United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE
ORDER (ECF NO. 38) ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 42)
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Christopher Dickson is a state prisoner proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
action currently proceeds on Plaintiff's second amended
complaint for excessive force against Defendants Gomez, Rios,
and Martinez, for violations of Plaintiff's due process
rights against Defendants Duncan and Esparza, and for
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against
Defendant Sao. (ECF No. 23.)
September 10, 2019, Defendants Duncan, Esparza, Gomez,
Martinez, Rios, and Sao filed an answer to Plaintiff's
second amended complaint. (ECF No. 32.)
October 10, 2019, the Court issued the discovery and
scheduling order. (ECF No. 36.)
December 3, 2019, Defendants Duncan, Esparza, Gomez,
Martinez, Rios, and Sao filed a motion for summary judgment
for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (ECF No. 37.)
Plaintiff's response to Defendants' summary judgment
motion was due on or before December 27, 2019.
on December 3, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for a
protective order to stay all currently propounded and future
discovery in this matter until the Court decides
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 38.) On
December 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed his opposition to
Defendants' motion for protective order. (ECF No. 43.)
No. reply has been filed, and the time in which to do so has
December 23, 2019, Plaintiff also filed a motion for an
extension of time to file a response to Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 42.) On January 2,
2020, Defendants filed an opposition to Plaintiff's
motion for an extension of time. (ECF No. 44.) Although
Plaintiff has not had an opportunity to file a reply, the
Court finds that a reply is unnecessary.
both Defendants' motion for protective order and
Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to file a
response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment are
deemed submitted. Local Rule 230(1).
Defendants' Motion for Protective Order
Court is vested with broad discretion to manage discovery.
Dichter-Mad Family Partners, LLP v. U.S., 709 F.3d
749, 751 (9th Cir. 2013) (per curiam); Hunt v.
Cnty. of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012);
Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor Prods., 406 F.3d
625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005); Hallett v. Morgan, 296
F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002). Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(c)(1), the Court may, for good cause,
issue a protective order forbidding or limiting discovery.
The avoidance of undue burden or expense is grounds for the
issuance of a protective order, Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), and a
stay of discovery pending resolution of potentially
dispositive issues furthers the goal of efficiency for the
courts and the litigants, Little v. City of Seattle,
863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988) (stay of discovery pending
resolution of immunity issue). The propriety of delaying
discovery on the merits of the plaintiff's claims pending
resolution of an exhaustion-based summary judgment motion was
explicitly recognized by the Ninth Circuit. Albino v.
Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1170-71 (9th Cir. 2014) (en
banc); see also Gibbs v. Carson, No. C-13-0860
THE (PR), 2014 WL 172187, at *2-3 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2014).
Defendants move for a protective order staying all discovery
in this matter, including discovery that has already been
propounded, until the Court rules on Defendants' pending
motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. (ECF No. 38.)
failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing
suit is an affirmative defense, and Defendants are entitled
to judgment on Plaintiff's claims against them if the
Court determines that Plaintiff's claims were unexhausted
when Plaintiff filed suit. Albino, 747 F.3d at 1166.
Thus, Defendants' pending exhaustion-based summary
judgment motion has the potential to bring final resolution
to this action, obviating the need for merits-based
discovery. Gibbs, 2014 WL 172187, at *3. In
Albino, the Ninth Circuit recognized that
“[e]xhaustion should be decided, if feasible, before
reaching the merits of a prisoner's claims, ” and
“discovery directed to the merits of the suit”
should be left until later. Albino, 747 F.3d at
1170. To the extent that Plaintiff needs specific discovery
to address the issues raised in Defendants'
exhaustion-based summary judgment motion, then Plaintiff is
entitled to obtain exhaustion-related ...