United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE
ORDER (ECF NO. 38) ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
EXTENSION OF TIME TO OPPOSE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
PROTECTIVE ORDER AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NOS.
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Billy Cochran is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
This case proceeds on Plaintiff's first amended complaint
against Defendants S. Sherman and J. Barba, officials
employed at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State
Prison, Corcoran (“SATF”) for the violation of
his First Amendment rights based upon the denial of his name
change for religious purposes. This matter was referred to a
United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.
before the Court is Defendants' motion for a protective
order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c),
filed on May 22, 2017. (ECF No. 38.) Defendants seek to stay
all discovery in this matter, including discovery that has
already been propounded, except that pertaining to the
subject of the exhaustion issues. Defendants propose that the
stay be lifted upon a determination of their pending motion
for summary judgment for the failure to exhaust
administrative remedies, also filed on May 22, 2017. (ECF No.
5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for an extension of time to
oppose both Defendants' motion for protective order and
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff only
substantively addressed the motion for summary judgment,
stating that additional time would be needed to finish
preparing the opposition to that motion, and to have the
opposition copied. (ECF No. 40.)
thereafter, on June 9, 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposition to
the motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 41.) The opposition
brief, statements of fact, and exhibits consist of 800 pages
total. Thus, Plaintiff's request for an extension of time
to file an opposition to the motion for summary judgment is
moot, and that request is denied.
Court also denies Plaintiff's request to the extent he
intends to submit a response to the motion for a protective
order, as no grounds for the request were given. Thus,
Defendants' motion for a protective order is submitted,
without oral argument. Local Rule 230(1).
Motion for Protective Order
seek a protective order staying all discovery except for that
pertaining to the subject of Plaintiff's exhaustion of
administrative remedies. Defendants assert that their motion
for summary judgement will resolve the case in its entirety,
if successful. Defendants assert that the parties'
resources and judicial economy are best served by avoiding
responses to excessive discovery requests that may prove moot
depending on the outcome of their motion. Further, going
forward, the parties will be able to preserve limited
interrogatories only to those claims which survive the
motion, if any.
Court is vested with broad discretion to manage discovery.
Dichter-Mad Family Partners, LLP v. U.S., 709 F.3d
749, 751 (9th Cir. 2013) (per curiam); Hunt v. Cnty. of
Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012); Surfvivor
Media, Inc. v. Survivor Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th
Cir. 2005); Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751
(9th Cir. 2002).
to Rule 26(c)(1), the Court may, for good cause, issue a
protective order forbidding or limiting discovery. The
avoidance of undue burden or expense is grounds for the
issuance of a protective order, Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), and a
stay of discovery pending resolution of potentially
dispositive issues furthers the goal of efficiency for the
courts and the litigants, Little v. City of Seattle,
863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988) (stay of discovery pending
resolution of immunity issue). The propriety of delaying
discovery on the merits of the plaintiff's claims pending
resolution of an exhaustion motion was explicitly recognized
by the Ninth Circuit. Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162,
1170-71 (9th Cir. 2014) (en banc), cert.
denied, 135 S.Ct. 403 (2014); see also Gibbs v.
Carson, No. C-13-0860 THE (PR), 2014 WL 172187, at *2-3
(N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2014). The failure to exhaust is an
affirmative defense, and Defendants are entitled to move for
judgment on the issue. Albino, 747 F.3d at 1166.
the Court finds that Defendants have met the burden of
showing good cause to stay all non-exhaustion related
discovery in this case. As Defendants argue, proceeding with
discovery that is not related to their potentially
dispositive motion will result in unnecessary motion
practice, litigation costs, and a waste of judicial
resources. Furthermore, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment is fully-briefed, and the Court intends to address
the motion shortly, such that a ruling should occur in a
reasonable time. If Defendants' motion does not resolve
this case, Plaintiff will not be prejudiced by a modest delay
in proceeding with non-exhaustion related discovery under the
circumstances, and discovery and other scheduling deadlines
may be set to ensure this matter proceeds to resolution in a
Conclusion and Order
it is HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendant's motion for a protective order staying all
non-exhaustion related discovery, filed May ...