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Sy Lee Castle v. A. Hedgpeth

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 4, 2011

SY LEE CASTLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
A. HEDGPETH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

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

ORDER DENYING MOTIONS (Doc. 39, 40, 50, 53, 64)

Plaintiff Sy Lee Castle ("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 July 14, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion "objecting to Mitchell Wrosch as Counsel of Record for Defendants Hedgpeth, Marta, and Amavisca." (Doc. #39.) Plaintiff filed a similar motion on July 15, 2010. (Doc. #40.) Plaintiff argues that the Court should not allow Mitchell Wrosh to represent the Defendants because the Court "will have to spend more resources and this is a tactic to delay, stone wall, prolong court proceedings and hinder Plaintiff from prosecuting this case that will prejudice the plaintiff." (Pl. Mot. Objecting to Mitchell Wrosch as Counsel of Record for Defendants Hedgpeth, Marta, and Amavisca 1, ECF No. 39.) Plaintiff's arguments are not persuasive. Plaintiff has failed to set forth a legally sufficient argument to object to Defendants' representation by their counsel of choice. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motions will be denied.

On September 28, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting permission to propound additional interrogatories. (Doc. #50.) Plaintiff filed a similar motion on January 3, 2011. (Doc. #64.) Plaintiff argues that he "was blind sided with Defendans[sic] new claim of defenses that was not pleaded in their initial responsive[sic]." (Pl. Mot. Request Permission to File Additional Interrogatories 1, ECF No. 50.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants raised a new defense when they informed Plaintiff in response to an interrogatory that certain prison regulations were promulgated because a chaplain was found to have been smuggling contraband into the prison and distributing it to inmates through containers of prayer oils.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court may grant leave to propound more than 25 interrogatories on a party. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(2), 33(a)(1). However, Plaintiff's arguments are not persuasive.

Plaintiff argues that he was "blind sided" by Defendants' new defense. However, Defendants clearly indicated in their answer that they would assert failure to state a claim as an affirmative defense. Defendants' arguments regarding the justifications for the prison regulations are fairly encompassed within Defendants' failure to state a claim defense. Accordingly, there is nothing "new" or unfair that would justify providing Plaintiff leave to propound additional interrogatories. Plaintiff has offered no other justification for his request for leave to propound additional interrogatories. The Court will deny Plaintiff's request for leave to propound additional interrogatories.

On October 25, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion "to strike Defendants[sic] Insufficient Defense that was not Pleaded in their Initial Responsive Pleading or Answer." (Doc. #53.) Plaintiff contends that Defendants' arguments regarding the justification for the prison regulations related to prayer oils is a new defense that should be disregarded because Defendants failed to mention these facts in their answer. As discussed previously, the facts related to the justification for the prison regulations are fairly encompassed with Defendants' assertion of the failure to state a claim defense. If the prison regulations are related to legitimate penological concerns, Plaintiff fails to state a claim. Defendants are not obligated to inform Plaintiff of every fact relevant to their defenses in their answer. Accordingly, Defendants did not improperly raise a new defense in their response to Plaintiff's interrogatory. It is Plaintiff's responsibility to discover the facts relevant to Defendants' affirmative defenses through the discovery process. The Court will deny Plaintiff's motion to strike Defendants' defense.

Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's July 14, 2010 and July 15, 2010 motions objecting to Mitchell Wrosch as counsel for Defendants are DENIED;

2. Plaintiff's September 28, 2010 and January 3, 2011 motions requesting permission to propound additional interrogatories are DENIED; and

3. Plaintiff's October 25, 2010 motion to strike Defendants' insufficient defense is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20110204

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