The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (Doc. 19.)
On August 5, 2011, Defendants City of Porterville, Aaron Sutherland, and Mark Azevedo (collectively, "Defendants") filed a motion to compel based on Plaintiff John Stewart's ("Plaintiff") complete failure to provide responses to Defendants' outstanding discovery requests consisting of Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents ("RFPs"). (Doc. 19.) Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion.
The Court has reviewed the motion and supporting documents and determined that this matter is suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
A. Defendants' Interrogatories
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(b)(1)(B)(2) requires that, unless otherwise agreed upon, the responding party must serve its answers and any objections to interrogatories within thirty (30) days after being served. Additionally, Rule 33(b)(1)(B)(3) and (5) require that each interrogatory, "to the extent it is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing and under oath" and signed by the answering party. Pursuant to Rule 33(b)(1)(B)(4), any untimely objection to the interrogatory is waived, unless the court excuses the failure for good cause.
Defendants' Interrogatories were served on Plaintiff on November 16, 2010, and no responses were filed within the 30-day deadline. (Doc. 19-2, ¶¶ 3-7, Exh. A.) As of August 4, 2011, despite letters sent by Defendants' counsel to Plaintiff's counsel, no responses had been received and the discovery requests remain outstanding. (Doc. 19-2, ¶¶ 3-7, Exh. C.) As such, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to compel Interrogatory responses and orders Plaintiff to serve written responses to Defendants' Interrogatories on or before September 2, 2011. All objections to the Interrogatories have been waived.
B. Defendants' Request for Production of Documents
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(a), a party may request production of documents. Rule 34(b)(2)(B) requires parties answering RFPs to "either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state an objection to the request, including the reasons" in each response. If the party to whom the request was directed fails to appropriately respond, Rule 37(a)(1) allows the requesting party to "move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery."
Defendants' RFPs were served on November 16, 2010, and no responses were received by the 30-day deadline; further, Plaintiff has failed to respond to Defendants' counsel's letters requesting responses. (Doc. 19-2, ¶¶ 3-7, Exhs. B, C.) As Plaintiff has failed to provide responses, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to compel and orders Plaintiff to serve responses to Defendants' RFPs on or before September 2, 2011. All objections to the RFPs have been waived. If Plaintiff determines that there are no documents responsive to any given RFP, he shall so state in a written answer to the RFPs.
C. Attorney's Fees and Costs
Pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5)(A), if a motion to compel discovery responses is granted, and if the Court gives the non-responsive party an opportunity to be heard, then the court "must . . . require the party . . . whose conduct necessitated the motion, the party or attorney advising that conduct, or both to pay the movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including attorney's fees." Defendants request attorney's fees for six hours at a rate of $140.00 per hour, totaling $840.00 to prepare this motion. (Doc.19-2, ¶ 7.)
Local Rule 251(e) provides that a party responding to a motion to compel discovery "shall file a response . . . not later than seven (7) days before the hearing date." Plaintiff was afforded an opportunity to be heard in opposition to Defendants' motion to compel and failed to file any response whatsoever. (See also Rule 37 advisory committee's note, 1993 amendments (an opportunity to be heard includes both written submissions and oral hearings).) Defendants' motion to ...