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.

Gray v. Lewis

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 23, 2016

BERNARDOS GRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
G. D. LEWIS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO PROVIDE DISCOVERY RE: DKT. NO. 78

          SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge.

         On May 13, 2016, defendants filed a "Statement Regarding Discovery Dispute Concerning Plaintiff's Deposition Pursuant to the Court's Standing Order." Dkt. No. 78. In it, defendants request that the Court compel production of certain documents by plaintiff. Plaintiff does not oppose their statement. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ request is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         In his pro se prisoner’s civil rights action, plaintiff claims that prison officials impeded his efforts to practice his Yahweh religion while housed at Pelican Bay State Prison. See Dkt. No. 10 at 1:21-22.[1] His complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleges violations of his rights under the First Amendment, RLUIPA (the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act), the Equal Protection Clause, and the Eighth Amendment. See Dkt. No. 10 at 4:15-17.

         During discovery, defendants deposed plaintiff. In their Notice of Deposition of Plaintiff Bernardos Gray and Requests for Production of Documents at Deposition, defendants requested production of nineteen categories of documents. Dkt. No. 78 at 2:21-23. These documents relate to plaintiff's requests for religious accommodations while in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation custody, his requests for religious accommodations while in Sacramento County Jail, his claims that defendants burdened his religious practices, communications with defendants concerning his religious practices, and evaluation of plaintiff's injuries. Dkt. No. 78 at 2:23-27. According to defendants, the requested documents are relevant to plaintiff's claims that defendants "violated his religious rights by denying him (1) kosher meals, (2) the ability to practice unspecified religious ceremonies, (3) access to unspecified religious garments and books, (4) religious legal name change, (5) financial assistance, and (6) cellmate arrangements." Dkt. No. 78 at 2:28-3:2.

         In their Statement Regarding Discovery Dispute, defendants state that plaintiff has already provided a response to Request No. 12, but not to any other requests. See Dkt. No. 78 at 3:4. Defendants further report that, during a meet-and-confer telephone call on March 9, 2016, plaintiff agreed to produce all remaining documents with the exception of documents requested in Request Nos. 17 and 18. Dkt. No. 78 at 2:6-7. However, defendants did not receive any of the agreed-to documents from plaintiff by the April 8, 2016 deadline. Dkt. No. 68 at 2:11. Defendants note that they "attempted to meet and confer with plaintiff on several occasions to discuss the documents, " and extended the deadline for production multiple times because plaintiff told defendants that "he could not produce any documents because Sacramento County Jail staff were withholding his legal property." Dkt. No. 78 at 2:212-16. Defendants last extended the deadline to May 6, 2016, but have yet to receive any of the remaining documents which plaintiff agreed to produce. Dkt. No. 78 at 2:16-18. Defendants now request that the Court compel plaintiff to produce a response to Request Nos. 1-11, 13-16, and 19.[2] Dkt. No. 78 at 3:3-5.

         In plaintiff’s original Response to the Defendants’ Request for Production of Documents, Set One, plaintiff objected to Request Nos. 17 and 18 (which were identical requests), seeking “[a]ll documents relating to all grievances [plaintiff] submitted through the Sacramento County Jail grievance system related to [plaintiff’s] religious practice” because they "seek[] confidential and private information, not relevant to any claims or defenses at issue in this lawsuit." Dkt. No. 78-2 at 2:7-9, 9:10-10:2. Defendants urge in their Statement Regarding Discovery Dispute that "any grievances that plaintiff submitted to the Sacramento County Jail regarding his religious practice are clearly relevant and discoverable in this case." Dkt. No. 78 at 3:6-8.

         The court set a June 3, 2016 deadline for plaintiff to file an opposition to defendants’ Statement. Dkt. No. 79. Plaintiff has not filed any opposition.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         In general, parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is "relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Factors to consider include “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.” Id. Discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable. Id.

         In order to claim a discovery privilege, a party must "expressly make the claim, " and produce a privilege log documenting "the nature of the documents, communications, or tangible things not produced or disclosed." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5).

         A motion to compel a discovery response is appropriate when a party refuses to produce relevant, non-privileged discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(2). The movant must certify that it has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party failing to make discovery in an effort to secure information or material without court action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1).

         DISCUSSION

         The documents requested by defendants are relevant to plaintiff's claims and appear to be proportional to the needs of the case, with the time limit identified later in this order. Therefore, they are within the proper scope of discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Because the discovery sought is relevant information and plaintiff agreed to produce all remaining documents with the exception of documents responsive to Request Nos. 17 and 18 but has failed ...


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.