United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY [ECF No. 87.]
BERNARD G. SKOMAL, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, filed October 15, 2013, alleges various Eighth Amendment claims stemming from incidents of verbal harassment on April 21, 2012 and April 23, 2012 as well as an incident of excessive force on May 2, 2012. [ECF. No. 117.] On July 15, 2013, nunc pro tunc, July 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery. [ECF. No. 87.] In the motion to compel, Plaintiff seeks: (1) further document production as to Requests for Production Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for Production; (2) the production of documents as to all requests in Plaintiff's Second Set of Requests for Production; and (3) further production of documents in response to Plaintiff's May 17, 2013 service of five subpoenas on the "San Diego County Jails, " through the Legal Affairs Division of the Sheriff's Department.
The five subpoenas served by Plaintiff on the County of San Diego are the subject of a separate motion to quash filed by Defendants on June 28, 2013. [ECF No. 84.] The Court issued its order granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's subpoena requests on March 4, 2014. [ECF No. 176.] Accordingly, Plaintiff's duplicative request to compel production pursuant to subpoena is DENIED as MOOT. Plaintiff is hereby referred to the Court's Order on Defendants' motion to quash for the Court's ruling on the five May 17, 2013 subpoena requests. [ Id. at 2:9-11:21.]
As noted above, the remaining document requests at issue for purposes of the instant order are: (1) Requests for Production Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for Production; and (2) all requests in Plaintiff's Second Set of Requests for Production.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
"Generally, the purpose of discovery is to remove surprise from trial preparation so the parties can obtain evidence necessary to evaluate and resolve their dispute." Moon v. SCP Pool Corp., 232 F.R.D. 633, 636 (C.D. Cal. 2005) ( quoting Oakes v. Halvorson Marine Ltd., 179 F.R.D. 281, 283 (C.D. Cal. 1998)). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) permits production of unprivileged documents relevant to the claim or defense of any party. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) ("Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.") Courts have interpreted this language very broadly to encourage discovery. Shoen v. Shoen, 5 F.3d 1289 (C.A.9 1993); See Geophysical Systems Corp. V. Raytheon Co., Inc., 117 F.R.D. 646, (C.D.Cal 1987). Specifically, Rule 34 allows a party to serve requests for the production of documents on any other party, so long as that request falls within the scope of Rule 26(b). See Fed. R. Civ. P 34(a). The party who has been served with a request for production must respond or object to each request in writing within thirty (30) days of being served. Fed. R. Civ. P 34(b)(2). The party opposing discovery has the burden of showing why discovery should not be allowed and must clarify, explain and support its objections. Duran v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 258 F.R.D. 375 (2009), citing Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975); Sullivan v. Prudential Ins. Co. Of Am., 233 F.R.D. 573, 575 (C.D.Cal. 2005).
A. Requests for Production Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for Production ("RFP")
Defendants object to Plaintiff's motion to compel further production in response to Plaintiff's first set of RFPs on the ground that the motion was filed more than 30 days after Defendants served their written responses. [ECF No. 8:5-8.] The Court's Scheduling Order, issued January 30, 2013, advises: "Absent advance notice from the Court, all discovery motions must be filed within 30 days of the service of an objection, answer or response which become the subject of dispute." [ECF No. 39 at 2:2-4.] Here, Plaintiff served his RFPs by mail on February 28, 2013. Defendants responded in writing with objections, responses and responsive documents on April 2, 2013. Defendants produced additional documents on April 12, 2013. Plaintiff did not file his motion to compel until July 9, 2013, which is more than two months after the 30-day filing deadline set forth in the Scheduling Order. King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir.1987) ("Pro se litigants must follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants.") Plaintiff's motion to compel was filed more than 60 days after May 2, 2013, which was the deadline set by the Court for the filing of a motion to compel with respect to Defendants' production. Even if the Court were to use the supplemental production date of April 12, 2013 day as the trigger for the 30-day discovery motion filing deadline, Plaintiff's motion to compel was still more than 45 days late.
2. Merits of Plaintiff's Requests for Production, Set One
Untimeliness notwithstanding, the Court also DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's motion to compel on the merits for issues of overbreadth, irrelevance and privacy as explained in detail below:
RFP No. 1 - "All documents that contain, mention, construe, or refer to policies on staff supervision of inmates at the Detention Center."
In their opposition to the motion to compel, Defendants argue Plaintiff's motion must be denied as to this request because Defendants have already produced use-of-force policies for the George Bailey Detention Center including: Manual of Policies and Procedures No. I-89 (Use of Force); 0.3 (Inmate Rules and Regulations); San Diego County Sheriff's Department Procedure Section 2.49 and 6.48; Addendum Section F (Use of Force Guidelines); SDSD Detention Services Bureau - George Bailey Detention Facility Green Sheet I.89.G (Use of Force) and 0.3.G (Facility Specific Inmate Rules and Regulations. (ECF No. 99 at 8:23-9:6.) Defendants also note Plaintiff has not alerted the Court to any other relevant policies he seeks. ( See e.g. Grabek v. Dickinson, 2012 WL 113799, at *1 (E.D.Cal. Jan.13, 2012); Womack v. Virga, 2011 WL 6703958, at *3 (E.D.Cal. Dec.21, 2011); Mitchell v. Felker, 2010 WL 3835765, at *2 (E.D.Cal. Sep.29, 2010); Ellis v. Cambra, 2008 WL ...