objections are not justified, and why the information he seeks through discovery is relevant to the prosecution of this action. See, e.g., Brooks v. Alameida, No. CIV S-03-2343 JAM EFB P, 2009 WL 331358 at *2 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 10, 2009) ("Without knowing which responses plaintiff seeks to compel or on what grounds, the court cannot grant plaintiff's motion."); Ellis v. Cambra, No. CIV F-02-5646 AWI SMS PC, 2008 WL 860523 at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008) ("Plaintiff must inform the court which discovery requests are the subject of his motion to compel, and, for each disputed response, inform the court why the information sought is relevant and why Defendant's objections are not justified.").

Here, plaintiff has provided no specific arguments in support of his motion to compel and is essentially asking the court to make his arguments for him. At most, in his reply to defendants' opposition to his motion plaintiff refers to certain discovery requests by way of example but then contends that he objects to the majority if not all of the defendants' responses to his interrogatories and requests for production of documents. The court will not review each of plaintiff's discovery requests and each of defendants' responses thereto in order to determine whether any of the defendants' responses are somehow deficient. Plaintiff has the burden of describing why a defendant's particular response is inadequate. See, e.g., Williams v. Flint, No. CIV S 06-1238 FCD GGH P, 2007 WL 2274520 at *1 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 6, ...


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