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Garcia v. Blahnik

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 15, 2016

Ruben Dario Garcia, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Blahnik et al, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL

          Hon. Bernard G. Skomal United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Ruben Garcia alleges that between April 2012 and August 2013, certain members of the prison staff at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility retaliated against him by charging him with disciplinary violations, failing to process his inmate grievances, and suspending his position on the prison’s Mens’ Advisory Council. (ECF No. 1. at 5-18.)

         a. Plaintiff’s First Set of Discovery

         On December 15, 2015, Plaintiff served Defendants with twenty-seven Requests for Admissions, in addition to Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. (Declaration of Christopher H. Findley in Support of Opposition to Motion to Compel “Findley Decl.” Ex. 1.) The Requests for Admissions asked that each Defendant admit that they had received the proper training and were aware of the applicable regulations governing prisoners and correctional officers. The Requests for Admissions also asked Defendants to authenticate the general chronos and rules violation reports on which Plaintiff bases his claims. Defendants responded to this discovery, and admitted they were properly trained and familiar with the applicable regulations and admitted the authenticity of the documents at issue. (Findley Decl. Ex. 2.) Defendants also responded to Plaintiff’s Interrogatory requests and Requests for Production of Documents. (Findley Decl. Ex. 3.) This first set of discovery is not the basis of Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel.

         b. Plaintiff’s Second Set of Discovery

         On March 6, 2016, Plaintiff served a second set of discovery, which included Requests for Admissions, Requests for Production of Documents, and Interrogatories. (Findley Decl. Exs. 3, 4, 5, 6.) Defendants responded on April 8, 2016. (Findley Decl. Exs. 7, 8, 9, 10.) It is this second set of discovery that is in dispute in Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel. All references to Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admissions refer to this second set of discovery, unless stated otherwise.

         II. PROCEDURAL POSTURE

         Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel on April 20, 2016. (ECF No. 46.) On April 21, 2016, the Court set forth a briefing schedule on Plaintiff’s motion. On April 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a supplemental brief in support of his motion to compel. (ECF No. 51.) Thereafter, the Court updated the briefing schedule to allow Defendants additional time to respond. (ECF No. 52.) Defendants filed their opposition on May 31, 2016. (ECF No. 55.) Plaintiff filed a reply on June 17, 2016, nunc pro tunc, June 14, 2016. (ECF No. 57.)

         III. TIMELINESS OF RESPONSES

         Plaintiff argues that Defendants did not timely respond to his discovery requests. (ECF No. 46 at 4.) Defendants were required to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery within thirty days. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2)(setting forth the deadline to respond for interrogatories); Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(A)(setting forth the deadline to respond for requests for production of documents); Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3)(setting forth the deadline to respond for requests for admission). Moreover, the Federal Rules allow for a three day extension when discovery is served by mail. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(d).

         Plaintiff’s discovery is dated March 6, 2016 (Findley Decl. Exs. 3-6) and was served by mail. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Defendants were required to respond thirty-three days later, by April 8, 2016. Defendants served their responses by mail on April 8, 2016. (Findley Decl. ¶ 5.) Defendants’ responses were, therefore, timely.

         IV. FAILURE TO MEET AND CONFER

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel should be denied because he failed to meet and confer with Defendants to attempt to resolve the discovery disputes informally. (ECF No. 55 at 5.) Civil Local Rule 26.1 provides, “The court shall entertain no motion pursuant to Rules 26 through 37, Fed. R. Civ. P., unless counsel shall have previously met and conferred concerning all disputed issues.” S.D. Cal. Civ. R. 26.1(a). Counsel for the moving party must serve and file a certificate of compliance with this rule when filing a discovery motion. S.D. Cal. Civ. R. 26.1(b). Additionally, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides that a motion to compel discovery responses “must include a certification that the ...


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