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Kinnamon v. Latia

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 29, 2014

TODD KINNAMON, Plaintiff,
v.
C. LATIA, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

ANTHONY W. ISHII, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Todd Kinnamon ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this action on August 15, 2012. On January 15, 2014, the Court issued an order that the action proceed on Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants C. Latia and J. Jordan.

Defendant Latia filed an answer February 24, 2014. Subsequently, on February 27, 2014, the Court issued a Discovery and Scheduling Order. Part I of the Order requires the parties to provide initial disclosures, including names of witnesses and production of documents.

On March 14, 2014, Defendant Latia filed a Request for Reconsideration of Part I of the Discovery and Scheduling Order. Plaintiff did not file an opposition. The matter is deemed submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

Defendant Jordan filed an answer on April 7, 2014, after the Court's issuance of the Discovery and Scheduling Order. Given the pendency of this motion, the Court has not yet made the Discovery and Scheduling Order applicable to Defendant Jordon.

LEGAL STANDARD

Defendant moves for reconsideration pursuant to Local Rule 303(c), which permits District Judge review of a Magistrate Judge's order. Local Rule 303(a) incorporates the "clearly erroneous" or "contrary to law" standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a). Thus, the District Judge must "modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a).

DISCUSSION

Defendant correctly argues that Part I of the Discovery and Scheduling Order requires the parties to engage in disclosures similar to those required under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1). Defendant is also correct in that Plaintiff is a pro se prisoner, and that such actions are generally exempt from initial disclosure requirements.

Defendant is incorrect, however, insofar as Defendant argues that the Discovery and Scheduling Order is an improper "standing order" meant to modify the initial disclosure requirements. As the Court has previously explained in numerous prisoner actions where the Discovery and Scheduling Order has been issued, the order is a case-specific order that issued in this action "[t]o expedite the fair disposition of this action and to discourage wasteful pretrial activities." Therefore, the order is proper since "even in a case excluded..., the court can order exchange of similar information in managing the action under rule 16." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1) Advisory Committee Note of 2000. The fact that a similar order has issued in other prisoner cases does not transform the order into a formal, or informal, standing order. Indeed, if there is an instance where initial disclosures are not warranted, the Court will not issue an order requiring their exchange.

The Court notes that the discovery order at issue, which has been used and upheld in other actions in this Court, was implemented in light of the numerous discovery issues that were arising with increasing frequency in other pro se prisoner actions. Defendants' discovery practices were bordering on unnecessarily obstructive, and these tactics caused numerous discovery disputes that required extensive Court resources to resolve. The intent of the order, as explained above, is to discourage similar wasteful activities.

Defendant further believes that such requirements are an undue burden on the State in prisoner cases. However, again, the intent behind the order is to streamline the discovery process and ultimately reduce the overall burden on the State, the Court and the parties. In fact, since the requirement to exchange initial disclosures has been in place, there has been a significant decrease in discovery ...


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