United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL (DOC.
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action, the plaintiffs contend that the defendants caused the
death of Jose Vilorio through the use of excessive force.
(Doc. 15 at 5 -14) On October 31, 2017, the defendants
propounded written discovery, including interrogatories and
requests for production, to the plaintiffs. (Doc. 18-2 at 2)
The plaintiffs have failed to respond. Id. at 2-3.
Because the discovery sought is relevant to the action, the
Court GRANTS the motion.
Scope of Discovery
scope and limitations of discovery are set forth by the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In relevant part, Rule
Unless otherwise limited by court order, parties may obtain
discovery regarding any nonprivileged manner that is relevant
to any party's claim or defense - including the
existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and
location of any documents or other tangible things . . . For
good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter
relevant to the subject matter involved in the accident.
Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if
the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of admissible evidence.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b). Relevant evidence is defined as
“evidence having any tendency to make the existence of
any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the
action more probable or less probable than it would be
without the evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. Relevancy is
interpreted “broadly to encompass any matter that bears
on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could
bear on any issue that is or may be in the case.”
Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351
may propound interrogatories relating to any matter that may
be inquired to under Rule 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a). A
responding party is obligated to respond to the fullest
extent possible, and any objections must be stated with
specificity. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3)-(4). In general, a
responding party is not required “to conduct extensive
research in order to answer an interrogatory, but a
reasonable effort to respond must be made.” Haney
v. Saldana, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93447, at *9 (E.D.
Cal. Aug. 24, 2010) (citing L.H. v. Schwarzenegger,
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73753 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 21, 2007)).
Further, the responding party must supplement a response if
the information sought is later obtained or the previous
response requires a correction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(e)(1)(A).
the defendants propounded the same set of interrogatories to
each of the plaintiffs, though the interrogatories sought
information that was unique to each defendant. (Doc. 18-2 at
9-122) The interrogatories request information about the
claims brought by the plaintiffs and their damages. The
information sought is relevant and, given the failure of any
plaintiff to object, the Court presumes that the
defendants' interrogatories are proper. Thus, the motion
Requests for Production
may request documents “in the responding party's
possession, custody, or control.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
34(a)(1). Similarly, a party may serve a request “to
permit entry onto designated land or other property possessed
or controlled by the responding party, so that the requesting
party may inspect, measure, survey, photograph, test, or
sample the property . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(2). A
request is adequate if it describes items with
“reasonable particularity;” specifies a
reasonable time, place, and manner for the inspection; and
specifies the form or forms in which electronic information
can be produced. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b). Thus, a request is
sufficiently clear if it “places the party upon
‘reasonable notice of what is called for and what is
not.'” Kidwiler v. Progressive Paloverde Ins.
Co., 192 F.R.D. 193, 202 (N.D. W.Va. 2000) (quoting
Parsons v. Jefferson-Pilot Corp., 141 F.R.D. 408,
412 (M.D. N.C. 1992)); see also Schwarzer, Tashima
& Wagstaffe, California Practice Guide: Federal Civil
Procedure before Trial (Rev. #1 2011) Discovery, para.
11:1886 (“the apparent test is whether a respondent of
average intelligence would know what items to
responding party must respond in writing and is obliged to
produce all specified relevant and non-privileged documents,
tangible things, or electronically stored information in its
“possession, custody, or control” on the date
specified. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a). Actual possession, custody or
control is not required. “A party may be ordered to
produce a document in the possession of a non-party entity if
that party has a legal right to obtain the document or has
control over the entity who is in possession of the
document.” Soto v. City of Concord, 162 F.R.D.
603, 620 (N.D. Cal. 1995). Such documents include documents
under the control of the party's attorney. Meeks v.
Parson, 2009 WL 3303718 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2009)
(involving a subpoena to the CDCR); Axler v. Scientific
Ecology Group, Inc., 196 F.R.D. 210, 212 (D. Mass. 2000)
(a “party must produce otherwise discoverable documents
that are in his attorneys' possession, custody or
alternative, a party may state an objection to a request,
including the reasons. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(A)-(B). When a
party resists discovery, he “has the burden to show
that discovery should not be allowed, and has the burden of
clarifying, explaining, and supporting its objections.”
Oakes v. Halvorsen Marine Ltd., 189 F.R.D 281, 283
(C.D. Cal. 1998) (citing Nestle Food Corp. v. Aetna Cas.
& Sur. Co., 135 F.R.D. 101, 104 (D.N.J. 1990)).
Boilerplate objections to a request for a production are not
sufficient. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry. v.
United States Dist. Court, 408 F.3d 1142, 1149 (9th Cir.
party “fails to respond that inspection will be
permitted - or fails to permit inspection - as requested
under Rule 34, ” the propounding party may make a
motion to compel production of the documents. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(3)(B)(iv). Further, “an 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).
“The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating
‘actual and substantial prejudice' from the denial