IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
April 26, 2010
STANLEY SWENSON, PLAINTIFF,
SISKIYOU COUNTY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action. A hearing on defendants' motion to compel and for sanctions (Doc. 57) was held on April 22, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. before the undersigned in Redding, California. Plaintiff appeared pro se. Philip B. Price, Esq., appeared for defendants.
At the outset, the court addresses plaintiff's objection that defendants violated Eastern District of California Local Rule 251(b) and (c) by failing to meet and confer or submit a joint statement regarding the discovery dispute. The meet-and-confer provisions of Local Rule 251 do not apply, however, "where there has been a complete and total failure to respond to a discovery request or order." See Local Rule 251(e). Such is the case here. Defendants allege, and plaintiff does not dispute, that he was provided an extension of time to January 22, 2010, to provided responses to interrogatories but failed to do so by that deadline. Thus, because defendants' motion is based on a total failure to respond to a discovery request, the exception to the meet-and-confer rule applies.
Turning to defendants' motion, counsel stated in court that he recently received plaintiff's responses to interrogatories and he withdrew that portion of defendants' motion seeking responses. All that remains is defendants' request for sanctions. Defendants are entitled to monetary sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(5) for reasonable expenses incurred in bringing their motion. Counsel states by declaration that his associate spent two hours preparing the motion at a rate of $105.00 per hour. Counsel expended three hours of his time for round-trip travel from Chico, California, at a rate of $120.00 per hour. The hearing lasted ten minutes. The court finds that these times and rates are reasonable. Therefore, defendants are entitled to sanctions in the total amount $590.00.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Defendants' motion to compel and for sanctions (Doc. 57) is granted;
2. Defendants are awarded monetary sanctions in the amount of $590.00 as reasonable expenses incurred in bringing their motion; and
3. Plaintiff shall pay the sanctions to defendants' counsel within 30 days of the date of this order.
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