United States District Court, E.D. California
BINH C. TRAN, Plaintiff,
K. YOUNG, et al., Defendants.
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff claims defendants violated his rights when they
failed to protect him, deprived him of due process during the
disciplinary hearing process, and treated him differently
than other inmates. Presently before the court is
plaintiff's motion to compel (ECF No. 50),
defendants' opposition (ECF No. 51), and plaintiff's
reply (ECF No. 56). For the reasons set forth below, the
court will deny the motion to compel without prejudice.
states he submitted requests for various documents, but
defendants are withholding such evidence. (ECF No. 50.)
Plaintiff additionally argues that defendants failed to
comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)'s
initial disclosure requirement. Plaintiff also states he
attempted to resolve the dispute. Plaintiff further argues
that defendants' arguments in support of their objections
are frivolous. Finally, he argues that each item of evidence
he seeks is relevant to his claims. He states that the
information could be admissible under Federal Rule of
Evidence 404(b) to show “proof of motive, opportunity,
intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of
mistake or accident.” (Id. at 3.)
argue that plaintiff's motion fails to establish what
documents he seeks and why the responses are deficient. (ECF
No. 51.) Defendants also argue they are immune from initial
disclosure requirements. While noting that plaintiff failed
to indicate which specific requests are at issue in the
motion to compel, defendants provided the requests, their
responses, and arguments related to several requests that
appear to encompass the request made in plaintiff's
motion to compel.
Legal Standards for Motions to Compel
Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case,
considering the importance of the issues at stake in the
action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative
access to relevant information, the parties' resources,
the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope
of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
for purposes of discovery is defined very broadly.”
Garneau v. City of Seattle, 147 F.3d 802, 812 (9th
Cir. 1998). In response to a request for production of
documents under Rule 34, a party is to produce all relevant
documents in its “possession, custody, or
control.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(1). The purpose of
discovery is to “remove surprise from trial preparation
so the parties can obtain evidence necessary to evaluate and
resolve their dispute.” United States v. Chapman
Univ., 245 F.R.D. 646, 648 (C.D. Cal. 2007) (quotation
and citation omitted).
Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “a
party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an
answer, designation, production, or inspection.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). The court may order a party to
provide further responses to an “evasive or incomplete
disclosure, answer, or response.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(4). “District courts have ‘broad discretion
to manage discovery and to control the course of litigation
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16.'”
Hunt v. County of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th
Cir. 2012) (quoting Avila v. Willits Envtl. Remediation
Trust, 633 F.3d 828, 833 (9th Cir. 2011)).
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,
No. 07cv200 JM (PCL), 2009 WL 1390794, at *1 (S.D. Cal. May
14, 2009) (citations omitted). Specifically, the party moving
to compel bears the burden of informing the court (1) which
discovery requests are the subject of the motion to compel,
(2) which of the responses are disputed, (3) why the party
believes the response is deficient, (4) why any objections
are not justified, and (5) why the information sought through
discovery is relevant to the prosecution of this action.
McCoy v. Ramirez, No. 1:13-cv-1808-MJS (PC), 2016 WL
3196738, at *1 (E.D. Cal. June 9, 2016); Ellis v.
Cambra, No. 1:02-cv-5646-AWI-SMS PC, 2008 WL 860523, at
*4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008).
This Action is Exempt from Rule 26(a)'s Initial