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Garland v. Stanley

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 2, 2015

SHAUN DARNELL GARLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
C. STANLEY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER: (1) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL (ECF No. 22); (3) GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO REOPEN DISCOVERY (ECF No. 28); AND (3) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME (ECF No. 28)

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1983. (ECF Nos. 1 & 4.) The action proceeds against Defendants Lindsey, Nickell, Stanley, and John Doe on Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim. (ECF Nos. 6 & 8.) Defendants Lindsey, Nickell, and Stanley were served and have appeared in the action. (ECF Nos. 12 & 15.) Defendant Doe has not been identified.

On September 26, 2013, the Court issued a discovery and scheduling order, setting May 26, 2014 as the discovery cut-off and August 7, 2014 as the dispositive motion deadline. (ECF No. 14.)

On March 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel a further response to his request for admissions. (ECF No. 22.) Defendants filed an opposition (ECF No. 23), and Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 24.)

On August 5, 2014, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 25.) On September 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for extension of time to respond to the motion, and a request to reopen discovery. (ECF No. 28.) On September 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed a "supplement" to his motion. (ECF No. 29.) Defendants filed an opposition. (ECF No. 30.) Plaintiff filed a reply. (ECF No. 32.) Defendants then filed a notice of compliance with Plaintiff's request for additional discovery. (ECF No. 33.) Plaintiff then filed a response to the notice, explaining that Defendants' compliance was deficient. (ECF No. 34.)

These matters are deemed submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230( l ).

II. MOTION TO COMPEL

A. Legal Standard

The discovery process is subject to the overriding limitation of good faith. Asea, Inc. v. S. P. 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 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 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. 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 reasonable inquiry and that the information it knows or can readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit or deny. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(4).

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. Disputed Requests for Admission

Request No. 2:

Admit that the affidavit of truth bearing the sworn statement of prisoner witness Darrell Whitson, i.d. no #H75620 and dated December 14, 2010 attached this complaint is a true and authentic copy of the original.

Request No. 3:

Admit that the affidavit of truth bearing the sworn statement of prisoner witness Charles Baker, i.d. no:#P54028, and dated December 1, 2010 attached to this complaint is a true and authentic copy of the original.

Request No. 4:

Admit that the affidavit of truth bearing the sworn statement of prisoner witness Alvin M. Timbol, i.d. no:#AC7178, and dated November 29, 2010 attached to this complaint ...

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