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Menell v. Rialto Unified School District

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 20, 2016

Katrina Menell
v.
Rialto Unified School District, et al.

          Present: The Honorable KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL [DKT. 24]

          The Honorable KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On June 9, 2016, Plaintiff Katrina Menell (“Plaintiff”) filed a Motion to Compel Defendant Rialto Unified School District (“Defendant”) to provide (a) supplemental responses to Requests for Admission Nos. 3, 4, 7 through 13, 15, 17, and 20; (b) supplemental responses to Requests for Production Nos. 10 through 18; (c) verified supplemental responses to Interrogatories Nos. 7 through 14; and (d) a verification for all Interrogatory responses (“Motion to Compel”). ECF Docket No. (“dkt.”) 24, Joint Stipulation (“JS”). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel. The hearing set for June 30, 2016 is hereby VACATED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 14, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging Defendant “discriminated against her on the basis of her disability, by failing and refusing to ensure the accessibility of the public facilities at Rialto High School (‘High School’), in violation of federal and state antidiscrimination statutes.” Dkt. 1, Compl. at ¶ 1.

         On February 5, 2016, Plaintiff served Defendant with Requests for Admission, Requests for Production, and Interrogatories. Dkt. 24-1, Declaration of Isabel Rose Masanque in support of Motion to Compel (“Masanque Decl.”), ¶ 2.

         On April 6, 2016, Defendant “served unverified responses, several of which consisted of only objections.” Id. at ¶ 3. On May 25, 2016, Plaintiff’s counsel sent Defendant’s counsel a letter identifying the deficiencies in Defendant’s responses. Id. at ¶¶ 4-5, Ex. 3.

         On June 1, 2016, Plaintiff’s counsel and Defendant’s counsel met and conferred. Id. at ¶ 6. Defendant’s counsel agreed to consider providing supplemental responses, but would need additional time. Id.

         On June 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel. Dkt. 24, JS. As of June 9, 2016, Defendant had not provided any supplemental responses. Id. at ¶ 7. Neither party filed supplemental briefing.

         The Fact Discovery Cut-Off in this action is July 5, 2016 and trial is set to begin on October 25, 2016. See dkt. 16, Scheduling Order.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure effective December 1, 2015 emphasize that “[t]he parties and the court have a collective responsibility to consider the proportionality of all discovery and consider it in resolving discovery disputes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory committee notes (2015 amendments). Thus, there is “a shared responsibility on all the parties to consider the factors bearing on proportionality before propounding discovery requests, issuing responses and objections, or raising discovery disputes before the courts.” Salazar v. McDonald’s Corp., No. 14-CV-02096-RS (MEJ), 2016 WL 736213, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2016); Goes Int’l, AB v. Dodur Ltd., No. 14-CV-05666-LB, 2016 WL 427369, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 4, 2016) (citing advisory committee notes for proposition that parties share a “collective responsibility” to consider proportionality and requiring that “[b]oth parties . . . tailor their efforts to the needs of th[e] case”); Razo v. Timec Co., Inc., No. 15-CV-03414-MEJ, 2016 WL 1623938, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 21, 2016) (same). Moreover, “Rule 1 is amended to emphasize that just as the court should construe and administer these rules to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action, so the parties share the responsibility to employ the rules in the same way.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1 advisory committee notes (2015 amendments).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) provides that parties may obtain discovery regarding

any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information “need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id. A court “must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed” if “(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).

         “[G]eneral or boilerplate objections such as ‘overly burdensome and harassing’ are improper - especially when a party fails to submit any evidentiary declarations supporting such objections.” A. Farber and Partners, Inc. v. Garber, 234 F.R.D. 186, 188 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (citations omitted) (faulting defendant for making “boilerplate objections to almost every single request for production, including broad relevancy objections, objections of ‘overly burdensome and harassing, ’ ‘assumes facts not in evidence, ’ privacy, and attorney-client privilege/work product protection”).

         “A party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer, . . . production, or inspection.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iii), (iv). “[A]n evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must be treated as a failure to disclose, answer or respond.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4).

         Lastly, pursuant to Local Rule 7-12, a party’s failure to oppose a motion may be deemed consent to the granting of the motion. L.R. 7-12.

         III. ...


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