United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY RESPONSES
AND GRANTING IN PART REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS (DOC. 89)
K. OBERTO. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
30, 2019, Defendants Leticia Monique Avalos and Fausto Avalos
(“Defendants”) filed a motion to compel Plaintiff
Terry Renee McClure (“McClure”) to respond to
discovery requests. (Doc. 89.) Defendants' motion is
based on McClure's complete and total failure to respond
to discovery requests served on May 3, 2019. (Id. at
2.) McClure filed an untimelyresponse in opposition to
Defendants' request for sanctions on August 10, 2019.
(Doc. 92.) Defendants filed a reply brief on August 12, 2019.
having reviewed the motion and supporting documents, the
matter was deemed suitable for decision without oral
argument, and the Court vacated the hearing set for August
14, 2019. (Doc. 91.) For the reasons set forth below,
Defendants' motion to compel is GRANTED and the request
for appropriate sanctions is GRANTED IN PART.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
February 1, 2018, McClure filed a complaint against
Defendants Prisoner Transportation Services of America, LLC,
Cleveland Robert Wheeler, Leticia Monique Avalos, and Fausto
Avalos, alleging causes of action for negligence, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and civil rights violations
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) The allegations of the
complaint are related to a car accident that occurred on July
8, 2016, involving a van operated by Prison Transportation
Services of America, LLC and driven by Cleveland Robert
Wheeler, and a car driven by Leticia Avalos and owned by
Fausto Avalos. (Id. at 2-9.) McClure was a passenger
in the van operated by Prison Transportation Services of
America, LLC, at the time of the accident. (Id. at
2-3.) McClure seeks special damages, general damages,
punitive damages, and attorney's fees. (Id. at
22-23.) On January 9, 2019, a Second Amended Complaint was
filed, adding Plaintiff Dustin Hubbard as a party. (Doc. 65.)
On May 22, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.
Court held a scheduling conference on January 17, 2019, and
entered its Scheduling Order on January 18, 2019.
(See Doc. 67.) The Scheduling Order set the
non-expert discovery deadline for November 15, 2019, the
non-dispositive motions deadline for January 17, 2020, the
dispositive motions deadline for January 31, 2020, and a
trial date of July 21, 2020. (Id.)
3, 2019, Defendants served their first set of Special
Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Requests for
Production on McClure, making McClure's responses due by
no later than June 3, 2019. (Doc. 89-1 at 1-2, 6-12, 14-18,
20-24.) McClure failed to respond by the deadline and failed
to request an informal extension from counsel for Defendants
or communicate with opposing counsel regarding the requests.
(Id. at 2.) On June 13, 2019, Defendants'
counsel sent an email and letter to McClure's counsel,
attorney Stratton Scott Barbee, requesting that responses be
provided by no later than June 24, 2019. (Id.) On
June 14, 2019, an assistant to McClure's counsel emailed
Defendants' counsel that McClure was working to provide
discovery responses, but gave no indication of when the
responses would be provided. (Id. at 2, 29.)
25, 2019, Defendants' counsel called McClure's
counsel to meet and confer regarding McClure's discovery
responses. (Id. at 2.) During that conversation,
McClure's counsel told Defendants' counsel full and
complete responses would be served on or before July 5, 2019.
(Id. at 2-3.) Defendants' counsel attached to
the motion to compel an email to McClure's counsel
memorializing the conversation. (Id. at 32.)
Defendants' counsel also stated she would allow an
additional 14 days, until July 19, 2019, for verifications
(separate from the responses themselves) signed by McClure to
be mailed to Defendants' counsel, due to McClure's
incarceration. (See id.) McClure did not provide
responses by the agreed deadline of July 5, 2019.
(Id. at 3.)
10, 2019, Defendants' counsel emailed McClure's
counsel, seeking responses by no later than July 15, 2019.
(Id.) Although McClure's counsel's assistant
responded that they had nearly completed the responses,
McClure failed to provide responses by July 15, 2019.
16, 2019, Defendants' counsel emailed McClure's
counsel to request that McClure's discovery responses be
provided by the end of the day and stated that
“[f]ailure to do so will result in an immediate motion
seeking responses as well as all appropriate
sanctions.” (Id. at 47.) McClure failed to
provide responses by the end of the day on July 16, 2019.
(Id. at 3.)
22, 2019, McClure's counsel, who also represents
Plaintiff Dustin Hubbard, provided discovery responses as to
Hubbard to Defendants' counsel. (Doc. 92 at 3.) No
responses as to McClure were provided. (See id.;
Doc. 89-1 at 3.) On July 29, 2019, Defendants' counsel
sent a letter to McClure's counsel acknowledging receipt
of the responses as to Hubbard, but did not mention the
outstanding discovery requests as to McClure. (See
Doc. 92 at 11-12.)
date, McClure has not served responses to the May 3, 2019,
discovery requests. (See Doc. 89-1 at 3.)