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Maric v. Alvarado

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 26, 2019

DENNIS MARIC, Plaintiff,
v.
ALVARADO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY AND FOR SANCTIONS (DOC. 135)

          SHEILA K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On January 23, 2012, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights suit against the County of Fresno and several law enforcement personnel for incidents that occurred during law enforcement's response to a domestic violence call. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on May 9, 2012 (Doc. 5), which, after having been screened (Docs. 6 & 7), remains the operative pleading in the case. The First Amended Complaint alleges federal and state law claims against defendants Fresno County Deputy Sheriffs Jon Alvarado (“Deputy Alvarado”), Todd Burk (“Deputy Burk”), John Robinson (“Deputy Robinson”), and Fernando Maldonado (“Deputy Maldonado”) (collectively “Defendants”). (See id.)

         On June 6, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion to Compel Discovery based on Plaintiff's failure to provide responses to Deputy Maldonado's outstanding discovery requests consisting of Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents (the “Motion”).[1] (Doc. 135.) Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the Motion.

         After having reviewed the motion and supporting documents, and in view of Plaintiff's failure to oppose, the Motion was deemed suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g), and the Court vacated the hearing set for June 26, 2019. (Doc. 137.) For the reasons set forth below, the Motion shall be granted.

         II.BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         On March 18, 2010, Mary Maric (“Ms. Maric”) called 911 and told the dispatcher that she did not wish for her husband, Plaintiff, to remain at their shared residence. (Doc. 5 at 3.) When Deputies Robinson, Alvarado, and Maldonado arrived at the Marics' home, Plaintiff answered the door. According to Plaintiff, when he answered the door he spoke to Defendants in a calm manner. (Id. at 4.) When Defendants repeatedly asked him to exit the apartment, he refused and kept stating that they were violating his constitutional rights. (Id. at 5.) After Plaintiff's repeated refusals to exit the apartment, Deputies Maldonado and Robinson entered the apartment, pushed Plaintiff against a wall, and then “pulled” him from his home. (Id.) Deputy Burk and Deputy Maldonado located and confiscated firearms from the home. (Id. at 6.)

         Outside, Plaintiff alleges that he was handcuffed, and Deputy Robinson grabbed Plaintiff's shoulders and leg-swept him to the ground, where he initially landed on his buttocks and then rolled over onto his side. (Id.) Plaintiff was charged with resisting arrest, domestic disturbance, criminal storage of a firearm, and child endangerment. (Id.) The charges were dismissed on December 16, 2010. (Id.)

         B. Procedural History

         On January 23, 2012, Plaintiff filed his Complaint (Doc. 1), which was dismissed with leave to amend (Doc. 4). Plaintiff then filed a First Amended Complaint on May 9, 2012. (Doc. 5) Following screening of the First Amended Complaint, the Court permitted Plaintiff to proceed on the following claims: (1) Fourth Amendment claims of violations of privacy and seizure against Deputy Alvarado, Deputy Maldonado, Deputy Robinson, and Deputy Burk, excessive force against Deputy Robinson, and malicious prosecution as against Deputy Maldonado and Deputy Robinson; (2) claims concerning violations of Article I, section 1 of the California Constitution as against Deputy Alvarado, Deputy Maldonado, Deputy Robinson and Deputy Burk; (3) state law assault and battery claims against Deputy Alvarado, Deputy Maldonado, and Deputy Robinson; (4) and state law false imprisonment claims against Deputy Alvarado, Deputy Maldonado, and Deputy Burk. (Docs. 6 & 7.)

         Plaintiff's claims of violations of privacy and seizure under both the Fourth Amendment and the California Constitution were dismissed on summary judgment on January 23, 2014. (Doc. 55.) Upon consent of the parties, the case was reassigned to the undersigned (Doc. 70), and Plaintiff's remaining causes of action were tried before a jury in April 2014. (Docs. 96 & 97.) The jury found for Defendants on these remaining claims (see Doc. 101), and judgment was entered April 18, 2014 (Doc. 104).

         Plaintiff appealed the motion for summary judgment on May 1, 2014. (Doc. 106.) On September 6, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Court's ruling on Defendants' motion for summary judgment on September 6, 2018. (Doc. 113.)

         The Court held a scheduling conference and issued a Scheduling Order on January 25, 2019. (Doc. 133.) Under the Scheduling Order, all non-expert discovery must be completed by July 11, 2019. (See id. at 3.)

         C. Background of Discovery Dispute

         On April 11, 2019, Plaintiff was served by mail with Deputy Maldonado's first set of Special Interrogatories (the “Special Interrogatories”) and first set of Request for Production of Documents (the “Request for Production”). (See Doc. 135-2, Declaration of Ashley N. Reyes in Support of Motion (“Reyes Decl.”), at ¶ 2 and Exs. 1 & 2.) The discovery requests were also emailed to Plaintiff that same day. (Id.) Plaintiff did not respond to these discovery requests by May 16, 2019, the deadline set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[2] (See id. ¶ 3.)

         Defense counsel sent Plaintiff a meet and confer letter via email and U.S. Mail requesting responses to the discovery requests by May 24, 2019. (See Reyes Decl. ¶ 5 and Ex. 3.) The letter advised Plaintiff that if “full and complete responses” were not received by that date, Defendants “will be forced to file a motion for an order compelling you to response” and that they would also ...


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