The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES IN PART [Dkt. No. 73]
Presently before the court is Defendants' Motion for Attorney Fees. Having considered the submissions of the parties and heard oral argument, the court grants the motion in part and adopts the following order.
This action arises from the death of Raynard Davis ("Davis") following an encounter with Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, during which Davis was tased twice in the chest. After determining that there were no triable issues of fact, this court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. Defendants now seek to recover certain fees incurred as a result of Plaintiffs' allegedly improper failures to adequately respond to Defendants' requests for admission.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c)(2) provides in relevant part:
If a party fails to admit ... the truth of any matter as requested under Rule 36, and if the party requesting the admissions thereafter proves ... the truth of the matter, the requesting party may apply to the court for an order requiring the other party to pay the reasonable expenses incurred in making that proof, including reasonable attorney's fees. The court shall make the order unless it finds that (A) the request was held objectionable pursuant to Rule 36(a), or (B) the admission sought was of no substantial importance, or (C) the party failing to admit had reasonable ground to believe that the party might prevail on the matter, or (D) there was other good reason for the failure to admit.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(c)(2); see also Marchand v. Mercy Med. Ctr., 22 F.3d 933, 936 (9th Cir. 1994). Courts regularly entertain Rule 37 motions both post-trial and following the grant of summary judgment in favor of a requesting party. See, e.g., Read-Rite Corp. V. Burlington Air Express, Inc., 183 F.R.D. 545 (N.D. Cal. 1998); Keithley v. The Home Store.com, Inc., No. C-03-04447 SI, 2008 WL 2024977 at *2 (N.D. Cal. May 8, 2008); Mane v. Tri-City Healthcare Dist., No. 05cv397-WQH, 2007 WL 935624 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 21, 2007); Mut. Serv. Ins. Co. v. Frit Inds., Inc., 358 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2004); Am. Recovery Corp. v. Looper, Reed, Mark & McGraw, Inc., 164 F.3d 623 (4th Cir. 1998); Warren Pub. v. Spurlock, 645 F.Supp.2d 402, 445 (E.D. Pa. 2009); Long v. Howard, 561 F.Supp.2d 85, 93 (D.D.C. 2008); Firestone v. Hawker Beechcraft Int'l Serv. Co., No. 10-1404-JWL, 2012 WL 899270 (D. Kan. Mar. 16, 2012).
In addition, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(g) requires counsel to certify that a particular discovery response is consistent with the law and rules of civil procedure, proper, and reasonable. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g)(1)(B). Unjustified violation of this rule may result in an order requiring a party or counsel to pay the reasonable expenses caused by the violation, including fees. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g)(3); see also Appling v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 340 F.3d 769, 785-86 (9th Cir. 2003).
Defendants seek their expenses for twenty-six requests for admission that, Defendants argue, Plaintiffs unjustifiably refused to admit, and which were ultimately proven.
Defendants served Plaintiffs with requests for admission on April 22, 2011, well after the filing of the complaint but before the taking of any depositions. As explained in this court's Order granting summary judgment, excessive forces cases such as this one, where a key witness (in this case, Decedent) is unavailable, sometimes turn on the credibility of witness-defendants. As discussed more fully on the record, the majority of the requests at issue here inquired not after objective facts, but rather after contentious, relatively subjective matters. (e.g. Request for Admission No. 20: "Admit that . . . [Decedent] refused to comply with the instructions of . . . Deputies.") Given the early stage of the proceedings ...