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Townsend v. Imerial County

United States District Court, S.D. California

May 16, 2014

CHARLENE TOWNSEND, VIVIAN MENTA and DORINDA IRON CLOUD, heirs of decedent, MICHAEL ESPERANZA, Plaintiffs,
v.
IMERIAL COUNTY; and DOES 1 to 50, Inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

PETER C. LEWIS, Magistrate Judge.

Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37(a)(1). (Doc. 28.)

I. STANDARD ON MOTION TO COMPEL

The moving party carries the burden of informing the court of (1) which discovery requests are the subject of his motion to compel, (2) which of the defendants' responses are disputed, (3) why the responses are deficient, (4) the reasons defendants' objections are without merit, and (5) the relevance of the requested information to the prosecution of his 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 02-05646-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."). Williams v. Adams , 105-CV-00124AWISMSPC, 2009 WL 1220311 (E.D. Cal. May 4, 2009).

When deciding whether to grant a motion to compel response to discovery request or interrogatory, the court considers the prior efforts of the parties to resolve the dispute, the relevance of the information sought, and the burden or expense of production. Barnes v. D.C., 289 F.R.D. 1 (D.D.C. 2012).

II. RESOLVED DISCOVERY ISSUES

Subsequent to filing this Motion to Compel, several items have been resolved and are now moot. Specifically, the following grounds for relief, as designated in the Motion to Compel, have been resolved: (A) failure to verify discovery responses; (C) failure to produce all responsive documents; (F) failure of deponent Michael horn to thoroughly search and produce documents; (J) failure to bates-number documents. (Doc. 28.) These issues have largely been resolved through supplementation and cooperation of the Defendants. (See Doc. 33.) Indeed, Plaintiffs do not address grounds A, C, F, or J in their Reply (Doc. 36), ostensibly because these issues have been resolved.

III. UNRESOLVED DISCOVERY ISSUES

The issues presented in Plaintiff's Motion to Compel which are unresolved are: (B) failure to properly designate Persons Most Knowledgeable ("PMK"); (D) failure to comply with Court orders; (E) failure to produce un-redacted versions of documents; (G) withholding of documents based on an unidentified privilege; (H) failure to produce all relevant, non-privileged documents related to the Death Review Team; (I) failure to produce several color photographs; and (K) failure to produce documents regarding suicide plans and training. (Doc. 36.)

A. Failure to Properly Designate Persons Most Knowledgeable[1]

Plaintiffs are requesting the Court to compel the Defendants to "specify which of their two PMK's will testify on each of the six categories in question." (Doc. 36, at 3.) Defendants have designated Michael Horn and Adela Sanchez as its PMK's, but have not identified to which categories of issues their status as PMK is responsive. (Doc. 33, at 7.) Plaintiffs assert that Defendant's first PMK, Michael Horn, was unable to knowledgeably testify regarding several PMK categories. Plaintiffs argue that this could have been avoided if Horn was designated as now requested. (Doc. 36, at 3.)The second PMK, Adela Sanchez, has not yet been deposed. (Doc. 33, at 7.)

Defendant states it acted in good faith at all times in naming the individuals who would be the most qualified PMK's for each category; e.g., Michael Horn is the County's Director of Behavioral Health Services, and the head of the Death Review Team. ( Id., at 8.) It follows that he should have been an appropriate PMK for several categories of questions, despite his apparent inability to answer questions at his deposition.

Thus, although it is clear that Defendants have acted in good faith in identifying their PMK's, the Court hereby orders Defendants to specify which categories of issues each of its PMK's is ...


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