United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before
the court are defendant's motions to compel (ECF No. 83)
and to extend the pretrial motions deadline (ECF No. 95).
scope of discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
26(b)(1) is broad. Discovery may be obtained as to “any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable.” Id. The court, however, may
limit discovery if it is “unreasonably cumulative or
duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that
is more convenient, less burdensome, or less
expensive;” or if the party who seeks discovery
“has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by
discovery;” or if “the proposed discovery is
outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C). The purpose of discovery is to
“make a trial less a game of blind man's bluff and
more a fair contest with the basic issues and facts disclosed
to the fullest practicable extent, ” United States
v. Procter & Gamble Co., 356 U.S. 677, 682 (1958)
(citation omitted), and “to narrow and clarify the
basic issues between the parties, ” Hickman v.
Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501 (1947).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B), a motion to
compel may be made if “a party fails to answer an
interrogatory submitted under Rule 33; or a party fails to
produce documents or fails to respond that inspection will be
permitted . . . as requested under Rule 34.” The party
seeking to compel discovery has the burden of showing that
the discovery sought is relevant or that its denial will
cause substantial prejudice. Aros v. Fansler, 548
Fed.Appx. 500, 501 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing Hallett v.
Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002)). The opposing
party is “required to carry a heavy burden of showing
why discovery was denied.” Blankenship v. Hearst
Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975). With respect
to requests for admission, the Federal Rules provide that the
failure to timely respond results in the matters being
automatically deemed admitted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3).
“A matter admitted under [Rule 36] is conclusively
established unless the court, on motion, permits the
admission to be withdrawn or amended.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
August 19, 2019, defendant filed a motion to compel responses
to her interrogatories, requests for production, and requests
for admissions. ECF No. 83. Defendant asserts that the
discovery requests were served on plaintiff by mail on June
20, 2019, and responses were due forty-five days later on
August 5, 2019. Id. at 3. No responses were
received. Counsel then addressed the missing responses with
plaintiff at his deposition on August 7, 2019, and followed
the discussion up with a letter, which extended
plaintiff's time to respond to August 16, 2019.
Id. at 4, 8. Plaintiff was given until October 3,
2019, to file his response to the motion to compel. ECF No.
85. On October 9, 2019, defendant filed a notice advising
that plaintiff had not filed an opposition to the motion to
compel and that counsel had received neither the requested
discovery nor an opposition to the motion. ECF No. 88.
defendant filed her motion to compel, plaintiff has filed a
number of documents (ECF Nos. 86, 87, 89-94), several of
which dealt with corrections to his deposition (ECF Nos. 86,
87, 89). Other documents included another copy of previously
filed letters (ECF No. 90), requests for assistance with
Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) claims (ECF Nos. 91-92),
and a letter claiming that his documents had been tampered
with (ECF No. 93). The most recent document received from
plaintiff is a letter in which he claims that his filings are
not being received by the court. ECF No. 94. He claims that
contrary to defendant's notice of non-opposition to the
motion to compel, he did in fact submit “documents
about the deposition.” Id. at 1. Attached to
the letter is documentation showing that there is no longer a
Developmental Disability Program library technical assistant
(DDP LTA) at the prison, but also indicating that plaintiff
is still receiving assistance reading, writing, and preparing
forms. Id. at 4-7. Also attached to the letter is
another copy of plaintiff's corrections to his
deposition, as well as a copy of defendant's unanswered
interrogatories. Id. at 15-29, 38-40. It appears
that plaintiff intended his corrections to his deposition as
his response to defendant's motion to compel.
the court has received several copies of plaintiff's
corrections to his deposition transcript, these corrections
are not a response to defendant's discovery requests or a
response to the motion to compel. Furthermore, although
plaintiff appears to be claiming that he is not getting help
from a DDP LTA, it appears that he is still getting at least
some help with reading and writing since he has filed a
number of documents with the court. Plaintiff's
continuing ability to file various documents with the court
is inconsistent with an inability to respond to discovery
requests. The motion to compel will therefore be granted.
Plaintiff will be required to respond to defendant's
interrogatories and request for production without objection,
and the requests for admission are deemed admitted.
light of the ongoing discovery issues, defendant has
requested that the pretrial motion deadline be extended sixty
days. ECF No. 95. The court will instead vacate the pretrial
motion deadline, which will be re-set upon conclusion of the
pending discovery matters.
with respect to plaintiffs request for assistance with his
PREA claims, if plaintiff wishes to pursue those claims in
this court, he must file a separate complaint related to
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendant's motion to compel (ECF No. 83) is granted.
a. Within seven days of service of this order, defendant
shall serve plaintiff with another copy of her
interrogatories and requests for production.
b. Within thirty days of service of the discovery requests,
plaintiff must respond to the requests fully and without
objection. Defendant shall inform the court of the status of
discovery upon receipt and review of plaintiff s responses.
c. Defendant may file a motion for sanctions within sixty
days of service of this order if plaintiff fails to respond