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Iren anderson v. Ron D. Hansen

January 31, 2013

IREN ANDERSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
RON D. HANSEN, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONTO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS SERVED JULY 17, 2012 AND EXTENDING TIME TO OPPOSE SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 50)

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO SET ONE INTERROGATORIES AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS (ECF No. 55)

ORDER AMENDING DISCOVERY AND SCHEDULING ORDER AS AMENDED (ECF No. 52)

DISCOVERY CUT-OFF DATE: April 4, 2013 DISPOSITIVE MOTION DEADLINE: / June 13, 2013

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Iren Anderson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action on November 2, 2009 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) This matter proceeds on his Second Amended Complaint (Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 19) claims of excessive force by Defendant Hansen, failure to protect against Defendant Hartley and failure to intervene against Defendant Lewis. (Order Finding Cognizable Claims, ECF No. 20.) Defendants Hansen, Hartley, and Lewis have answered. (Answers, ECF Nos. 25, 43.)

On August 23, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel a further response from Defendant Hartley to a request for production of documents served July 17, 2012. That request sought prior administrative grievances, appeals and complaints relating to use of force by Defendant Hansen. (Pl. Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 50.) Defendant Hartley filed Opposition on September 12, 2012. (Def.'s Opp'n to Mot., ECF No. 51.) No reply to the Opposition has been filed and the time for doing so has expired. Local Rule 230(l).

On October 25, 2012, Defendants Hartley, Hansen and Lewis filed a Motion to Compel further responses to set one of their interrogatories and request for production of documents served May 3, 2012; they seek the identity of all witnesses supporting Plaintiff's allegations and declarations from those witnesses. (Defs.' Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 55.) No opposition has been filed and the time for doing so has expired. Local Rule 230(l).

On January 9, 2013, Defendant Hartley filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 62.)

The foregoing Motions to Compel are now before the Court.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Discovery Generally

Plaintiff is proceeding pro se as a state prisoner challenging his conditions of confinement. As a result, the parties are relieved of some requirements which would otherwise apply, including initial disclosure and the need to meet and confer in good faith prior to involving the Court in a discovery dispute. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1); Local Rules 240, 251; Discovery and Scheduling Order, ECF No. 26, ¶5.

However, regardless of Plaintiff's incarceration, this is a civil action to which the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply, and the discovery process is subject to the overriding limitation of good faith. Asea, Inc. v. Southern Pac. Transp. Co., 669 F.2d 1242, 1246 (9th Cir. 1981). Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense, and for good cause, the Court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id.

Generally, if the responding party objects to a discovery request, the party moving to compel bears the burden of demonstrating why the objections are not justified. E.g., Grabek v. Dickinson, No. CIV S-10-2892 GGH P, 2012 WL 113799, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2012); Womack v. Virga, No. CIV S-11-1030 MCE EFB P, 2011 WL 6703958, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 21, 2011); Mitchell v. Felker, No. CV 08-119RAJ, 2010 WL 3835765, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 29, 2010); Ellis v. Cambra, No. 1:02-cv-05646-AWISMS PC, 2008 WL 860523, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008). This requires the moving party to inform the Court which discovery requests are the subject of the motion to compel, and, for each disputed response, why the information sought is relevant and why the responding party's objections are not meritorious. Grabek, 2012 WL 113799, at *1; Womack, 2011 WL 6703958, at *3; Mitchell, 2010 WL 3835765, at *2; Ellis, 2008 WL 860523, at *4.

Nonetheless, the Court is vested with broad discretion to manage discovery, Hunt v. County of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012); Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor Productions, 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005); Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002), and where the discovery request seeks information which, based on the record, is clearly within the scope of discovery and the objection lacks merit, the Court may elect to exercise its discretion to reach the merits of the dispute, the moving party's initial burden notwithstanding. E.g., Marti v. Baires, No. ...


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