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Andrew R. Lopez v. Florez

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


April 25, 2013

ANDREW R. LOPEZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FLOREZ, ET AL.
DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR ORDER SANCTIONING DEFENDANTS' FOR FAILING TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDER COMPELLING DISCOVERY (Doc. 158)

Plaintiff Andrew R. Lopez ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On March 19, 2013, the Court granted in part Plaintiff's motion to compel request for production number 3. (Doc 140 at 12 ¶ 4). The Court required Defendants to produce documents from their personnel files that contained "information that bears on complaints, discipline or the like, related to Defendants' denial of medical care to inmates" within 21 days of the date of service of the Order. Id. Plaintiff reports that as of April 14, 2013, he had not received the documents and requests that the Court sanction Defendants. (Doc. 158 at 1).

Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2) permits a court in which an action is pending to sanction a party where that party fails to obey an order to provide discovery. In such a case, the court may strike pleadings, stay the proceedings or enter a default judgment against the noncompliant party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2)(A). Any sanctions levied pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2) must be just. Fjelstad v. Am. 2 Honda Motor Co., Inc., 762 F.2d 1334, 1340 (9th Cir. 1985)(internal citations and quotations omitted). 3

A court must find willfulness, bad faith or fault on the party of the noncompliant party to impose such 4 as severe sanction as default. Id. 5

Plaintiff petitions the Court to enter sanctions, including a default judgment, against Defendants for their untimely service of documents responsive to request for production number 3. 7 (Doc. 158) referring to (Doc. 116 at 54). In response, Defendants correctly aver that they were 8 required to respond to the Court order, on or before April 9, 2013.*fn1 (Doc. 160 at 2). Defendants 9 served their documents to Plaintiff on April 9, 2013. (Doc. 160, Exs. A and B). Thus, Plaintiff's motion to compel is moot.

In addition, Plaintiff has previously complained that his mail arrived three weeks late from the date of mailing. (Doc. 145 at 1). This was due to prison officials' -- not Defendants' -- mail processing procedures. Id.*fn2 Given the Defendants' timely response to the Court order and a delay in mail processing beyond Defendants' control, the Court finds no willfulness, bad faith or fault on Defendants' part that would warrant the imposition of discovery sanctions.

Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for order sanction defendants for failure to comply with order compelling further discovery is DENIED as moot.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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