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Holt v. Nicholas

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 9, 2014

VIRGIL E. HOLT, Plaintiff,
R. NICHOLAS, et al., Defendants.


STANLEY A. BOONE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Virgil E. Holt is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983.

On May 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions.[1] Defendants filed an opposition on May 29, 2014.

On June 27, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to stay proceeding of the summary judgment pending the instant motion for sanctions.



In the instant action, Plaintiff contends that Defendants Nicholas, Holguin, Ortega, Machado, and Juden used excessive force on him by dispensing O.C. pepper spray into his cell on April 9, 2007, and Defendants Carrasco and Zanchi knew that Nicholas and Holguin would use excessive force and failed to act to prevent it. Plaintiff further contends that Defendants Adame, Bubbel, Coontz, Knight, Large, Pinkerton, Prior, Rivera, Soto, Tyree, Valverde, Vo, Worrell, and Yubeta were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need by refusing to provide Plaintiff with any decontamination while he waited for several hours to be rehoused in the administrative segregation unit.

On October 28, 2013, Plaintiff moved to compel Defendants to provide further discovery responses. Defendants filed an opposition on November 18, 2013. Plaintiff did not file a reply. On January 21, 2014, the Court granted in part, and denied in part, Plaintiff's motion to compel. (ECF No. 121.) The Court ordered Defendant Juden to supplement his response to request for production number nine and produce a copy of "CCI's training manual on decontamination process after exposure to chemical agents (O.C. pepper spray, T-16 grenade, etc.) used as force on inmates." (Id. at 8:7-9.) The Court denied Plaintiff's motion as to Plaintiff's request for production number thirteen as to Defendant Valverde, finding that Defendant had previously provided the "Material Safety Data Sheets" for T-16 OC grenade and the OC Spray, and that Plaintiff had to accept counsel's declaration that there were no other documents responsive to this request. (ECF No. 121, 9:13-17.)

As previously stated, on May 8, 2014, Plaintiff moved for sanctions against Defendants claiming that Defendant Valverde had misrepresented his response to the Court, and had provided the data sheets for a flameless expulsion grenade rather than a T-16 grenade. Plaintiff also moved for sanctions against Defendant Juden for failure to respond as ordered by the Court. Defendants filed an opposition on May 29, 2014.



Rule 37(c)(1) provides that where a party fails to provide the information "required by Rule 26 (a) or (e), the party is not allowed to sue that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(c)(1). The burden of showing that the failure to disclosure was substantially justified or harmless lies with the party facing sanctions. R & R Sails, Inc. v. Insurance Co. of Pennsylvania , 673 F.3d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 2012). "Rule 37(c)(1) gives teeth to these requirements for forbidding the use at trial of any information required to be disclosed by Rule 26(a) that is not properly disclosed." Hoffman v. Constr. Protective Servs. Inc. , 541 F.3d 1175, 1179 (9th Cir. 2008).

This Court, on motion or on its own, may also issue sanctions under Rule 16(f) in the event that a party or their attorney fails to obey a scheduling or pretrial order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(f). The Court may issue any just sanctions, including those authorized by Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(vii). Id.

Finally, this Court may issue sanctions under its inherent power, but only upon a showing of bad faith. See Chambers v. NASCO, Inc. , 501 U.S. 32, 43-46 (1991); see also Mendez v. County of San Bernardino , 540 F.3d 1109, 1130-1133 (9th Cir. 2008) (vacating sanction order imposed under district court's inherent powers where the court did not make a bad faith finding before imposing sanctions and the record did not support such a finding); Fink v. Gomez , 239 F.3d 989, 992 (9th Cir. 2001) (noting that Chambers used "bad faith' as a shorthand term to encompass a broad range of conduct in ...

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