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Thomas J. Heilman v. T. Lyons

June 9, 2011

THOMAS J. HEILMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
T. LYONS, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel. By order filed February 24, 2011, the discovery deadline was extended to May 11, 2011. (Dkt. No. 29.) The parties were cautioned that this court was not inclined to extend the discovery deadline any further. Various discovery motions are pending, which this court will address seriatim.

1. Motion to Compel Responses

On April 22, 2011, plaintiff filed a motion to compel nonparty California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") to respond to the subpoena duces tecum served on the CDCR at the California Medical Facility ("CMF") on March 24, 2011, based on the CDCR's complete failure to respond. (Dkt. No. 39.) However, on April 29, 2011, defendants filed a notice of compliance regarding the subpoena duces tecum. Accordingly, plaintiff's April 22, 2011 motion is denied.

2. Motion to Compel Further Responses

On May 3, 2011, plaintiff filed a motion to compel nonparty CDCR to provide additional documents in response to the subpoena duces tecum. (Dkt. No. 44.) Although the subpoena duces tecum was served on the CDCR at CMF, it appears CMF sent the responsive documents to counsel for defendants. Thereafter, counsel for defendants filed the notice of compliance as well as the response to the subpoena duces tecum. However, counsel for defendants did not respond to plaintiff's motion to compel. Accordingly, counsel for defendants is directed to file an opposition or statement of nonopposition to plaintiff's May 3, 2011 motion, as supplemented on May 11, 2011, and May 12, 2011,*fn1 within fourteen days from the date of this order.

3. Motion to Compel Further Answers to Interrogatories and for Sanctions On April 26, 2011, plaintiff filed a motion to compel "more complete and accurate responses" to plaintiff's interrogatories. (Dkt. No. 40.) Defendants have filed an opposition; plaintiff has not filed a reply.

An interrogatory is a written question propounded by one party to another who must answer under oath and in writing. These questions are limited to anything within the permissible scope of discovery, namely, any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 33, 26(b)(1). The responding party is to answer each interrogatory fully, to the extent that it is not objected to, Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(3), and any objections must be stated with specificity, Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(4). Generally, the responding party does not need to conduct extensive research in answering the interrogatory; however, a reasonable effort to respond must be made. Williams v. Adams, 2009 WL 1220311 at *1 (E.D. Cal. May 4, 2009). In addition, the responding party has a duty to supplement any responses if the information sought is later obtained or the response provided needs correction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e)(A).

A. Defendant Lyons

Plaintiff's motion to compel further answers to Interrogatory Nos. 1, 10, and 18 is denied. (Dkt. No. 40 at 3, 5, & 10.) Plaintiff is advised that defendants cannot be compelled to provide answers they do not recall. A close reading of defendant Lyons' responses to Nos. 14, 17 and 18 do not reveal a contradiction.

Plaintiff's motion to compel further answers to Interrogatory Nos. 2, 3, and 4 (dkt. no. 40 at 3-4) are denied in light of the answers and documentary evidence provided. Moreover, defendants are under a continuing obligation to supplement discovery as appropriate. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e). Plaintiff is further advised that, as defendants noted, plaintiff's dissatisfaction with the answers provided is not a sufficient basis on which to seek a motion to compel further responses. If plaintiff has evidence to impeach a defendant's response, he may do so at trial.

Plaintiff's motion to compel further answers to Interrogatory Nos. 5,*fn2 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 24 is denied. Because plaintiff phrased these interrogatories in a form that called for a "yes" or "no" answer, defendant Lyons is not obligated to provided additional answers.

Plaintiff's motion to compel a further answer to Interrogatory No. 7 is denied because it is based on plaintiff's assumption that defendant Lyons recalled that plaintiff summoned Lyons to plaintiff's cell, which defendant Lyons has stated she does not recall.

Defendant Lyons' objections to Interrogatory Nos. 14 and 15 are sustained. Despite objections, defendant Lyons provided responses. In addition, No. 15 was compound. Therefore, no further answers are required.

Thus, plaintiff's motion to compel further answers to interrogatories propounded to defendant Lyons is denied.

B. Defendant Esberto

Plaintiff's motion to compel a further answer to Interrogatory No. 1 directed to defendant Esberto (dkt. no. 40 at 13) is denied. Plaintiff used the word "or," rather than the word "and;" therefore, defendant Esberto's answer that the normal shift was between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. is sufficient.

In Interrogatory Nos. 2 and 3, plaintiff sought defendant Esberto's "routine" when assigned as RN for CMF's administrative segregation ("ad-seg") wing, and specifically asked defendant Esberto if part of the RN's duty or responsibility was to "inquire at each and every inmate's cell?" (Dkt. No. 40 at 13.) Defendant Esberto answered in general terms, but did not make clear whether ill inmates are removed from ad-seg to report to a location where Esberto was stationed to provide nursing services, or whether Esberto was required to travel to each cell in ad-seg to determine whether an inmate housed in ad-seg required nursing care, or whether inmates had to make their illness known to correctional officers who would then alert nursing staff. Therefore, plaintiff's motion to compel further answers to Interrogatory Nos. 2 and 3 is granted. Defendant Esberto shall provide an answer that describes a "routine" day when Esberto was ...


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