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. Pending before the
court is plaintiff's motion to compel discovery from
defendant Arana (ECF No. 40), which defendant has opposed
(ECF No. 41).
alleges that defendants Weeks and Arana conspired to
retaliate, and actually retaliated against him, for filing
complaints against Weeks. Plaintiff alleges that they
retaliated by searching his cell, seizing property and
paperwork, and writing him up on fictious grounds. ECF No. 1
Motion to Compel
motion seeks to compel further responses to interrogatories.
ECF No. 40. Defendant Arana opposes the motion to compel on
the grounds that plaintiff failed to meet and confer
regarding the disputes prior to filing his motion, and that
his claims of deficiency are unintelligible and insufficient.
ECF No. 41.
Standards Governing Discovery
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).
party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33, the party seeking
discovery may move for compelled disclosure. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a). “The party seeking to compel discovery has the
burden of establishing that its request satisfies the
relevancy requirements of Rule 26(b)(1). Thereafter, the
party opposing discovery has the burden of showing that the
discovery should be prohibited, and the burden of clarifying,
explaining or supporting its objections.” Bryant v.
Ochoa, 2009 WL 1390794 at * 1 (S.D. Cal. May 14, 2009)
(citations omitted); see also Nugget v. Hydroelectric,
L.P. v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co., 981 F.2d 429, 438-39
(9th Cir. 1992) (upholding denial of motion to compel because
moving party did not show the request fell within the scope
of Rule 26(b)(1)). 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).
Failure to Meet and Confer
argues that the motion to compel should be denied because
plaintiff failed to comply with the requirement to meet and
confer under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a) and Local
Rule 251. ECF No. 41 at 2. The scheduling order issued by the
court explicitly excused the parties from the requirements of
Local Rule 251. ECF No. 35 at 5, ¶ 5. Furthermore, while
it is true that the requirement outlined in Rule 37(a) has
not been explicitly excused, and the court encourages parties
to attempt to resolve disputes prior to seeking court
intervention, because of plaintiff's pro se, incarcerated
status, it will not be enforced here and will not provide
grounds for denying the motion.
Request for Interrogatories
motion to compel seeks to compel further responses to
Interrogatories 2, 3, 4, and 6, ECF No. 40, which will each
be addressed in turn.
Interrogatory No. 2: State the names, titles
and duties of all staff members who had responsibility to
conduct a special search of quarters, “B” yard
library on the 11 of July 2015, if those duties are set forth
in any job description or ...