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Rangel v. Chino Valley Unified School District

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 5, 2017

Jasmin Rangel, et al.
v.
Chino Valley Unified School District, et al.

          Present: Honorable KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

         Proceedings: Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion to Compel [Dkt. 84]

         On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff Jasmin Rangel filed a Motion to Compel seeking production of documents allegedly responsive to Request for Production Nos. 6 and 8 that were withheld by Defendant Chino Valley Unified School District (“Motion to Compel”). ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 84. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 22, 2015, Plaintiffs Jasmin Rangel, Luis Rodriguez, I.R., a minor by and through his guardians ad litem Jasmin Rangel and Luis Rodriguez, Dominique Dixon, and S.I., a minor by and through his guardian ad litem Dominique Dixon (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a Complaint against Defendants Chino Valley Unified School District (the “District”), teacher's aide Haymattie Mohamed, teacher Adrienne Smith, principal Luke Hackney, and Superintendent of the District Wayne Joseph (collectively, “Defendants”) alleging I.R. and S.I. were physically and verbally abused by their teachers at Country Springs Elementary School on December 6, 2013 and June 2, 2014. Dkt. 1, Compl.

         On February 24, 2016, Plaintiff served Requests for Production of Documents, Set One, on the District. Dkt. 84-6, Declaration of Anne McWilliams (“McWilliams Decl.”), ¶ 7, Ex. 5. On April 11, 2016, the District served responses to Plaintiff Rangel's Requests for Production. Id. ¶ 7. On January 17, 2017, the District served supplemental responses to the Requests for Production and produced further documents. Id. at Ex. 4. Defendant withheld fourteen pages from production and produced a “privilege log” describing the documents. Id. ¶ 13; Dkt. 84-1, Declaration of Zoya Yarnykh (“Yarnykh Decl.”), ¶ 2, Ex. A. In an email to Plaintiffs' counsel accompanying the January 17, 2017 production, Defendants' counsel explained the documents were withheld because “they encompass matters unrelated to either of the two incidents alleged by Plaintiffs and cover a time that is more than 6 years before the single incidents involving Minor I.R. and Minor S.I.” McWilliams Decl., ¶ 15.

         On May 3, 2017, Plaintiffs' counsel sent Defendants' counsel a letter requesting to meet and confer regarding alleged deficiencies in the District's responses to the Requests for Production. Id. at Ex. 6. On May 11, 2017, Defendants' counsel responded to Plaintiffs' counsel's May 3, 2017 letter objecting to production of the documents because the Requests for Production seek documents encompassing a time period beginning six years before the incident with I.R. and continuing until three years after the incident. Id. at Ex. 7. On May 19, 2017, counsel met and conferred telephonically. Id. ¶¶ 18-19.

         On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff Rangel filed the instant Motion to Compel and Joint Stipulation pursuant to Local Rule 37-2. Dkt. 84. On June 19, 2017, Plaintiff Rangel filed a supplemental brief in support of the Motion to Compel. Dkts. 85, 86. The matter thus stands submitted.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) provides that parties may obtain discovery regarding:

any nonprivileged matter 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.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information “need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id. A court “must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed” if “(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C). Therefore, “[r]elevancy alone is no longer sufficient to obtain discovery, the discovery requested must also be proportional to the needs of the case.” Centeno v. City of Fresno, No. 1:16-CV-653 DAD SAB, 2016 WL 7491634, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 29, 2016) (citing In re Bard IVC Filters Prod. Liab. Litig., 317 F.R.D. 562, 564 (D. Ariz. 2016)).

         A response to Requests for Production “must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state with specificity the grounds for objecting to the request, including the reasons.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(B). “A party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer, . . . production, or inspection.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iii), (iv). “[A]n evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must be treated as a failure to disclose, answer or respond.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4).

         III. ...


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