United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL RE: DKT. NOS. 40, 50,
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights case brought pro se by a state prisoner under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arise from his detention at
San Quentin State Prison (“SQSP”). Plaintiff
alleges that the sole defendant in this case, Correctional
Officer Arana, searched his cell and confiscated several
items. Plaintiff alleges that he told defendant that he would
file an administrative grievance if the items were not
returned to him and in response defendant threatened him,
stating, “I'll get you for that.” Later,
after defendant learned that plaintiff was found not guilty
at a Rules Violation Report (“RVR”) disciplinary
hearing, defendant stated, “[n]o way. I'll fix
that, ” according to plaintiff, and immediately spoke
with the hearing officer. Plaintiff was found guilty of the
violation. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant then
stated, “I warned you I'd get you.” The court
ordered service on plaintiff's claim of retaliation.
pending is plaintiff's motion to compel discovery.
Defendant filed an opposition and plaintiff filed a reply.
For the reasons set forth below, the motion to compel is
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow liberal discovery.
Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 34,
(1984). The party resisting discovery has the burden of
establishing lack of relevance or undue burden. Oleson v.
Kmart Corp., 175 F.R.D. 560, 565 (D. Kan. 1997). The
resisting party must demonstrate that the documents sought
are not relevant under the broad scope of relevance provided
by Rule 26(b)(1), or that the documents are “of such
marginal relevance that the potential harm occasioned by
disclosure would outweigh the ordinary presumption in favor
of broad disclosure . . . .” Burke v. New York City
Police Dep't., 115 F.R.D. 220, 224 (S.D.N.Y. 1987).
A recitation that the discovery request is “overly
broad, burdensome, oppressive and irrelevant” is not
adequate to voice a successful objection. Josephs v.
Harris Corp., 677 F.2d 985, 992 (3d Cir. 1982). The
party resisting discovery must instead “‘show
specifically how . . . each interrogatory [or request for
production] is not relevant or how each question is overly
broad, burdensome or oppressive.'” Id.
(omission in original).
if the responding party objects to a discovery request, the
party moving to compel bears the burden of demonstrating why
the objections are not justified. See,
e.g., Grabek v. Dickinson, No. CIV
S-10-2892 GGH P, 2012 WL 113799, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13,
2012); Mitchell v. Felker, No. CV 08-119 RAJ, 2010
WL 3835765, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 29, 2010). This requires
the moving party to inform the court which discovery requests
are the subject of the motion to compel, and, for each
disputed response, why the information sought is relevant and
why the responding party's objections are not
filing a motion to compel, the moving party must first
attempt to resolve the dispute informally with the opposing
party. It is only when the parties are unable to resolve the
dispute after making a good faith effort to do so that they
should seek the court's intervention. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 37(a)(2)(B); N.D. Cal. Local Rule 37-1. Because
plaintiff is incarcerated, he is not required to meet and
confer with defendant in person. Rather, if defendant denies
plaintiff's discovery requests and if he intends to
pursue a motion to compel, he need only send a letter to
defendant to that effect, offering him one last opportunity
to provide him the sought-after information. The letter
should state the specific discovery he seeks and the reasons
that he believes he is entitled to such discovery.
first argues that plaintiff failed to properly follow the
meet and confer process. In response to plaintiff's
discovery requests, defendant served responses. Plaintiff
sent defendant a letter expressing concerns with the
responses, but he did not address which specific responses
were at issue. Defendant responded with a letter noting the
lack of specific details, but plaintiff failed to provide
more specificity and did not state whether his concerns were
with the requests for admissions, the requests for production
of documents or both. Plaintiff only provided specific
arguments with this motion to compel, which did not provide
defendant an opportunity to provide the information
requested, rather it has imposed the burden on the court.
While plaintiff did fail to properly follow the meet and
confer process, which could be adequate grounds to deny this
motion, the court will discuss each discovery request in
- Interrogatory No. 1: State the
name and contact information of each person who prepared or
assisted with the responses to these interrogatories. Docket
No. 40 at 10.
has been provided with the answer to this interrogatory, so
the request to compel an answer is moot.
Interrogatory No. 4: State your
education level and any degree received. Docket No. ...