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Travis George Miskam v. S. Mcallister

January 10, 2011

TRAVIS GEORGE MISKAM,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
S. MCALLISTER, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Michael Seabright United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S "MOTION TO ENFORCE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL A DISCOVERY RESPONSE"

I. INTRODUCTION

In this action, pro se prisoner Travis George Miskam ("Plaintiff") currently asserts (1) a claim against Defendant D. Davey ("Captain Davey") based on the refusal to provide Plaintiff with the magazine Resistance and the comic book Satan's Sodomy Baby at High Desert State Prison ("HDSP"); and (2) a claim against T. Felker ("Warden Felker") based on the ban of various publications including the Art of War, Juxtapoz, Art of Seduction, and 48 Laws of Power.*fn1

On August 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Discovery Responses from Defendants, which Defendants did not respond to and which this court granted in part on October 13, 2010, requiring Defendants to respond to Plaintiff's discovery requests.

On December 17, 2010, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, and on December 21, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Enforce Plaintiff's Motion to Compel a Discovery Response ("Motion to Enforce Further Discovery Responses"). Plaintiff argues that Defendants have provided evasive and incomplete answers and that this discovery will assist in establishing his claims. Due to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, the court vacated the briefing schedule on the Motion for Summary Judgment to address this discovery dispute. Based on the following, the court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Enforce Further Discovery Responses, and resets the briefing schedule on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. ANALYSIS

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides that "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense . . . . Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Relevancy, for purposes of Rule 26(b), is a broad concept that is construed liberally. Amendments to the rule in 2000, however, were "designed to involve the court more actively in regulating the breadth of sweeping or contentious discovery." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 advisory committee's notes; see also Elvig v. Calvin Presbyterian Church, 375 F.3d 951, 967-68 (9th Cir. 2004); Sallis v. Univ. of Minn., 408 F.3d 470, 477 (8th Cir. 2005). "Under Rule 26(b)(1), for example, discovery must now relate more directly to a 'claim or defense' than it did previously, and 'if there is an objection that discovery goes beyond material relevant to the parties' claims or defenses, the court would become involved.'" Elvig, 375 F.3d at 968.

Plaintiff seeks further responses to both his document requests and his interrogatories. The court addresses these categories in turn.

A. Document Requests

The first document request and response at issue is as follows: REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS #2: The names and contact information including but not limited to address, phone numbers, badge numbers etc. of the High Desert State Prison Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) officers who authorized "Stormbird Press", "All the Way" and "G-None" to be banned at High Desert State Prison.

RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS #2: Objection. Responding party objects to this request on the basis that said request is phrased in the form of an interrogatory, rather than a request for production of documents. Without waiving the foregoing objections, responding parties do not have in their possession, custody or control any specific document responsive to this request.

Pl.'s Ex. A.

Defendants argue, and the court agrees, that Defendants' response was complete -- they have no documents to produce in response to this request. Further, Defendants properly responded that this request for documents is really an interrogatory, which Plaintiff also issued to Defendants. In response to that interrogatory, Warden Felker identified the two HDSP IGI officers in 2006 who may have recommended the publications be placed on the disallowed publication list. See Pl.'s Ex. B, Interrogatory No. 2. Finally, given that the publications at issue in this request are different from the publications at issue in this action, the information requested does not appear relevant to the parties' claims or defenses. Accordingly, the court will not order Defendants to provide a further response.

The second discovery request and response at issue is as follows:

REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS #3: Any notes, documents, letters, memoranda, files, record books, logs, grievance reports or written communications concerning complaints ...


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