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Harrison v. Adams

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 19, 2014

MICHAEL D. HARRISON, Plaintiff,
v.
D. ADAMS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER (1) GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (ECF NO. 184); (2) DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL (ECF NO. 196); AND (3) DISCHARGING ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE (ECF NO. 195)

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The Court screened Plaintiff's Eighth Amended Complaint and found that it stated a cognizable claim against Defendants Jones, Moore, Burns, Dava, Kim, Edmonds, Galvan, C. Gonzalez, M. Gonzalez, Johnson, O'Neal, Parsons, Raygoza, Roth, Tumayo, Urbano, Vicente, Zakari, Bastianon, Campos, Casio, Cisneros, and Coronado for violation of Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment. (ECF No. 160.)

Defendants Jones, Moore, Burns, Dava, Kim, Galvan, C. Gonzalez, M. Gonzalez, Johnson, O'Neal, Parsons, Roth, Tumayo, Urbano, Vicente, Casio, Cisneros, and Coronado have appeared and answered Plaintiff's complaint. (ECF No. 93, 147, 167.) The United States Marshal Service is in the process of attempting to serve Defendant Campos. (ECF No. 190.) Service on Defendants Zakari, Bastianon, Edmonds, and Raygoza was returned unexecuted. (ECF Nos. 177, 179, 193, 194.) The Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why Defendants Zakari, Bastianon, Edmonds, and Raygoza should not be dismissed. (ECF No. 195.) Plaintiff has responded to the order to show cause. (ECF Nos. 197 & 198.)

Before the Court are Plaintiff's March 20, 2014 motion to compel discovery (ECF No. 184), opposed by Defendants Jones, Moore, Burns, Dava, Kim, Galvan, C. Gonzalez, M. Gonzalez, Johnson, O'Neal, Parsons, Roth, Tumayo, Urbano, Vicente, Casio, Cisneros, and Coronado (ECF No. 185), and Plaintiff's July 30, 2014 motion to appoint counsel (ECF No. 196).

II. MOTION TO COMPEL

A. Legal Standard

The discovery process is subject to the overriding limitation of good faith. Asea, Inc. v. S. Pac. Transp. Co. , 669 F.2d 1242, 1246 (9th Cir. 1981). Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged 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.

A party may propound interrogatories relating to any matter that may be inquired into under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(1). The responding party is obligated to respond to the interrogatories to the fullest extent possible. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3). Any objections must be stated with specificity. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(4); see Mancia v. Mayflower Textile Servs. Co. , 253 F.R.D. 354, 356 (D. Md. 2008) (boilerplate objections waived any legitimate objections responding party may have had); Chubb Integrated Sys., Ltd. v. Nat'l 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 Servs., Inc. , 168 F.R.D. 295, 310 (D. Kan.1996) (objection on grounds of vagueness and ambiguity overruled if terms and phrases used in interrogatories are susceptible to ordinary definitions). The responding party shall use common sense and reason in its responses; hyper-technical, quibbling, or evasive objections will not be viewed favorably by the court. Haney v. Saldana, No. 1:04-cv-05935-AWI-SmS-PC, 2010 WL 3341939, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2010).

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, No. CIV S-10-2892 GGH P. , 2012 WL 113799, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2012); Ellis v. Cambra, No. 1:02-cv-05646-AWI-SMS (PC) , 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, No. CIV S-11-1030 MCE EFB P. , 2011 WL 6703958, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 21, 2011).

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, 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)).

B. Parties' Arguments

Plaintiff asserts that he submitted interrogatories to Defendants Coronado, Galvan, Roth, and Cisneros on February 7, 2014, and that Defendants refused to provide the requested information. (ECF No. 184 at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that he conferred with Defendants in good faith in an effort to secure the information but they refused to give it to him. The interrogatories sought the first and middle names of all of the Defendants, documents containing the same, as well as information concerning a "citation and violation report" relating to an inmate appeal. Plaintiff asserts that he needs to supply this information to an "out side agency" in order to get other information necessary to prove his case. Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that the information is necessary in order to serve the remaining unserved defendants in this case.

Defendants first point out that the interrogatories at issue were propounded on Defendants Tamayo, Roth, and Urbano, rather than on Coronado, Galvan, Roth, and Cisneros. (ECF No. 185 at 2.) Defendants assert that Plaintiff's motion to compel was filed without an attempt to meet and confer, and that Defendants properly objected to each interrogatory.

C. Analysis

Having considered the motion and Defendants' opposition and the relevant discovery requests and responses, the Court rules as follows.

1. Interrogatory Nos. 1 and 3

Interrogatory No. 1 seeks the first and middle names of the responding defendants, while Interrogatory No. 3 seeks the first and middle names of all defendants in this action. Due to the similarity between these interrogatories, they are analyzed together.

Interrogatory No. 1:
Give me the correct spelling of your first name & middle ...

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