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Harris v. Macomber

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 18, 2019

GRADY HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFF MACOMBER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed this civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. On September 28, 2018, defendants D. Calderon, E. Cervantes, M. Fong, T. Fuller, J. Munoz, K. Rose, M. Thompson, and S. Williamson[1] filed a motion to compel further discovery. (ECF No. 61). Plaintiff has not opposed the motion. For the reasons stated below, defendants’ motion will be granted.

         I. RELEVANT FACTS

         In plaintiff’s first amended complaint (“FAC”), he contends that in November 2014, defendants used excessive force when handcuffing and removing him from his cell. (See ECF No. 10 at 5). In addition, plaintiff contends that defendants violated his First Amendment rights when they subsequently paraded him through the prison yard after his boxer shorts had fallen, leaving his buttocks and genitalia exposed to onlookers. Plaintiff further alleges that violations of right also occurred when defendants punched and kicked him as he lay handcuffed on the ground in a sally port and when they subsequently filed false reports against him. He argues that these acts of defendants were retaliatory in nature and that they occurred because he had previously filed grievances against prison authorities. Therefore, he asserts, defendants’ actions were violative of both his Eighth and First Amendment rights. (See generally ECF No. 10).

         II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On November 27, 2017, the court issued a discovery and scheduling order for the named defendants. (ECF No. 27). At that time, discovery was to be conducted until March 16, 2018, and pretrial motions were to be filed no later than June 8, 2018. (Id. at 5).

         On January 29, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion for an extension of time to respond to defendants’ interrogatories. (ECF No. 32). As a result, the court extended the scheduling deadlines out eight weeks changing the discovery cut-off date to May 11, 2018, and the pretrial motion cut-off date to August 3, 2018.[2] (See ECF No. 33 at 2).

         On April 12, 2018, defendants filed multiple motions to compel further responses to discovery.[3] (ECF Nos. 38-45). On April 19, 2018, defendants filed a motion to modify the discovery and scheduling order. (ECF No. 46). In it, defendants asked the court to postpone the May 11, 2018, discovery deadline and the August 3, 2018, dispositive motion deadline.[4] (See id.).

         On May 1, 2018, the court granted defendants’ motion to modify the scheduling order. (ECF No. 48). As a result, the close of discovery and dispositive motion deadlines were extended to sixty days after the district court had ruled on defendants’ March 30, 2018, request that it review the court’s July 10, 2017, screening order.[5] (See id.).

         On May 17, 2018, defendants filed a motion for clarification regarding the court’s “May 1, 2018 order (ECF No. 52), ”[6] order which had granted their motion to modify the discovery and scheduling order. (ECF No. 55). In the request for clarification, defendants inquired whether discovery proceedings “[had] indeed been stayed.” (Id.) (brackets added). At the same time, defendants moved for a grant of a sixty-day extension of time to respond to plaintiff’s April 20, 2018, discovery requests if discovery proceedings had not been stayed. (Id. at 2). For various reasons, one of which being that the specific order for which defendants were asking for clarification was unclear, the court did not address defendants’ filing.

         On August 21, 2018, defendants filed a notice of withdrawal of the motions to compel they had filed on April 12, 2018. (ECF No. 59). This was due to the fact that the parties had met, and plaintiff had provided additional discovery to defendants. (See id. at 1-2).

         On September 11, 2018, the district court judge assigned to this matter adopted the findings and recommendations of this court. (ECF No. 60). As a result, the three defendants that had previously been dismissed by this court prior to the vacation of that order were dismissed again. (See ECF No. 60 at 2).

         On September 28, 2018, defendants filed a motion to compel further responses to discovery pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B). (ECF No. 61). Plaintiff has not filed any objections to the motion. Therefore, defendants’ motion is submitted, and the court considers it herein.

         III. APPLICABLE LAW

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B): Failure to Cooperate in Discovery

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B)(iii) states:

(a) Motion for an Order Compelling Disclosure or Discovery.
(3) Specific Motions.

         (B) To Compel a Discovery Response. A party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer, designation, production, or inspection. This motion may be made if:

. . . .
(iii) a party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule 33.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iii).

         B. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1): Scope of Discovery

         The scope of discovery in federal cases is governed by Federal Rule of Civil ...


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