United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION REQUESTING PERMISSION TO FILE
MOTION TO COMPEL Re: Dkt. No. 104
MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge
Fernando Yates seeks permission to file a motion to compel.
See Mot., Dkt. No. 104. Plaintiff argues Defendant
West Contra Costa Unified School failed to identify certain
emails in its amended disclosures, and improperly refused to
respond to discovery requests. Id.
Motion Requesting Permission to File Motion to
Court's Standing Order re: Discovery prohibits parties
from filing motions to compel:
No motions to compel shall be considered. Instead,
the parties must meet and confer in person for the
purpose of resolving all disputes[.]
If the parties are unable to meet and confer as directed
above, or a moving party is unable to obtain the opposing
party's portion of a joint letter after the meet and
confer session, the moving party shall file a written request
for a telephonic conference for the purpose of enforcing the
Court's meet and confer requirement, or for the Court to
fashion an alternative procedure. The written request shall
include a declaration which state any attempt to meet and
confer and/or obtain the joint letter, the reasons for the
inability to comply with the standing order, and (if
possible) three dates and times during which all parties are
available for a telephonic conference. . . The Court will not
excuse a party from the requisite in-person meeting unless
good cause is shown.
See Standing Order re: Disc. ¶¶ 2-3
(emphasis in original).
represents he met and conferred with Defendant's counsel,
and that counsel refused to file a joint letter regarding the
discovery dispute. See Mot. Plaintiff does not
represent the parties met and conferred in person, and does
not “include a declaration which states any attempt to
meet and confer and/or obtain the joint letter, [or] the
reasons for the inability to comply with the standing
order.” Standing Order ¶ 3. Plaintiff does not
show good cause for being unable to meet and confer in
person. In fact, such good cause would be hard to show under
the circumstances. Based on the documents Plaintiff attaches
to his Motion, Plaintiff filed his Motion three days after
Defendant served its discovery responses. See Mot.
The meet and confer requirement is not a pro forma matter;
the parties must do so “in good faith to attempt to
resolve their disputes.” Standing Order ¶ 2.
Plaintiff's filing does not explain how the parties
“in good faith . . . attempt[ed] to resolve their
disputes” in those three days, and does not demonstrate
the parties reached an impasse. The Court and the parties
share the responsibility to resolve disputes in a
“just, speedy, and inexpensive” manner.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 1. By not first engaging in a meaningful
in-person meet and confer with Defendant, Plaintiff's
approach contravenes this goal.
dispute is not ripe for the Court, and Plaintiff's Motion
is DENIED without prejudice. The parties
MUST meet and confer in person regarding
this discovery dispute before filing a joint letter brief, or
must certify why they could not do so.
Guidance re: Discovery Requests
guide the parties' anticipated in-person meet and confer
discussions, the Court provides the following observations
regarding the discovery requests and responses Plaintiff
attached to his Motion:
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(A)(ii) requires parties to
disclose copies or descriptions of “all documents,
electronically stored information, and tangible things hat
the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or
control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless
the use would be solely for impeachment.”
Defendant's failure to produce the emails Plaintiff lists
does not “deceive” the Court; rather, it
indicates Defendant does not intend to rely on these
documents to support its claims or defenses, except for
impeachment purposes. If Defendant improperly attempts to rely
on the documents Plaintiff identifies for purposes other than
impeachment, only then may Plaintiff object on the ground
Defendant did not list the documents in its disclosures.
also identifies seven interrogatories he contends Defendant
failed to adequately answer. Mot. at 2. These correspond to
Special Interrogatories 7-13. See id. at ECF pp.
9-12. Defendant responded to Interrogatories 8 and 9, but
objects the remaining Interrogatories are vague, ambiguous,
unintelligible, assume facts not in evidence, lack
foundation, and are not full and complete in themselves.
Id. The Court agrees with Defendant that the
majority of the Interrogatories are difficult to understand,
and the meet and confer process will give Plaintiff the
opportunity to clarify his requests.
Plaintiff argues Defendant refuses to produce requested
documents. See Mot. at 1; see also ECF pp.
6-8 (Defendant's Responses to Requests for Production
(“RFPs”)). Plaintiff does not indicate the
particular requests for which Defendant has allegedly
withheld responsive documents. Defendant has not refused to
produce documents: in response to RFP Nos. 1 and 2, Defendant
indicates it already produced documents and
identifies specific Bates-numbered documents that are
responsive to the RFPs. Id. Defendant need not
produce documents that already have been produced. During the
meet and confer process, Plaintiff should explain the basis
for his belief that Defendant is withholding other responsive
documents. Defendant objects to RFP No. 3, which seeks
“[e]-mails indi[c]ating plaintiff the correct dates on
his letter of resignation form, hand[ed in] to him on
November 14, 2014.” ECF p. 8. Defendant objects that
the request is overbroad, vague, ambiguous, unintelligible,
assumes facts not in evidence, lacks foundation, and states
it cannot ...