United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF BRYAN PEASE'S
OBJECTIONS TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S DISCOVERY ORDERS [ECF
NO. 108, 109]
CYNTHIA BASHANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Judge Stormes denied Plaintiff Bryan Pease's first motion
for discovery from the County Defendants (ECF No. 103), and
granted in part and denied in part Pease's second motion
for discovery from the City Defendants, (ECF No.
104). Pease objects to both rulings in noticed
motions. (ECF Nos. 108, 109). The motions are suitable for
determination on the papers submitted without oral argument.
See Civ. L.R. 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons herein, the
Court overrules both Objections and affirms the corresponding
denials of Pease's motions for discovery.
6, 2017, ten plaintiffs filed a Complaint against the County
and City of San Diego, along with various officers, claiming
Defendants wrongfully arrested them during a protest in
connection with a rally for then presidential candidate
Donald Trump. (ECF No. 1.) According to the operative Complaint,
San Diego City Police Chief Zimmerman wrongfully declared the
assembly unlawful after “minor scuffles, ” and,
as a result, Plaintiffs were denied their right to peacefully
assemble and were subject to false imprisonment and assault
and battery. These original Plaintiffs are represented by
attorney Bryan Pease, who also apparently attended this
protest. The initial discovery order required that discovery
be completed by June 1, 2018. (ECF No. 18 ¶ 5.)
29, 2018, Bryan Pease filed his own separate complaint
alleging wrongful arrest based on the same material factual
allegations set forth in the original case. (Pease v. San
Diego County Sheriff William Gore, No.
18-cv-1062-BAS-NLS, ECF No. 1 (S.D. Cal. May 29, 2018)
[hereinafter “Pease, No. 18-cv-1062”]).
Pease claims he was arrested in a different location and was
not an actual witness to the original Plaintiffs' arrest.
(Pease, No. 18-cv-1062, ECF No. 24.) But Pease's
claims are identical to those of the original Plaintiffs.
moved to consolidate the two cases, expressing concern that
separate cases would duplicate efforts, particularly in
discovery. (ECF No. 54.) The Court terminated Defendants'
motion and, instead, ordered Plaintiffs to show cause why the
cases should not be consolidated. (ECF No. 55.) Plaintiffs
opposed consolidation “at least for purposes of trial,
” primarily arguing that consolidation could result in
Bryan Pease being conflicted from representing the original
Plaintiffs at trial. (Pease, No. 18-cv-1062, ECF No.
24.) With respect to the concern about discovery duplication,
Pease represented that he did not intend to duplicate
“and can combine the discovery in the two cases.”
(Id.) As Pease stated, “consolidation is not
required to avoid duplicative discovery. Evidence and
discovery produced in one lawsuit can be used in subsequent
litigation as long as it is relevant.” (Id.)
Court consolidated the two cases, at least for discovery and
pretrial purposes, reserving the issue of whether separate
trials might prove necessary. (ECF No. 68.) On January 11,
2019, the Magistrate Judge held a new case management
conference to establish a consolidated schedule and concluded
“[f]act discovery in the lead case closed on November
30, 2018, after the parties requested and were granted, two
separate extensions of time to complete fact
discovery.” (ECF No. 74 ¶ 2.) The Magistrate Judge
concluded that fact discovery in the original case remains
closed, but that “[f]act discovery limited to Plaintiff
Pease's claims shall be completed by April 19,
2019.” (Id. ¶ 3.)
the issuance of the consolidated scheduling order, Pease
sought his own discovery. And after some three months, Pease
filed his motions to compel certain discovery. (ECF Nos. 91,
100.) He has filed two objections to the Magistrate
Judge's denial of these motions. (ECF Nos. 108, 109.)
Pease raises three objections to the Magistrate Judge's
ruling: (1) Pease should be allowed to completely reopen
discovery, even if the general topics of his discovery
concern the same topics relevant to the original
Plaintiffs' claims; (2) Defendants should respond to his
Requests for Admission concerning any widespread violence
occurring at the time of his arrest, even if the reason for
the arrest was an earlier declaration that the assembly was
unlawful; and (3) Pease should be allowed to depose San Diego
County Sheriff William Gore.
district court may reconsider any non-dispositive pretrial
ruling of the magistrate judge “where it has been shown
that the magistrate judge's order is clearly erroneous or
contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72; Bhan v. NME Hospitals,
Inc., 929 F.2d 1404, 1414 (9th Cir. 1991) (magistrate
judge's decision on a non-dispositive issue is reviewed
by the district court for clear error); Brighton
Collectibles, Inc. v. Marc Chantal USA, Inc., No.
06-cv-1584 H(POR), 2008 WL 753956, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 18,
2008) (“The ‘clearly erroneous' standard
applies to the magistrate judge's factual determinations
and discretionary decisions [citation omitted] including
rulings on discovery disputes where the magistrate judge is
afforded broad discretion. [citation omitted].”).
Discovery issues are generally non-dispositive.
Maisonville v. F2 America, Inc., 902 F.2d 746, 748
(9th Cir. 1996).
courts have broad discretion to determine relevancy for
discovery purposes. Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732,
751 (9th Cir. 2002). The history of discovery and consequent
amendments to Rule 26 is one of encouraging the courts to
impose “‘reasonable limits on discovery through
increased reliance on the common sense concept of
proportionality.'” Roberts v. Clark Cty. Sch.
Dist., 312 F.R.D. 594, 603 (D. Nev. 2016) (quoting Court
Rules, 192 F.R.D. 340, 390). “In deciding whether to
restrict discovery under Rule 26(b)(2)(C) the court should
consider the totality of the circumstances, weighing the
value of the material sought against the burden of providing
it, and taking into account society's interest in
furthering the truth-seeking function in the particular case
before the court.” Id. at 602 (quotations
omitted). Accordingly, if the burden or expense of the
proposed discovery outweighs the likely benefit, a district
court may set limits on the discovery. Cascade Yarns,
Inc. v. Knitting Fever, Inc., 755 F.3d 55, 59 (1st Cir.
district court is vested with ‘broad discretion to make
discovery and evidentiary rulings conducive to the conduct of
a fair and orderly trial.'” Amarel v.
Connell, 102 F.3d 1494, 1515 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting
Campbell Industries v. M/V Gemini, 619 F.2d 24, 27
(9th Cir. 1980)). Courts “routinely reject attempts to
end-run around discovery deadlines.” Cruz v. United
States, No. 14-cv-2956-LAB (DHB), 2016 WL 727066, at *2
(S.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2016); see also Bird v. PSC Holdings,
LLC, No. 12-cv-1528 W (NLS), 2013 WL 1120659, at *1
(S.D. Cal. Mar. 18, 2013) (“[A]ny discovery demands
which are substantially similar to previous demands will not
re-start the clock for filing a discovery motion.”).
Attempt to ...