United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER ON DISCOVERY DISPUTE NO. 1 [ECF NO.
Nita L. Stormes United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is plaintiff, Thomas Goolsby's
(“Plaintiff”) motion to compel further responses
from Defendant, the County of San Diego
(“Defendant”), to discovery he propounded. ECF
No. 107. The Court issued a briefing schedule and
ordered the parties to meet and confer, and then file a
notice of resolution or opposition to the motion if the
parties were unable to reach agreement. ECF No. 110. The
parties were able to resolve their disputes regarding
Requests for Production Nos. 34, 62, and 67. ECF No. 115.
Plaintiff submitted revised moving papers. ECF No. 114.
Defendant timely submitted its opposition to the requests
which remain in dispute: Interrogatory Nos. 3-9; Requests for
Admission Nos. 9-10; and Requests for Production Nos. 2-3,
5-12, 15, 20, 24, 26, 30-31, 33-34, 37-38, 42, 45-47, 56-57,
60-61, 63, 78-79, 81-87, and 95. ECF Nos. 116, 116-2. After
due consideration and for the reasons provided in this order,
the Court denies in part and grants in part
the motion to compel.
is a prisoner currently incarcerated at California State
Prison, Corcoran, who filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil
rights action, alleging violations of his constitutional
rights during his stay in San Diego County Jail. Following
motion practice, Plaintiff has 2 remaining claims: (1) a
Fourteenth Amendment claim against the County of San Diego
regarding placement in administrative segregation
(see ECF No. 97 at 6, 10), and (2) an Eighth
Amendment claim against the County based on lack of out of
cell exercise (see ECF No. 97 at 8, 10).
permits discovery of “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). Information need not be admissible to
be discoverable. Id. Once the propounding party
establishes that the request seeks relevant information,
“[t]he party who resists discovery has the burden to
show discovery should not be allowed, and has the burden of
clarifying, explaining, and supporting its objections.”
Superior Commc'ns v. Earhugger, Inc., 257 F.R.D.
215, 217 (C.D. Cal. 2009); see Blankenship v. Hearst
Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975) (requiring
defendants “to carry heavy burden of showing why
discovery was denied”).
2015 amendments to Rule 26(b)(1) emphasize the need to impose
‘reasonable limits on discovery through increased
reliance on the common-sense concept of
proportionality.'” Roberts v. Clark County Sch.
Dist., 312 F.R.D. 594, 603 (D. Nev. 2016). The
fundamental principle of amended Rule 26(b)(1) is “that
lawyers must size and shape their discovery requests to the
requisites of a case.” Id. Discovery and Rule
26 is intended to provide parties with “efficient
access to what is needed to prove a claim or defense, but
eliminate unnecessary or wasteful discovery.”
Id. This requires active involvement of federal
judges to make decisions regarding the scope of discovery.
Id. To the extent that the discovery sought is
“unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is
obtainable from some other source that is more convenient,
less burdensome, or less expensive, ” the court is
directed to limit the scope of the request. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(2). Limits should also be imposed where the burden or
expense outweighs the likely benefits. Id. How and
when to so limit discovery, or to “issue an order to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense, ” remains in
the court's discretion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1).
propounded discovery including nine Interrogatories, ten
Requests for Admissions (“RFA”), and 95 Requests
for Production of Documents (“RFP”). ECF No. 116
at 2. Following meet and confer efforts,
disputes remain for two RFAs, seven interrogatories, and 32
Requests for Admission
RFAs in dispute are similar, as are the arguments related to
them and so they are addressed together. Plaintiff's
RFA No. 9: Admit or deny you were aware Plaintiff was not
receiving Outside Out-of-Cell exercise while housed at San
Diego Central between December 12, 2016 and May 17, 2017.
RFA No. 10: Admit or deny you were aware Plaintiff was not
receiving Out-of-Cell exercise between February 7, 2017 and
May 17, 2017 while in San Diego County Sheriff's
represents that since the meet and confer, it has amended
responses to deny both RFAs completely, including
specifically denying any awareness, which was the focus of
Plaintiff's initial reason to compel further responses.
See ECF No. 116-2 at 2-3. A denial is a permissible
answer pursuant to Rule 36. Plaintiff's motion to compel
further responses is denied.
argues that Defendant failed to provide complete responses to
several interrogatories. ECF No. 107, 114. Defendant counters
that as phrased, the interrogatories assume facts and are
otherwise argumentative, but also states that Defendant has
provided amended responses that respond fully and render any
dispute moot. ECF No. 116 at 5.
No. 3 asks Defendant to “state why Plaintiff was not
allowed to personally appear or attend classification
hearings….” ECF No. 116-2 at 4. Defendant's
amended response states, inter alia, that the
“processes do not involve in person meetings, so
Plaintiff was not prohibited from personally
appearing.” Id. at 5. The supplemental
response appears to respond fully. Plaintiff's motion to
compel further response is denied.
Nos. 4 & 5
motion takes issue with Defendant's incorporation of
business records in response to Interrogatories 4 and 5.
Here, Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 4 asks Defendant to
“state every occasion plaintiff received out-of-cell
exercise” between certain dates, and Interrogatory No.
5 asks the same question specific to “outside
out-of-cell exercise.” ...