Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jones v. Cooper

July 16, 2010

FREDERICK JONES, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY COOPER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER PARTIALLY GRANTING AND PARTIALLY DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL (Doc. 82)

Plaintiff Frederick Jones, Sr. ("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 March 30, 2010, Defendants filed a motion to compel. (Doc. #82.) Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to Defendants' motion to compel.

I. Defendants' Motion to Compel

Defendants' motion to compel concerns Plaintiff's responses to Defendants' interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production of documents. Defendants complain that Plaintiff responded to their interrogatories with a blanket objection that stated that "[r]esponse to def's special interrogatories set one is objected to on the ground that it is vague, ambiguous and overbroad." (Statement Re: Discovery Disagreement 4:6-9.) Defendants contend that their interrogatories were not vague, ambiguous, or overbroad because the interrogatories were based on allegations taken directly from Plaintiff's second amended complaint.

Defendants also challenge Plaintiff's responses to their requests for production of documents. Defendants contend that Plaintiff's objections were unresponsive and improper because Plaintiff only provided a series of evasive boilerplate objections. Defendants requested documents that support the allegations Plaintiff made in his second amended complaint.

Defendants also complain that Plaintiff provided a blanket objection in response to their requests for admission. Plaintiff wrote "'[r]esponse to defendants[sic] request for admission number's[sic] 1-19 are hereby objected to on the ground that it is vague, ambiguous and overbroad. Plaintiff will not admit that there is no evidence or facts to support the allegations in the second amended complaint!'" (Statement Re: Discovery Disagreement 5:4-7.)

II. Discussion

A. Defendants' Interrogatories

Defendants propounded a set of twenty (20) interrogatories on Plaintiff. Interrogatory Nos. 1-18 ask Plaintiff to state the basis of various allegations made in Plaintiff's second amended complaint and request all the facts that support those allegations. For example, Interrogatory No. 1 asks:

If you contend, as alleged in paragraph 1 of your second amended complaint that: "This actionable lawsuit is brought in ways to seek relief to recover damages for civil violations, and to seek injunctive[sic]", please state the basis of said contentions and all facts upon which you base said contentions. A full response to this interrogatory requires that you state each fact supporting the contention, the name, address and telephone number of each person having knowledge of each fact and a full description of each writing (as defined by Fed. R. Evid. 1001) evidencing, reflecting or referring to each fact, including the name, address and custodian of each such writing. (Decl. of James E. Stone in Support of Mot. to Compel Proper Responses by Pl. to Defs.' Discovery Requests Ex. A, at 2, ECF No. 95.) Plaintiff's response to all of Defendants' interrogatories is a single blanket objection. Plaintiff wrote "[r]esponse to Def's special interrogatories set one is objected to on the ground's[sic] that it is vague ambiguous and overbroad." (Decl. in Support of Mot. to Compel Ex. D, at 5, ECF No. 95.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to respond to their interrogatories separately and that the interrogatories cannot be vague, ambiguous, or overbroad unless Plaintiff is admitting that the allegation taken directly from his own second amended complaint was vague, ambiguous, or overbroad.

The Court will order Plaintiff to serve another response to Defendants' interrogatories that responds to each interrogatory separately. Plaintiff may not set forth a single blanket objection to Defendants' interrogatories. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(b)(4) requires that "[t]he grounds for objecting to an interrogatory must be stated with specificity." Thus, Plaintiff must specifically identify how each interrogatory is vague, ambiguous and/or overbroad.

As to the substance of Plaintiff's objections, the Court notes that some of the interrogatories are vague and ambiguous because the allegations Defendants recite from Plaintiff's second amended complaint are vague and ambiguous. For example, Plaintiff writes that "[t]his actionable lawsuit is brought in ways to seek relief to recover damages for civil violations, and to seek injunctive[sic]." Plaintiff's allegation is vague and ambiguous. Defendants understandably had difficulty comprehending Plaintiff's allegations and sought clarification through their interrogatory. Apparently, Plaintiff also finds his own allegation to be vague and ambiguous.

The Court recognizes that it is unduly burdensome to expect Defendants to defend against Plaintiff's allegations when even Plaintiff cannot make sense of them. Accordingly, the Court will direct Plaintiff to provide more detailed responses to Defendants' interrogatories. For each interrogatory Plaintiff must: (1) explain, in detail, how the interrogatory is vague, ambiguous, and/or over broad; or (2) provide a separate, detailed response to the interrogatory. If Plaintiff objects to an interrogatory that is based on a passage recited from Plaintiff's complaint, Plaintiff must either explain the meaning of the passage or admit that the passage is incomprehensible.

After reading the interrogatories, the Court is able to identify specific interrogatories that are not vague, ambiguous, and/or overbroad. For example, Interrogatory No. 4 simply asks Plaintiff to state the basis for Plaintiff's contention that "privileges and visitation restrictions were imposed against plaintiff's[sic] as means to punish and out of retaliation by the defendants." (Decl. in Supp. of Mot. to Compel Ex. A, at 3, ECF No. 95.) Defendants are clearly and unambiguously asking Plaintiff to provide all the facts in support of Plaintiff's contention that he was punished or retaliated against by Defendants. The Court also finds that Interrogatory Nos. 6, 7, 8, 12, 19 and 20 are not vague, ambiguous, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.