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Fearence v. L. L. Shulteis

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 30, 2015

JAQUES FEARENCE, Plaintiff,
v.
L. L. SHULTEIS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND FOR SANCTIONS (Doc. 88.)

GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

Jaques Fearence ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff filed the Complaint commencing this action on May 1, 2008. (Doc. 1.) This case now proceeds on the Third Amended Complaint filed on November 22, 2013, against defendants Hopkins and Busby for use of excessive force; against defendants Hopkins, Davis, Duffy, and Beckett for failure to protect Plaintiff; and against defendants Hopkins, Busby, Davis, Duffy, and Beckett for conspiracy to use excessive force (collectively, "Defendants"). (Doc. 64.) On May 8, 2014, the court issued an Amended Scheduling Order which extended the deadline for completion of discovery, including the filing of motions to compel, to January 8, 2015. (Doc. 85.)

On September 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel and for sanctions. (Doc. 88.) On October 9, 2014, Defendants filed an opposition. (Doc. 91.) Plaintiff has not filed a reply. Plaintiff's motion to compel and for sanctions is now before the court.

II. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff is a state prisoner presently incarcerated at California State Prison-Los Angeles County in Lancaster, California. The events at issue occurred at the California Correctional Institution ("CCI") in Tehachapi, California, when Plaintiff was incarcerated there. Plaintiff names as defendants Lieutenant S. Hopkins, J. Busby, T. C. Davis, D. Duffy, and Sergeant J. M. Beckett. Plaintiff's factual allegations follow:

On August 11, 2005, Plaintiff was removed from his cell with restraints on his hands and ankles, and placed in a holding cage. While restrained and locked in the holding cage, all defendants subjected Plaintiff to verbal abuse and explained to him that they don't give a (expletive) about being sued.

Defendant Lt. S. Hopkins reached into the cage and assaulted Plaintiff aggressively. Then defendants Hopkins, Beckett, Busby, Davis, and Duffy put on gas masks and all agreed to pepper spray Plaintiff, who was still in the cage, wearing restraints, and not posing a threat to anyone. Defendant Busby sprayed Plaintiff with a whole can of O.C. pepper spray, emptying all of its contents. Defendants Busby, Hopkins, Beckett, Davis, and Duffy participated, watched, and did not intervene to stop the excessive force from continuing.

The excessive force was not justified at all, and Plaintiff did nothing wrong. Plaintiff suffers from blurred vision and sensitivity to the sunlight when exposed to the sun.

Plaintiff requests monetary damages, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and costs of suit.

III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

Under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b). "Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Id.

With respect to requests for production, a party may propound requests for production of documents that are within the scope of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a). With respect to interrogatories, a party may propound interrogatories related to any matter that may be inquired into under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(2). With respect to requests for admission, a party may propound requests for admission of the "truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1) relating to (A) facts, the application of law to fact, or the opinions about either; and (B) the genuineness of any described documents." Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(1).

Under Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "a party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer, designation, production, or inspection." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3) (B). The court may order a party to provide further responses to an "evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4). "District courts have broad discretion to manage discovery and to control the course of litigation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.'" Hunt v. County of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Avila v. Willits Envtl. Remediation Trust, 633 F.3d 828, 833 (9th Cir. 2011)). 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 ...


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