United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL
DISCOVERY [DOC. NO. 43]; EX PARTE APPLICATION TO DEPOSE
DEFENDANTS [DOC. NO. 49]; & MOTION TO PROCEED THE IMPASSE
ON ALL DISCOVERY ISSUES [DOC. NO. 61]
HONORABLE JAN M. ADLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending before the Court are three discovery related motions
filed by Plaintiff Ruben Gil, who is proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court will
address each in turn.
who was incarcerated and housed at R.J. Donovan Correctional
Facility (“Donovan”) when he initiated this
lawsuit, alleges when he was transferred to Donovan he
informed Defendant Captain Sanchez and Defendant Lieutenant
Williams that he had experienced assaults by “Security
Threat Groups” since 2013, including a recent assault
in his cell at the “other
institution.” [Doc. No. 1, p. 3 of 8.] He alleges that
despite knowing Plaintiff is at ongoing risk of harm by
members of the “Security Threat Groups, ”
Defendant Sanchez assigned Plaintiff “cellies”
that are members of these groups, creating serious risk to
Plaintiff's life. [Id.] Defendant Williams is
alleged to be aware of, but indifferent to, Plaintiff's
situation. [Id., p. 2 of 8.]
to Compel [Doc. No. 43]
is entitled to seek discovery of any non-privileged matter
that is relevant to his claims and proportional to the needs
of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The discovery may include
information that is not admissible. Id. When a party
objects to a discovery request, it is the burden of the party
moving to compel to demonstrate why the objection is not
justified. See Lemons v. Camarillo, 2017 WL 4700074,
at *1 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 18, 2017; Glass v. Beer, 2007
WL 913876, at *1 (E.D. Cal Mar. 23, 2007).
moving party, Plaintiff bears the burden of informing the
Court which discovery requests are the subject of his motion
to compel and, for each disputed response, why the
information sought is relevant and why Defendants'
objections are not justified. Id.; see also
Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002).
Plaintiff contends the responses and documents produced by
Defendants in response to his first set of interrogatories,
requests for admission and document requests are
insufficient. [Doc. No. 43.] He generally takes issue
with Defendants asserting objections in their discovery
responses, without explaining why any of Defendants'
objections are without merit.
seeks to compel Defendants to produce documents or
information about his transfers between institutions,
including his transfer to a “higher institution 180
with violent offenders after Plaintiff was being assaulted
constantly.” [Doc. No. 43, p. 9 of 45.] Defendants have
produced the classification chrono and transfer chrono that
directed Plaintiff's transfer to Donovan. [Doc. No. 55,
p. 40 of 48, Defendant's Responses to Requests for
Production of Documents, Request No. 1.] To the extent
Plaintiff seeks information about his transfers to
institutions other than Donovan, this information is neither
relevant to the claims made in this case, nor proportional to
the needs of the case.
also seeks to compel Defendants to produce photographs of
tattoos of Plaintiff's prior cellies Estrada, Monroy, and
Reza, as well as their general chronos (128G) “so
Plaintiff can prove the evil intention in Defendants
segregating Plaintiff with security threat groups.”
[Id. at p. 2 of 45; Doc. No. 55, p. 42-73 of 48,
Request No. 5 & 6.] Production of other inmates'
general chronos and personal information implicates these
third-parties' privacy rights, as well as safety and
security concerns. Furthermore, none of these individuals had
security-threat status when they were celled with Plaintiff.
[Doc. No. 11-1, Declaration of Lt. Williams, ¶ 13.]
Thus, given the third-party privacy concerns and security and
safety issues raised by these requests, the importance of the
issues at stake, and the importance of the discovery in
resolving the issues, this discovery is not proportional to
the needs of the case.
Plaintiff seeks to compel production of the “last names
of staff and positions in all the institutions Plaintiff got
assaulted.” [Id. at p. 5 of 45; Doc. No. 55,
p. 28 of 48, Interrogatory No. 3]. Plaintiff's claims
arise from Defendants Sanchez and Williams' handling of
his cell assignments at Donovan. He does not allege he was
assaulted at Donovan and Defendant has also denied that any
assaults occurred at Donovan. [Doc. No. 55, p. 19 of 48,
Defendants' Response to Request for Admission No. 4.]
Furthermore, Defendants have produced incident reports for
the five physical altercations in which Plaintiff was
involved in the past four years (none of which was at
Donovan). The names and positions of every staff member
employed at prisons other than Donovan are, thus, not
relevant to Plaintiff's claims or any defense, and are
not proportional to the needs of the case. Based on the
foregoing, Plaintiff's motion to compel is DENIED.
Parte Application to Depose Defendants [Doc. No.
ex parte application, Plaintiff seeks leave to depose
Defendants and to take more than ten
depositions. [Doc. No. 49] Plaintiff argues that, in
addition to Defendants, he needs to depose the wardens and
multiple staff members at each institution where he was
assaulted, regarding the treatment he received at those other
institutions. [Id. at 2-3 of 39.] He also asks the
Court to appoint a deposition officer for Plaintiff's
depositions, order service of Plaintiff's deposition
notices by publication, and order a stenographer to schedule
the depositions. [Id. at p. 4 of 39.]
has not shown good cause to compel the depositions of
Defendants or conduct more than ten depositions. Defendants
Williams and Sanchez have not received notices of deposition,
as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b), but represent that if
notice is timely served, and if the notices comply with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, they will appear for
deposition. [Doc. No. 58, p. 2 of 3.] Plaintiff has
not shown why Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(2)(A)(i)'s ten
deposition limit is inadequate for the needs of his case.
Although he says he intends to depose wardens and staff
members of other prisons regarding his treatment at those
institutions, it is unclear how any such testimony would help
him prove his case against Defendants Williams and
with respect to Plaintiff's request the Court appoint
others to assist with scheduling and taking any depositions,
it is not the role of the Court to conduct discovery on a
party's behalf. If Plaintiff seeks to conduct a
deposition he will be responsible for arranging the presence
of an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of
the United States, as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 28(a), and a
means of recording the testimony either by sound,
sound-and-visual, or stenographic means. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
30(b)(3). Plaintiff will also be responsible for these and
any other costs related to any deposition(s) he takes.
See Tedder v. Odel, 890 F.2d 210, ...