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Quezada v. Cate

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 21, 2018

ALVARO QUEZADA, Plaintiff,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (ECF NO. 87) THIRTY (30) DAY DEADLINE

          MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The action proceeds on Plaintiff's First Amendment free exercise and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claims against Defendants Smith and Carron. (ECF No. 75.)

         Before the Court is Defendants' motion to compel discovery. (ECF No. 87.) Plaintiff filed opposition. (ECF No. 88.) Defendants replied. (ECF No. 89.) The matter is deemed submitted. Local Rule 230(l).

         I. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that he was deprived of kosher meals while he was incarcerated at California State Prisoner - Corcoran (“CSP”). Plaintiff is a member of the House of Yahweh, a religious faith with beliefs similar to Judaism, and was given kosher meals for a time, but those meals were suspended on September 17, 2011. On September 22, 2011, Plaintiff's kosher meals were reinstated, but terminated again on October 13, 2011. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Carron and Smith allowed other non-Jewish inmates to be served kosher meals, but denied him these meals in violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

         II. Legal Standard

         The discovery process is subject to the overriding limitation of good faith. Asea, Inc. v. S. Pac. Transp. Co., 669 F.2d 1242, 1246 (9th Cir.1981). “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 at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id.

         Pursuant to Rule 37(a), a party propounding discovery may seek an order compelling disclosure when an opposing party has failed to respond or has provided evasive or incomplete responses. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). The failure to timely object to a discovery request may be deemed a waiver of the objection. Richmark Corp. v. Timber Falling Consultants, 959 F.2d 1468, 1473 (9th Cir. 1992).

         Generally, if the responding party objects to a discovery request, the party moving to compel bears the burden of demonstrating why the objections are not justified. E.g., Grabek v. Dickinson, No. CIV S-10-2892 GGH P., 2012 WL 113799, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2012); Ellis v. Cambra, No. 1:02-cv-05646-AWI-SMS (PC), 2008 WL 860523, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008). This requires the moving party to inform the Court which discovery requests are the subject of the motion to compel, and, for each disputed response, why the information sought is relevant and why the responding party's objections are not meritorious. Grabek, 2012 WL 113799, at *1; Womack v. Virga, No. CIV S-11-1030 MCE EFB P., 2011 WL 6703958, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 21, 2011).

         III. Motion to Compel

         On August 25, 2017, Defendant Smith served a first set of interrogatories on Plaintiff, who timely filed responses and objections. On November 1, 2017, Defense counsel wrote to Plaintiff outlining alleged deficiencies in his responses and requesting supplemental responses. Plaintiff replied by reiterating his responses, indicating he had responded fully, and declining to provide any additional information.

         Defendants now move to compel Plaintiff's further responses to Interrogatories Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 6, on the grounds that the responses were evasive and essentially non-responsive in that they refer to or incorporate other documents, including the operative complaint, rather than providing the requested information, and they argue that if Plaintiff references documents, he must precisely indicate the location of the information requested. (ECF No. 87 at 5.)

         A. Interrogatories 1, 3, 4, 6

         Interrogatory ...


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