IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 20, 2013
ANDRE' BOSTON, PLAINTIFF,
V. GARCIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is plaintiff's discovery motion brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a)(6).
PLAINTIFF'S DISCOVERY MOTION
On October 1, 2012, plaintiff filed a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a)(6), asking the court to determine the sufficiency of defendants' responses to his requests for admission. Therein, plaintiff contends that defendants' responses are evasive, provided in bad faith, and demonstrate disdain for the discovery process. Plaintiff also contends that defendants' responses were untimely. (Pl.'s Disc. Mot. at 1-9, Attachs. A-D.)
In opposition to plaintiff's motion, defense counsel argues that plaintiff fails to specify which responses to his requests for admission are insufficient or improper. In addition, defense counsel contends that defendants' responses were timely because the court granted the defendants a nunc pro tunc extension of time to respond to plaintiff's discovery requests. (Defs.' Opp'n to Pl.'s Disc. Mot. at 2-3.)
Under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b). Under Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may move the court to determine whether a responding party's answers or objections to his requests for admission are sufficient. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a)(6).
In this case, the court has reviewed plaintiff's requests for admission and defendants' responses thereto. Plaintiff's primary complaint is that defendants refuse to admit to the authenticity of the numerous exhibits attached to his complaint. (Pl.'s Reqs. for Admis. 1-4, 11-19 & 25.) In their objections, defendants state that, after reasonable inquiry, they lack sufficient information or belief to admit or deny that plaintiff's document exhibits are true and complete copies of what plaintiff purports them to be. (Id.) Given that the vast majority of plaintiff's exhibits are clearly from plaintiff's prison central file, the court can appreciate and understand plaintiff's frustration with defense counsel's objections. Nevertheless, the defendants are not custodians of these records and did not generate them. Nor are the defendants required to authenticate plaintiff's evidence for him. Accordingly, the court will not require defendants to respond further to these requests for admission.*fn1
Plaintiff also complains about defendants' objections to several of his other requests for admission that do not relate to authentication. (Pl.'s Reqs. for Admis. 25-28, 40, 42 & 57.) However, it is not clear from plaintiff's motion and attachments whose responses -- defendant Garcia's or defendant Renauld's -- were insufficient and why. The court does not hold litigants proceeding pro se to the same standards that it holds attorneys. However, at a minimum, as the moving party plaintiff has the burden of informing the court why he believes the defendants' responses are deficient, why the defendants' objections are not justified, and why the information he seeks through discovery is relevant to the prosecution of this action. See, e.g., Brooks v. Alameida, No. CIV S-03-2343 JAM EFB P, 2009 WL 331358 at *2 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 10, 2009) ("Without knowing which responses plaintiff seeks to compel or on what grounds, the court cannot grant plaintiff's motion."); Ellis v. Cambra, No. CIV F-02-5646 AWI SMS PC, 2008 WL 860523 at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008) ("Plaintiff must inform the court which discovery requests are the subject of his motion to compel, and, for each disputed response, inform the court why the information sought is relevant and why Defendant's objections are not justified."). The court will not examine each of plaintiff's discovery requests and each of the defendants' responses thereto in order to determine whether any of the defendants' responses are somehow deficient. Accordingly, the court will not require defendants to respond further to these requests for admissions either.
Finally, as to plaintiff's timeliness argument, defense counsel is correct that the defendants' responses to plaintiff's requests for admission were timely. The court granted defendants a nunc pro tunc extension of time to return their responses to plaintiff. (Order Filed Sept. 26, 2012 (Doc. No. 53).) Accordingly, the court finds that defendants timely served their responses and preserved their objections thereto.
Also pending before the court is plaintiff's motion to stay these proceedings, which he filed in response to defendants' motion for summary judgment. In his motion, plaintiff contends that summary judgment is premature because the court has not ruled on his discovery motion. In addition, plaintiff requests that the court order defendants to provide him with a copy of his deposition transcript to aid him in preparing his opposition to their summary judgment motion.
The court has now ruled upon plaintiff's discovery motion.*fn2
In addition, defendants are not required to provide plaintiff
with a copy of his deposition transcript.*fn3 See
Whittenberg v. Roll, No. CIV S-04-2313 FCD JFM P, 2006 WL 657381 at *5
(E.D. Cal. Mar. 15, 2006) (denying plaintiff's motion to compel
defendant to provide him with a copy of the deposition transcript free
of charge). Moreover, under Rule 30(f)(3) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, the officer before whom a deposition is taken must
retain stenographic notes of the proceedings or a copy of the
recording of a deposition taken by different method. The officer must
also provide a copy of the transcript to any party or to the deponent
upon payment of reasonable charges therefor. The court will not order
defense counsel or the defendants to provide plaintiff with a copy of his deposition transcript. Plaintiff
must obtain it from the officer before whom the deposition was taken.
See Claiborne v. Battery, No. CIV S-06-2919 FCD EFB P, 2009 WL 530352
at *3 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 3, 2009) (denying plaintiff's request for a
court order directing the defendant to provide him with a copy of his
deposition transcript); Brown v. Castillo, No. CV F-02-6018 AWI DLB,
2006 WL 1408452 at *1 (E.D. Cal. May 22, 2006) (same).
Accordingly, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for a stay as well as his request for a court order requiring defendants to provide him with a copy of his deposition transcript. The court will also order plaintiff to file his opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment within twenty-one days.
In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's discovery motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a)(6) (Doc. No. 54) is denied;
2. Plaintiff's motion for a stay and request for an order requiring defendants to provide him with a copy of his deposition transcript (Doc. No 71) are denied; and
3. Plaintiff shall file an opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment within twenty-one days of the date of service of this order. Defendants shall file a reply, if any, in accordance with Local Rule 230(l).