Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. S. Escamilla

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 15, 2016

DARRELL HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
S. ESCAMILLA, Defendant.

         ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO STAY THE PROCEEDINGS AND REOPEN DISCOVERY ECF, 78 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE (ECF No. 94 EX. A) ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN OPPOSITION OR STATEMENT OF NON-OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT’S SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION WITHIN TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS OF THIS ORDER TWENTY-ONE (21) DAY DEADLINE

          Michael J. Seng Judge

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983. The case proceeds against Defendant Escamilla for violating Plaintiff’s First Amendment right to exercise his religion.[1] Plaintiff’s allegations stem from a cell search on January 14, 2013. (ECF Nos. 9-10, 33 & 26.)

         Before the Court is Plaintiff’s March 21, 2016 “motion for stay of proceedings to complete discovery” (sic), brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d).[2](ECF No. 78) (hereafter “Pl. Mot. to Stay.”) Defendant filed an opposition on April 11, 2016. (ECF No. 82) (hereafter “Def.’s Opp’n.”) Plaintiff’s reply was filed on May 26, 2016. (ECF No. 94) (hereafter “Pl. Reply.) The matter is submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(/).

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This action proceeds on Plaintiff’s October 31, 2013, first amended civil rights complaint. (ECF No. 9.)

         The Court issued a discovery and scheduling order on April 1, 2015, setting a discovery deadline of December 1, 2015 and a dispositive motion deadline of February 8, 2016. (ECF No. 39.) On February 8, 2016, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 69.) On February 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for a sixty-day extension of time to respond to Defendant’s motion, which was granted. (ECF Nos. 72 & 73.) Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Instead, Plaintiff has filed the instant motion requesting the Court stay the proceedings to complete discovery, on the grounds that he lacks sufficient evidence to file an opposition. (ECF No. 78.)

         II. PLAINTIFF’S ALLEGATIONS

         At the time of the events underlying this action, Plaintiff was incarcerated at California State Prison (“CSP-Corcoran”) in Corcoran, California. Plaintiff was transferred to the California Institute for Men (“CIM”) in Chino, California, on October 27, 2014, and he is currently held there.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Escamilla searched Plaintiff’s cell on January 14, 2013, outside of Plaintiff’s presence. When Plaintiff returned to his cell, he found his Quran had been kicked under his bed and defiled by a boot mark. Plaintiff’s cellmate, who witnessed the search, told Plaintiff that Defendant Escamilla was responsible for the search.

         III. MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS TO REOPEN DISCOVERY

         A. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) permits the Court to delay consideration of a motion for summary judgment to allow parties to obtain discovery to oppose the motion. When a motion for summary judgment is filed “before a party has had any realistic opportunity to pursue discovery relating to its theory of the case, ” a Rule 56(d) motion should be freely granted. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R. Co. v. Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation, 323 F.3d 767, 773 (9th Cir. 2003).

         A party asserting that discovery is necessary to oppose a motion for summary judgment “shall provide a specification of the particular facts on which discovery is to be had or the issues on which discovery is necessary.” Local Rule 260(b). However, where “no discovery whatsoever has taken place, the party making a Rule 56[(d)] motion cannot be expected to frame its motion with great specificity as to the kind of discovery likely to turn up useful information, as the ground for such specificity has not yet been laid.” Burlington N., 323 F.3d at 774. “The Courts which have denied a Rule 56[(d)] application for lack of sufficient showing to support further discovery appear to have done so where it was clear that the evidence sought was almost certainly nonexistent or was the object of pure speculation.” VISA Int’l. Serv. Ass’n v. Bankcard Holders of Am., 784 F.2d 1472, 1475 (9th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted).

         Where a party requests to reopen discovery after discovery has closed, the request also must meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16. District courts must enter scheduling orders that “limit the time to join other parties, amend the pleadings, complete discovery, and file motions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(3)(A). Once entered by the court, a scheduling order “controls the course of the action unless the court modifies it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(d). Scheduling orders are intended to alleviate case management problems. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 610 (9th Cir.1992). As such, a scheduling order is “not a frivolous piece of paper, idly entered, which can be cavalierly disregarded by counsel without peril.” Id. (quoting Gestetner Corp. v. Case Equip. Co., 108 F.R.D. 138, 141 (D. Maine 1985)). Good cause must be shown for modification of the scheduling order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). The Ninth Circuit explained:

Rule 16(b)'s “good cause” standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. The district court may modify the pretrial schedule if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension. Moreover, carelessness is not compatible with a finding of diligence and offers no reason for a grant of relief. Although the existence of a degree of prejudice to the party opposing the modification might supply additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party’s reasons for seeking modification. If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.

Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Therefore, parties must “diligently attempt to adhere to the schedule throughout the course of the litigation.” Jackson v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 607 (E.D. Cal. 1999). The party requesting modification of a scheduling order may be required to show:

(1) that she was diligent in assisting the Court in creating a workable Rule 16 order, (2) that her noncompliance with a Rule 16 deadline occurred or will occur, notwithstanding her diligent efforts to comply, because of the development of matters which could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated at the time of the Rule 16 scheduling conference, and (3) that she was diligent in seeking amendment of the Rule 16 order, once it become apparent that she could not comply with the order.

Id. at 608 (internal citations omitted).

         B. Plaintiff’s Arguments

         Plaintiff seeks an order staying the proceedings for four months and reopening discovery to communicate with several inmate witnesses prior to opposing Defendant’s summary judgment motion. He also seeks an order directing Defendant to facilitate communication between him and these witnesses.

         As to the latter issue, first, it appears the institution provided Plaintiff the CDCR numbers and locations of the inmate witnesses on April 16, 2016, and as of May 12, 2016, gave Plaintiff initial approval to communicate with them in writing. See Pl. Reply Ex. D, “Requests for Correspondence Approval.” Thus, it does not appear Plaintiff actually needs assistance facilitating this communication. Indeed, Plaintiff concedes that the process of communicating with them “appears to be underway.” Pl. Reply at 26.

         Plaintiff gives a list of reasons why he could not seek this discovery earlier: health issues; movement between facilities; lack of access to the law library; inefficient prison mail system; inconvenient timing of his deposition; having to file or respond to an onerous number of motions; and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.