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Victor Quintana v. Gary Swarthout

November 13, 2012

VICTOR QUINTANA,, PLAINTIFF
v.
GARY SWARTHOUT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Carolyn K. Delaney United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, a state prisoner, proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis with a first amended civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Dkt. No. 26.) Plaintiff claims that defendant Espinosa was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment in connection with a September 22, 2008 incident in which defendant backed an electric cart-style vehicle into plaintiff at California State Prison-Solano (CSP-Solano).

Several matters are pending. Defendant has filed a motion to compel accompanied by a motion for relief from the requirement to file a joint statement (Dkt. Nos. 56, 57) and a motion for extension of time to file a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 72). Plaintiff has filed a motion for examination by an outside doctor (Dkt. No. 63), and a motion to amend the amount of compensatory damages requested in his complaint (Dkt. No. 64).

I. Defendant's Motion to Compel

Defendant moves to compel plaintiff to respond to his request for production of documents, set one, and his request for special interrogatories, set one. (See Dkt. No. 56-1 at 5-37.) Defendant timely served these discovery requests by mail on June 4, 2012, more than 60 days prior to the discovery deadline of August 20, 2012 (see discovery and scheduling order, Dkt. No. 48). Plaintiff has not responded to the motion to compel, but has addressed the discovery requests at issue in previous filings to the court. In a letter filed on July 2, 2012 and a notice filed on July 27, 2012, plaintiff states that he is not capable of understanding or responding properly to the discovery requests because he does not speak or write English, because he must rely on inmates to read documents and respond for him, because he does not have all the documents requested by defendant, and because he wishes to assert his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. (See Dkt. Nos. 53, 55.)

Pursuant to Local Rule 251(e), based on plaintiff's total failure to respond to the discovery requests, defendant seeks relief from the requirement to file a joint statement with the pending motion to compel. (Dkt. No. 57.) This motion will be granted and defendant's motion to compel is deemed properly filed without a joint statement.

The motion to compel will also be granted. Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit and he is obligated to comply with the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules of this court and to respond to defendant's discovery requests to the best of his ability. Plaintiff must answer each interrogatory fully in writing under oath. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(3). While extensive research is not required, a reasonable effort to respond must be made. L.H. v. Schwarzenegger, No. S-06-2042 LKK GGH, 2007 WL 2781132, *2 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 21, 2007). Petitioner must also produce all documents in his possession, custody or control that are responsive to defendant's request for production of documents. Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(1).

Plaintiff's difficulty with the English language and other claimed reasons for not responding do not excuse his duty in this regard. The court notes that plaintiff's claimed difficulties have not prevented him from filing various motions, notices, oppositions, requests for reconsideration, and other documents throughout the pendency of this action. Defendant further notes that plaintiff propounded his own discovery request upon defendant, to which defendant timely responded. Plaintiff will be ordered to respond to the outstanding discovery requests within 10 days.

Plaintiff is cautioned that failure to obey a court order to respond to discovery may result in further just orders or sanctions, which may include the following:

(i) directing that the matters embraced in the order or other designated facts be taken as established for purposes of the action, as the prevailing party claims;

(ii) prohibiting the disobedient party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from introducing designated matters in evidence;

(iii) striking pleadings in whole or in part;

(iv) staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed;

(v) dismissing the action or proceeding in ...


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