United States District Court, E.D. California
BILLY R. THOMPSON, JR., Plaintiff,
SGT. THATHER, et al., Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL (Doc. 26)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.
Justin Lewis, Alexander Paiz and Joshua Finney (collectively, "Defendants") seek to compel Plaintiff Billy Thompson, Jr., to serve his initial disclosures and to respond to the discovery requested by Defendants. (Doc. 26.) Plaintiff did not oppose the motion. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to compel discovery is GRANTED.
I. Relevant Factual and Procedural History
The Court held a scheduling conference on November 19, 2013, at which deadlines related to discovery were set for the parties. (Doc. 22.) The parties were instructed to make initial disclosures no later than December 9, 2013, and to complete non-expert discovery no later than December 29, 2014. ( Id. at 1.) The parties were informed that "[f]ailure to comply with this order may result in the imposition of sanctions." ( Id. at 6.)
On February 24, 2014, Defendants filed the motion now pending before the Court, asserting Plaintiff had failed to comply with the Court's order to make his initial disclosures pursuant to Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and that Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendants' discovery requests, including interrogatories and requests for production of documents. (Doc. 26.)
II. Scope of Discovery and Requests
The scope and limitations of discovery are set forth by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) states:
Unless otherwise limited by court order, parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged manner that is relevant to any party's claim or defense - including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things... For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the accident. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
Relevant evidence is defined as "evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence." Fed.R.Evid. 401. Relevancy to a subject matter is interpreted "broadly to encompass any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case." Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978).
A party may propound interrogatories relating to any matter that may be inquired to under Rule 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a). A responding party is obligated to respond to the fullest extent possible, and any objections must be stated with specificity. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3)-(4). In general, a responding party is not required "to conduct extensive research in order to answer an interrogatory, but a reasonable effort to respond must be made." Haney v. Saldana, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93447, at *9 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2010) (citing L.H. v. Schwarzenegger, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73753 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 21, 2007)). Further, the responding party must supplement a response if the information sought is later obtained or the previous response requires a correction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(e)(1)(A).
Any grounds of an objection to an interrogatory must be stated "with specificity." Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4); see also Nagele v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., 193 F.R.D. 94, 109 (W.D. N.Y. 2000) (objection that interrogatories were "burdensome" overruled for failure to "particularize" the basis for objection); Mitchell v. AMTRAK, 208 F.R.D. 455, 458 at n.4 (D.D.C. 2002) (objections must explain how an interrogatory is overbroad or unduly burdensome).
B. Requests for Production of Documents
A party may request documents "in the responding party's possession, custody, or control." Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(1). Similarly, a party may serve a request "to permit entry onto designated land or other property possessed or controlled by the responding party, so that the requesting party may inspect, measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the property..." Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(2). A request is adequate if it describes items with "reasonable particularity;" specifies a reasonable time, place, and manner for the inspection; and specifies the form or forms in which electronic information can be produced. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b). Thus, a request is sufficiently clear if it "places the party upon reasonable notice of what is called for and what is not.'" Kidwiler v. Progressive Paloverde Ins. Co., 192. F.R.D. 193, 202 (N.D. W.Va. 2000) (quoting Parsons v. Jefferson-Pilot Corp., 141 F.R.D. 408, 412 (M.D. N.C. 1992)); see also ...