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Martin v. Loadholt

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 2, 2014

CLAUDELL EARL MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
LOADHOLT, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS (ECF No. 56)

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The action proceeds against Defendant Loadholt on a claim of retaliation.

Before the Court is Plaintiff's April 14, 2014 motion to compel further responses to: requests for admissions set one ("RFA") items 7, 8 and 15; and requests for production of documents set one ("RFD") items 14 and 15. Defendant filed opposition. Plaintiff has not replied to the opposition, and the time for doing so has expired. Local Rule 230( l ).

I. LEGAL STANDARDS - DISCOVERY MOTIONS

The discovery process is subject to the overriding limitation of good faith. Asea, Inc. v. Southern Pac. Transp. Co., 669 F.2d 1242, 1246 (9th Cir. 1981). Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense, and for good cause, the Court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id.

Generally, if the responding party objects to a discovery request, the party moving to compel bears the burden of demonstrating why the objections are not justified. E.g., Grabek v. Dickinson, 2012 WL 113799, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan.13, 2012); Mitchell v. Felker, 2010 WL 3835765, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 29, 2010); Ellis v. Cambra, 2008 WL 860523, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008). This requires the moving party to inform the Court which discovery requests are the subject of the motion to compel, and, for each disputed response, why the information sought is relevant and why the responding party's objections are not meritorious. Grabek, 2012 WL 113799, at *1; Womack v. Virga, 2011 WL 6703958, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 21, 2011).

Courts in the Eastern District of California have required, "at a minimum, [that] the moving party plaintiff has the burden of informing the court (1) which discovery requests are the subject of his motion to compel, (2) which of the defendant's responses are disputed, (3) why he believes the defendant's responses are deficient, (4) why the defendant's objections are not justified, and (5) why the information he seeks through discovery is relevant to the prosecution of this action." Walker v. Karelas, 2009 WL 3075575, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 21, 2009); Brooks v. Alameida, 2009 WL 331358, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 10, 2009).

The court must limit discovery if the burden of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C)(iii). "In each instance [of discovery], the determination whether... information is discoverable because it is relevant to the claims or defenses depends on the circumstances of the pending action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 Advisory Committee's note (2000 Amendment) (Gap Report) (Subdivision (b)(1).

All grounds for objection must be stated "with specificity." See Mancia v. Mayflower Textile Services Co., 253 F.R.D. 354, 356 (D.Md. 2008) (boiler-plate objections waived any legitimate objections responding party may have had); Chubb Integrated Sys., Ltd. v. National Bank of Wash., 103 F.R.D. 52, 58 (D.D.C. 1984) (the objecting party must state reasons for any objection, "irrelevant" did not fulfill party's burden to explain its objections); Pulsecard, Inc. v. Discovery Card Services, Inc., 168 F.R.D. 295, 310 (D. Kan. 1996) (objection on grounds of vagueness and ambiguity overruled if reason and common sense to attribute ordinary definitions to terms and phrases provided needed clarity).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Requests for Admissions

1. Legal Requirements

"A party may serve on any other party a written request to admit, for purposes of the pending action only, the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1) relating to: (A) facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about either; and (B) the genuineness of any described documents." Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(1).

If a matter is not admitted, the answer must specifically deny it or state in detail why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny it. A denial must fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of a matter, the answer must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the rest. The answering party may assert lack of knowledge or information as a reason for failing to admit or deny only if the party states that it has made ...


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