IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 19, 2012
WILLIE BRIDGES, PLAINTIFF,
SUZAN L. HUBBARD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court are several of the parties' motions.
First, both parties have filed motions to modify the scheduling order in this case. Plaintiff has filed a motion for a sixty-day extension of time to file a motion to compel, explaining that when he received defendants' responses to his discovery requests, he was unable to timely file a motion to compel because he did not have access to the law library at the time. Plaintiff contends that he needed access to the law library to conduct legal research and to make copies. Plaintiff has attached to his motion a Program Status Report from CSP-Solano, which indicates that the prison was on a modified program at the time plaintiff received defendants' responses to his discovery requests and that access to the law library was limited. Plaintiff has also since filed a motion to compel.
Defendants have filed a motion to modify the scheduling order to permit their filing of a motion for summary judgment beyond the current deadline for the filing of dispositive motions. According to defense counsel's declaration, counsel became ill in 2008 and was often unable to work over the course of the following two years. In December 2010, the cause of counsel's illness was finally discovered and treated, and counsel was apparently healthy until January 2012 when the symptoms began to recur. Since that time, counsel has been out of the office ill on several more occasions and now anticipates further absences in the future.
Both parties have shown good cause in their pending motions to modify the scheduling order in this case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f); Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992). Accordingly, the court will grant plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to file a motion to compel and deem his motion to compel timely. At this time, however, the court will not rule on plaintiff's motion to compel. Instead, because defendants have not had an opportunity to respond to plaintiff's motion to compel the court will direct defense counsel to file an opposition to plaintiff's motion within thirty days. The court will also grant defendants' motion for an extension of time to file a motion for summary judgment and will direct counsel to file any dispositive motion within ninety days of the date the court rules on plaintiff's motion to compel.*fn1
Also pending before the court is plaintiff's renewed motion for a court order allowing him to communicate with prisoners at other prisons and to seek declarations from any eye witnesses to the events placed in question by this action. As the court previously advised plaintiff, California Code of Regulations title 15, § 3139 provides in part:
Inmates shall obtain written authorization from the Warden/Regional Parole Administrator or their designee/assigned probation officer, person in charge of the County Jail and/or other State Correctional Systems, at a level not less than Correctional Captain/Facility Captain or Parole Agent III, to correspond with any of the following:
(1) Inmates under the jurisdiction of any county, state or federal, juvenile or adult correctional agency.
(2) Persons committed to any county, state or federal program as a civil addict.
(3) Persons on parole or civil addict outpatient status under the jurisdiction of any county, state or federal, juvenile or adult correctional agency.
In a previous order, the court instructed plaintiff to attempt to avail himself of the process provided by the California Code of Regulations to obtain approval to correspond with his potential third-party inmate witnesses. According to an exhibit plaintiff has attached to his motion, on November 2, 2011, he attempted to obtain approval from prison officials by submitting an inmate/parolee request form, asking to communicate with certain inmates witnesses. CCI Mann responded to the request by interviewing plaintiff and instructing him to complete correspondence forms for inmate witnesses for Mann to process. Plaintiff failed to do so, however, and indicated that it would cause a delay that would interfere with his compliance with court imposed deadlines. Plaintiff is advised that this court has not imposed any deadline on him in this regard. Accordingly, the court will deny plaintiff's motion and direct him once more to avail himself of the process provided by the California Code of Regulations if he wishes to correspond with his potential third-party inmate witnesses.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to file a motion to compel (Doc. No. 76) is granted. Plaintiff's motion to compel is deemed timely;
2. Defendants shall file a response to plaintiff's motion to compel within thirty days of the date of this order. Plaintiff shall file a reply, if any, in accordance with Local Rule 230(l);
3. Defendants' motion to modify the scheduling order (Doc. No. 79) is granted. Defendants shall file any dispositive motion within ninety days of the court issuing an order on plaintiff's motion to compel; and
4. Plaintiff's motion for a court order allowing him to communicate with potential thirty-party inmate witnesses (Doc. No. 77) is denied.