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Demetrio Quintero v. Mariposa County School and Award of Sanctions District

January 18, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge



Pending before the Court is Defendant, Mariposa County School District's ("MCUSD" or "Defendant") Motion Compel Discovery Responses. (Doc. 40). Plaintiff, Mr. Quintero ("Plaintiff") did not file an opposition to the motion.*fn1 A hearing was held on January 11, 2013, Plaintiff personally appeared on his own behalf. Defense counsel, Lara Marabito, personally appeared on behalf of MCUSD. (Doc. 46).


Plaintiff filed his original complaint on May 23, 2011. (Doc. 2.) Following screening procedures by the Court, on December 1, 2011, Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint ("SAC"). (Doc. 9.) In an order dated December 9, 2011, the Court clarified that Plaintiff's SAC was proceeding on its single viable claim, to wit: a violation of section 2000d of Title 42 of the United States Code*fn2 (and clarifying that his causes of action pertaining to sections 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1985 of that same code, as well as the state law claims, had been dismissed previously). (Doc. 11.)

An initial scheduling conference was held June 4, 2012, and a scheduling order issued the following day, setting forth the relevant deadlines and pertinent dates applicable to this matter. (Docs. 27 and 28). In relevant part, the scheduling order required that initial disclosures be served no later than September 28, 2012. The non-expert discovery deadline was set for January 4, 2013.

On August 28, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion to Compel discovery because Plaintiff had failed to provide any responses to Defendant's Request for Production of Documents Set One that was served on him on June 12, 2012. (Doc. 31). In that motion, Defendant alleged that they attempted to obtain the discovery from Plaintiff on several occasions but to no avail. After holding a hearing on that motion, this Court ordered that Plaintiff produce the requested documents no later than October 10, 2012, and required him to pay Defendant $350.00 in sanctions no later than November 30, 2012.

On December 6, 2012, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel on the basis that Plaintiff has not complied with the previous Court's order. To date, Defendant contends Plaintiff has failed to produce responses to the Production of Document Request or pay the $350.00 monetary sanction imposed. Additionally, Plaintiff has failed to produce his initial disclosures that were due on September 28, 2012, as well as respond to a Second Request for Production of Documents that Defendant served on him on October 23, 2012. The responses to the most recent discovery demands due on November 27, 2012. These requests sought information related to the amount of Plaintiff's damages.

Defendant is requesting that Plaintiff be sanctioned in the amount of $7,283.00 to cover the costs of attempting to enforce this court's previous order, as well as for the cost of bringing this motion. Defendant argues that it has been significantly prejudiced because its does not have any information regarding Plaintiff's alleged witnesses, the evidence to support his claim, or the damages he allegedly incurred. Defendant has also requested a dismissal sanction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2)(A) because Plaintiff has exhibited bad faith and wilfully disobeyed a Court's order.

As noted above, Plaintiff did not file a response to Defendant's motion. Instead, on January 4, 2013, he untimely filed a letter addressed to this Court making several accusations of misconduct against defense counsel including alleging that Defendant has not responded to his discovery requests. Attached to the letter were several discovery requests that he contends he served on Defendant on December 31, 2012. (Doc. 43). He alleges this is the second set of discovery requests that he served on Defendant. This letter was stricken from the docket on the basis that it was improper ex parte communication. (Doc. 45).

Additionally, on January 4, 2012, Plaintiff filed a document entitled, "Motion to Continue." In that document, he requested that the hearing set on Defendant's motion be continued for 90 days and that the discovery deadline which was set for January 4, 2013, be extended so that he can file motions to compel. (Doc. 44). This motion was denied without prejudice since Plaintiff had not responded to Defendant's Motion to Compel, and on the basis that the motion was improperly filed. (Doc. 45). It was not served on opposing counsel and a hearing date was not properly calendared.

At the hearing, MCUSD reiterated its position and informed that Court that to date, it has not received any discovery responses that complied with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It did acknowledge that it has received three faxed documents from Plaintiff, however, it is unclear how these documents relate to the requested discovery. Defendant reiterated its request for sanctions, specifically dismissal due to Plaintiff's failure to abide by this Court's orders and follow the applicable rules of discovery. It also requested that it not be required to respond to Plaintiff's discovery requests until the issue of his non-compliance has been resolved.

In response, Plaintiff argued that the three faxed documents are all the information that he has about this case. He contends that his response is in compliance ...

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