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Thomas A. Hightower v. Arnold Schwarzenegger

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


April 30, 2012

THOMAS A. HIGHTOWER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.

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

ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO MODIFY SCHEDULING ORDER, GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO RESPOND TO DISCOVERY REQUESTS, AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR OTHER RELIEF

(Docs. 174 and 178)

Amended Pleadings Deadline: 07/13/2012 Discovery Deadline: 09/14/2012 Pretrial Dispositive Motion Deadline: 11/14/2012

Plaintiff Thomas A. Hightower, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on July 29, 2004. This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's third amended complaint, filed on February 10, 2010, against Defendants Klarich, Nguyen, Deering, Wu, and Santa Cruz for violation of the Eighth Amendment and against Defendant Santa Cruz for violation of the First Amendment.*fn1

Pursuant to the scheduling order issued on October 6, 2011, the deadline for amending the pleadings was January 31, 2012, the discovery deadline was April 2, 2012, and the pretrial dispositive motion deadline is June 8, 2012.

On February 8, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking modification of the scheduling order as to the amended pleadings deadline and on March 13, 2012, Defendants Nguyen and Wu filed a motion seeking modification of the scheduling order as to the discovery and pretrial dispositive motion deadlines. In addition, Plaintiff seeks an order requiring Defendants to cooperate in discovery, a declaration of rights and responsibilities, the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum to the county agencies having control over decedents' estates, and any further relief justified; and Defendants seek an extension of time to respond to Plaintiff's requests for admission and the production of documents, sets two.

Good cause having been shown, the parties' motions for modifications of the scheduling order and Defendants' motion for an extension of time to serve their discovery responses shall be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b). However, Plaintiff's additional requests for relief are denied as follows.

There is no discovery dispute pending before the Court. Plaintiff is not entitled to a blanket order requiring Defendants to cooperate in discovery. To the extent Plaintiff believes he is entitled to relief under the law on a discovery issue, he is required to file a noticed motion setting forth the grounds for his motion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 7(b), 37.

Similarly, Plaintiff may not simply seek a declaration of rights. Such relief is never granted in a vacuum and Plaintiff has shown no entitlement to any such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2201; Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Dizol, 133 F.3d 1220, 1222-23 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc).

Finally, subject to certain requirements, Plaintiff may be entitled to the issuance of a subpoena commanding the production of documents from a non-party, Fed. R. Civ. P. 45, and to service of the subpoena by the United States Marshal, 28 U.S.C. 1915(d). To obtain such relief, Plaintiff must file a motion requesting the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum that identifies with specificity the documents sought and from whom. After Defendants have had an opportunity to weigh in, the Court will determine whether Plaintiff is entitled to the subpoenas he seeks. Local Rule 230(l).

Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's motion for modification of the scheduling order, filed on February 8, 2012, is GRANTED;

2. Defendants' motion for modification of the scheduling order, filed on March 13, 2012, is GRANTED;

3. The deadline for amending the pleadings is extended to July 13, 2012; 4. The deadline for the completion of all discovery, including filing motions to compel, is extended to September 14, 2012;

5. The deadline for filing pretrial dispositive motions is extended to November 14, 2012;

6. Defendants' motion for an extension of time to serve responses to Plaintiff's requests for admission and requests for the production of documents, set two, filed on March 13, 2012, is GRANTED and the deadlines are extended to April 30, 2012, and May 7, 2012, respectively; and

7. Plaintiff's requests for an order requiring Defendants to cooperate in discovery, a declaration of rights, and the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum are denied.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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