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Muhammad v. Director of Corrections

January 5, 2010

SHAKA MUHAMMAD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DIRECTOR OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action proceeds on the Second Amended Complaint against defendants Hines and Noble as to plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims that he was compelled, in 2006, to sleep on a contaminated mattress at California State Prison-Solano (CSP-Solano).

The matters currently pending before the court are: (1) plaintiff's motions to compel discovery (Dockets 84 and 86); (2) plaintiff's "motions for injunctive relief" (Dockets 77, 79, 80, 85 and 90); and (3) defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket 89). For the following reasons, the court denies plaintiff's motions but accords plaintiff additional time within which to further brief his claim he was denied access to the courts and to respond to defendants' motion for summary judgment.

I. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR DISCOVERY

The discovery deadline in this action was May 29, 2009. Docket 83. As set forth in the court's order filed January 28, 2009 (Docket 83, ¶ 1) (emphasis added):

The parties may conduct discovery until May 29, 2009. Any motions necessary to compel discovery shall be filed by that date. All requests for discovery pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 31, 33, 34 or 36 shall be served not later than sixty days prior to that date.

On April 7, 2009, plaintiff filed a "Motion for Discovery" seeking an order of this court compelling defendants to produce thirteen separate categories of documents pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 34.*fn1 Docket 84. Although a proof of service upon the court, dated April 3, 2009, was attached to the motion, id. at 3, neither the requests for production nor the motion were served upon defendants. Decl. of Deputy Attorney General Ellen Y. Hung ("Hung Decl."), Docket 87-2, at ¶¶4, 5. However, upon receiving the court's electronic notification of this filing, defendants prepared and served, on May 15, 2009, their response to plaintiff's production requests, including some documents. Id. at ¶¶ 6, 7; Exh. A.

Plaintiff thereafter filed, on May 29, 2009 (the discovery deadline), a "Motion for an Order Compelling Discovery." Docket 86. This motion, made pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a), asserts that defendants interposed improper objections and failed to produce all requested documents, and seeks $1000 sanctions as plaintiff's reasonable expenses in pursuing this matter. The exhibits attached to this motion include a "rewrite" (rather than a copy) of the original thirteen production requests, essentially setting forth the same requests.*fn2

Defendants' opposition to plaintiff's discovery motion is well taken. Notwithstanding the court's order that discovery requests be served on the opposing party no fewer than sixty days before May 29, 2009 (no later than March 30, 2009), plaintiff never served his requests upon defendants. Even if the court were to construe its April 7, 2009 electronic notification to defendants of plaintiff's motion and requests as "service," such notice would be untimely.*fn3 Moreover, review of the substance of defendants' responses and produced documents demonstrates adherence to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The objections interposed, e.g., irrelevance, overbreadth, and "not within defendants' possession, custody or control," appear valid; plaintiff does not assert otherwise, alleging only generally that "defendants failed to and refused to produce items plaintiff requested (See Exhibit A [the production requests]) [and] to answer fully . . ." Docket 86, at 1.

Accordingly, plaintiff's motions for discovery and sanctions will be denied.

II. PLAINTIFF'S "MOTIONS FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF"

The court notes initially that it has denied two of plaintiff's prior motions for injunctive relief. On September 25, 2008, the district court adopted the undersigned's findings and recommendation, after evidentiary hearing, that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (based on allegations that he was forced to sleep on a contaminated mattress) be denied. Dockets 72, 60, 27. Thereafter, on December 24, 2008, the district court adopted the undersigned's further findings and recommendation that plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order, to stay his proposed transfer from CSP-Solano, be denied. Dockets 81, 73, 62.

Currently pending is plaintiff's November 17, 2009 motion for "Exigent Restraining Order to Have Plaintiff Placed in a Cell by Himself," Docket 90, at 1, as well as four prior filed "motions for injunctive relief," Dockets 77, 79, 80, 85. For the following reasons, the ...


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