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Hazeltine v. Hicks

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 8, 2017

RICK HAZELTINE, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANCES HICKS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO COMPEL AS MOOT (ECF NOS. 71, 74.)

          GARY S. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Rick Hazeltine (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case now proceeds with Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint filed on July 6, 2015, on the following claim: Excessive force in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment against defendants Ian Young, Benjamin Gamez, Rashaun Casper, Julius Oldan, Porfirio Sanchez Negrete, David Avilia, Rickey Smith, and Charles Ho (collectively “Defendants”). (ECF No. 27.)

         On July 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a [first] motion to compel the production of documents.[1] (ECF No. 71.) On August 25, 2017, Defendants filed a response to the [first] motion to compel. (ECF No. 73.) On October 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed objections to Defendants' service of documents and a second motion to compel. (ECF No. 74.) On October 31, 2017, Defendants filed an opposition to Plaintiff's objections and second motion to compel. (ECF No. 75.)

         Plaintiff's motions to compel are now before the court.

         II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b). “Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Id. A party may propound requests for production of documents that are within the scope of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a).

         Under 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)).

         Plaintiff is entitled to leniency as a pro se litigant; therefore, to the extent possible, the Court endeavors to resolve Plaintiff's motion to compel on its merits. Hunt, 672 F.3d at 616; Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor Productions, 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005); Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002.)

         III. FIRST MOTION TO COMPEL (ECF No. 71.)

         Plaintiff's first motion to compel seeks to compel Defendants to produce twelve items and related work product: (1) Plaintiff's medical records held by Defendants' employer from January 1, 2006, to the present; (2) Office of Special Investigations report for case #13091383; (3) Unit #9 video recording of the September 2, 2013, incident; (4) Photographs taken in connection with the September 2, 2013, incident; (5) Coalinga State Hospital Special Incident Report dated December 5, 2013; (6) California's Department of Public Health Licensing Reportable Event Report dated September 5, 2013; (7) Coalinga State Hospital's Incident Review Committee Synopsis dated November 18, 2013; (8) SSU-9 Referral Assessment pages 1-11 dated August 16, 2013; (9) SOC 341 #13091383 abuse complaint arising out of the September 2, 2013, incident; (10) Patient's rights complaints, SOC 341 complaints filed against any and all named defendants spanning their entire employ at Coalinga State Hospital; (11) Psychiatric Technician schooling records such as grades, performances, attendance, etc.; (12) Criminal histories on all named defendants.

         Plaintiff asserts that he has requested these records numerous times from Defendants --by phone, in person, and in writing -- but all of his requests have gone unanswered.

         Defense counsel, California Deputy Attorney General (DAG) James C. Phillips (“Phillips”), responds that this case was reassigned to him on August 9, 2017, and the DAG who was formerly assigned to this case left the office on August 11, 2017. (Phillips Decl., ECF No. 75 ¶3.) Phillips contends that Plaintiff's motion to compel is based on a previously untimely served request for production of documents that Plaintiff failed to re-serve when the court's scheduling order was modified on May 25, 2016. (Id. ¶¶7, 8.) Phillips attests that the DAG formerly assigned to this case did not file a response to the previous untimely motion to compel. Newly appointed defense counsel Phillips expresses willingness to provide documents responsive to Plaintiff's present motion to compel, with limitations, notwithstanding that none of the documents requested are in the custody or control of any named Defendants.

         IV. OBJECTIONS AND SECOND MOTION TO ...


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