The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER PARTIALLY GRANTING AND PARTIALLY DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO COMPEL (Docs. 54, 55)
Plaintiff John Wesley Williams ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On February 22, 2010, Plaintiff filed two motions to compel discovery responses from Defendant Vasquez. (Docs. #54, 55.) Plaintiff's first motion is titled "Notice and Motion to Compel Discovery and Sanctions for the Failure to Comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof" ("Motion to Compel Discovery"). Plaintiff's second motion is titled "Notice and Motion to Compel Response to Request for Production of Documents and Sanctions for Failure to Comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof" ("Motion to Compel Production of Documents"). Defendants filed oppositions to Plaintiff's motions on March 12, 2010. (Docs. 56, 57.) Plaintiff filed a reply to Defendants' oppositions on April 14, 2010. (Doc. 59.)
A. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery requests that the Court order Defendant Vasquez to provide complete and full responses to interrogatories 3, 5, 6, 7, and 10 from Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories. Plaintiff complains that Defendant's responses are evasive and incomplete. Plaintiff further complains that Defendant Vasquez did not exercise due diligence in answering Plaintiff's interrogatories by claiming "ignorance to information which is clearly from sources within his control." (Notice and Mot. to Compel Discovery and Sanctions for the Failure to Comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. Thereof at 4:23-24.)
Plaintiff is advised that he bears the burden of informing the Court of the basis for his motion to compel. It is not sufficient to offer a general argument that Defendant's responses were evasive and incomplete without elaborating on how each response was evasive or incomplete. Plaintiff must address each interrogatory individually and demonstrate why Defendant's objections are unjustified. Plaintiff must demonstrate, for each interrogatory, how Defendant's response was evasive or incomplete, or how information responsive to that interrogatory is clearly from sources within Defendant's control. Despite Plaintiff's failure to individually address the deficiencies in Defendant's responses, in the interest of time and economy, the Court will address Plaintiff's motion to compel with respect to Interrogatories No. 3, 5, 6, 7, and 10.
The Court further notes that there is some controversy over Plaintiff's mistaken references to Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") in his interrogatories because the allegations in Plaintiff's complaint took place at North Kern State Prison ("NKSP"). In his reply, Plaintiff claims that it was a "simple clerical error." Plaintiff also argues that he is not an attorney and cannot be held to the standards of an attorney.
It appears that, for the most part, Defendant has responded to Plaintiff's interrogatories as if they referred to NKSP as opposed to KVSP. Plaintiff has not specifically identified any interrogatory where Defendant responded to Plaintiff's interrogatory by literally interpreting the interrogatory as referencing KVSP. In the interest of time and economy, any further reference to KVSP will be treated as if it referred to NKSP. Defendant will also be ordered to interpret any reference to KVSP as a reference to NKSP, to the extent that Defendant is ordered to provide additional responses to Plaintiff's interrogatories.
Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 3 states:
Were you assigned post in KVSP Reception Center A5 housing unit during the times the U.S. Mail correspondence were sent to Plaintiff as verified by attached Exhibit A Herein.
Defendant's response states:
Defendant objects on the grounds that this interrogatory is vague and ambiguous, and requires speculation as to the meaning of the phrases "[w]ere you assigned post in KVSP Reception Center A5 housing unit" and "the times the U.S. Mail correspondence were sent to Plaintiff as verified by attached Exhibit A Herein." Defendant further objects that the date-stamped postmark on the copies of correspondence attached as Exhibit A to Plaintiff's interrogatories is illegible on all except one of the letters. Subject to and without waiving these objections, Defendant responds as follows: Defendant Vasquez was assigned to the housing unit where Plaintiff was incarcerated in July 2004.
Plaintiff's interrogatory is indeed vague and ambiguous. The interrogatory asks Defendant Vasquez whether he was assigned to the KVSP (NKSP) Reception Center A5 housing unit during the times the "U.S. Mail correspondence were sent to Plaintiff." It is unclear to what "times" Plaintiff is referring and to what U.S. Mail correspondence Plaintiff is referring. The phrase "as verified by attached Exhibit A Herein" fails to clarify matters. The phrase may be interpreted as meaning that the attached exhibit somehow verifies that Vasquez was working at the KVSP (NKSP) Reception Center during the times the U.S. Mail correspondence were sent. However, Plaintiff has not attached Exhibit A to his motion and has not otherwise identified it in his motion.
Defendant's objection indicates that Exhibit A consisted of correspondences with date-stamped postmarks. Defendant then interprets Plaintiff's interrogatory as asking whether Vasquez was working in the KVSP (NKSP) Reception Center A5 housing unit on the dates stamped on the correspondences, which the Court finds to be a reasonable interpretation of Plaintiff's unartfully phrased interrogatory. Defendant then objects to the fact that date stamps were illegible on all but one of the correspondences. Defendant then answered Plaintiff's interrogatory by stating that Vasquez was assigned to the housing unit where Plaintiff was incarcerated in July 2004.
Plaintiff fails to persuasively demonstrate that Defendant's response was inadequate. Given the lack of clarity in Plaintiff's interrogatory, the Court finds that Defendant's response was reasonable. It is unclear whether Defendant's interpretation of Plaintiff's interrogatory is correct, and Plaintiff has made no effort to clarify matters by explaining why Defendant's response is inadequate. Instead of referring to illegible exhibits when asking whether Defendant was working during the times the correspondences were sent, Plaintiff could have simply written out the dates in question. It is unduly burdensome and harassing to needlessly refer to an attached exhibit when a straightforward inquiry regarding whether the person was working on a particular date would suffice. The Court finds that Defendant's response to Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 3 is sufficient in light of the lack of clarity Plaintiff's question.
Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 5 states:
If Plaintiff was housed at KVSP Reception Center in unit A5 cell 102L and U.S. Mail was being routed to Plaintiff at this specific cell location, please explain why instead of Plaintiff receiving this mail, ...