United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO PROVIDE DISCOVERY RE:
DKT. NO. 78
ILLSTON United States District Judge.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Dkt. No. 78 at 3:3-5.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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