United States District Court, E.D. California
KASEY F. HOFFMAN, Plaintiff,
LASSEN COUNTY, et al, Defendants.
DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
with a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff alleges defendants interfered with his right to
marry. Before the court is plaintiff's motion to compel
discovery responses. For the reasons set forth below,
plaintiff's motion will be granted in part and denied in
case is proceeding on plaintiff's original complaint
filed here on June 30, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) Therein, plaintiff
alleges defendants Lassen County and Julie Bustamante denied
his request for a marriage license when he was incarcerated
at the Lassen Adult Detention Facility. Plaintiff provides a
copy of a letter from the Office of the Lassen County
Clerk-Recorder stating that “[w]hen purchasing a
marriage license in Lassen County, both parties must be
physically present to sign the marriage license in our
office.” (ECF No. 1 at 4.)
November 14, 2016, defendants answered the complaint. (ECF
No. 28.) On November 21, the court issued a Discovery and
Scheduling Order setting a deadline of March 10, 2017 for
discovery and June 2, 2017 for pretrial motions. (ECF No.
March 13, 2017, plaintiff filed the present motion to compel.
(ECF No. 31.) Defendants oppose the motion (ECF No. 33) and
plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 35).
March 20, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment
(ECF No. 32) and on April 28, defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 36). Plaintiff seeks an extension
of time to respond to defendants' motion. (ECF No. 40.)
moves to compel defendants to respond to the following
discovery: first request for production of documents, second
request for production of documents, second set of
interrogatories, and deposition questions. In addition,
plaintiff seeks sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 37(a)(4). (See ECF No. 31 at 2.) Plaintiff
contends defendants improperly objected to the first request
for production of documents, provided no list of privileged
documents, and responded too late. Plaintiff further contends
defendants failed to respond at all to his deposition
questions or to his second set of requests for production and
interrogatories. Defendants oppose plaintiff's motion.
They argue most of the discovery was propounded too late,
plaintiff's motion is untimely, and plaintiff's
motion is meritless.
Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “a
party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an
answer, designation, production, or inspection.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). The court may order a party to
provide further responses to an “evasive or incomplete
disclosure, answer, or response.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(4). “District courts have ‘broad discretion
to manage discovery and to control the course of litigation
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.'”
Hunt v. County of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th
Cir. 2012) (quoting Avila v. Willits Envtl. Remediation
Trust, 633 F.3d 828, 833 (9th Cir. 2011)).
party moving to compel bears the burden of informing the
court (1) which discovery requests are the subject of the
motion to compel, (2) which of the responses are disputed,
(3) why the party believes the response is deficient, (4) why
any objections are not justified, and (5) why the information
sought through discovery is relevant to the prosecution of
this action. McCoy v. Ramirez, No. 1:13-cv-1808-MJS
(PC), 2016 WL 3196738, at *1 (E.D. Cal. June 9, 2016);
Ellis v. Cambra, No. 1:02-cv-5646-AWI-SMS PC, 2008
WL 860523, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008).
purpose of discovery is to “remove surprise from trial
preparation so the parties can obtain evidence necessary to
evaluate and resolve their dispute.” United States
v. Chapman Univ., 245 F.R.D. 646, 648 (C.D. Cal. 2007)
(quotation and citation omitted). Rule 26(b)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure offers guidance on the scope
of discovery permitted:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
information 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. Information within this scope
of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
for purposes of discovery is defined very broadly.”
Garneau v. City of Seattle, 147 F.3d 802, 812 (9th
Cir. 1998). “The party seeking to compel discovery has
the burden of establishing that its request satisfies the
relevancy requirements of Rule 26(b)(1). Thereafter, the
party opposing discovery has the burden of showing that the
discovery should be prohibited, and the burden of clarifying,
explaining or supporting its objections.” Bryant v.
Ochoa, No. 07cv200 JM (PCL), 2009 WL 1390794, at *1
(S.D. Cal. May 14, 2009) (internal citation omitted).
Analysis of ...