Meade v. Dermott, City of et al
ORDER denying defendant Michael Wolfe's 35 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 11/1/13. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
CITY OF DERMOTT, ARKANSAS,
NO: 5:12CV00315 SWW
Before the Court is a motion (ECF No. 35) by Separate Defendant Michael Wolfe
(“Wolfe”) seeking dismissal or alternative relief related to a discovery-related dispute. Plaintiff
Sylvia Meade (“Meade”) has filed a response (ECF No. 36), and Wolfe has filed a reply (ECF
No. 37). After careful consideration, and for reasons that follow, Wolfe’s motion is denied.
On August 16, 2012, Meade commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that Wolfe harassed and assaulted her in the course of performing his official duties as a
Dermott police officer. This action is a refiling of an earlier lawsuit that Meade commenced on
November 17, 2010, see Meade v. City of Dermott, No. 5:10CV00331 SWW, which the Court
dismissed pursuant to Meade’s motion for voluntary dismissal.
The original scheduling order entered in this case set March 8, 2013 as the discovery
deadline, and the Court scheduled a jury trial to begin August 5, 2013. By joint motion, the
parties requested more time to complete discovery and file dispositive motions. The Court
granted the joint motion and extended the discovery and motions deadlines to May 7, 2013 and
June 7, 2013, respectively.
On April 22, 2013, Wolfe filed filed a pro se motion requesting an extension of time in
which to complete discovery and “make motions.” Wolfe explained that he was in the process of
hiring counsel, and he stated: “I should have an attorney within the next week or so.” ECF No.
The Court granted Wolfe’s motion and gave him until May 15, 2013 in which to retain
counsel and have his attorney enter an appearance in this case. The Court also reminded Wolfe
that he was his duty as a pro se party to monitor the progress of the case and defend the action
diligently. See ECF No. 20, at 2(quoting Local Rule 5.5(c)(2)).
On May 22, 2013, counsel had not entered an appearance on Wolfe’s behalf, and the
Court entered an amended scheduling order, which states in part as follows:
All discovery, including evidentiary depositions, shall be completed no later
than September 13, 2013. Parties may conduct discovery beyond [the discovery
deadline] if all parties are in agreement to do so; however, the Court will not be
available to resolve any disputes which arise during the course of this extended
ECF No. 21, ¶ 1.
On June 10, 2013, Meade filed a motion to compel Wolfe to appear for deposition and
respond to written discovery requests, which were overdue when Wolfe filed the aforementioned
pro se motion. The Court granted Meade’s motion to compel.
On August 6, 2013, counsel entered an appearance on Wolfe’s behalf, and on
October 2, 2013, Wolfe moved to compel responses to discovery requests (ECF No. 28).
Wolfe’s motion to compel came after the discovery deadline had expired, and the record shows
that he had agreed to extend Meade’s response deadline beyond September 13, 2013. See ECF
No. 35-2, 35-3. Meade responded that she would provide responses to Wolfe’s discovery
requests no later than “Thursday [sic], October 16, 2013.” ECF No. 30, at 3. In light of Meade’s
response, the court denied the motion to compel as moot.
On Thursday, October 17, 2013, Wolfe filed the present “motion to dismiss for violation
of discovery.” Wolfe states that Meade failed to provide discovery responses by October 16,
2013, as she had promised. Meade responds that she inadvertently erred in reporting that she
would provide responses by “Thursday [sic], October 16, 2013,” instead of Thursday, October
17, 2013. Meade further states that she provided the discovery responses on Thursday, October
In his reply, Wolfe states that he received Meade’s discovery responses on October 22,
2013, via FedEx delivery dated October 17, 2013. Wolfe asserts that Meade’s discovery
responses, which he does not provide, are “incomplete and lacking crucial evidence” and that
“missing evidence includes . . . transcripts of text messages and audio recording[s] that are in the
sole possession of the Plaintiff.” ECF No. 37, at 2. Wolfe renews his request for immediate
dismissal with prejudice. As alternative relief, Wolfe asks the Court to (1) compel Plaintiff to
provide full and complete responses to discovery requests and (2) grant him sufficient time to
review discovery and make any appropriate or necessary motions.
Rule 16(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure contemplates the entry of a
scheduling order that limits the time to complete discovery. The amended, final scheduling
order entered in this case provides that all discovery shall be completed no later than September
13, 2013, and it warns that the Court will not be available to resolve any disputes which arise in
the course of extended discovery. With his motion, Wolfe seeks relief that would render
nugatory the Court’s scheduling order. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4)(providing that scheduling
deadlines may be modified only for good cause and with the judge’s consent); see also Marvin
Lumber and Cedar Co. v. PPG Industries, Inc. 177 F.R.D. 443, 445 (D. Minn.1997)(“[T]o allow
a party to continue with formal discovery-that is, discovery which invokes the authority of the
Court-whether in the guise of Rule 45, or any of the other discovery methods . . . after the
discovery deadline unnecessarily lengthens [the] discovery process, and diverts the parties’
attention, from the post-discovery aspects of preparing a case for Trial[.]”). Defendant Wolfe
has had ample time to conduct discovery, and the Court finds no basis for granting the relief
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant Michael Wolfe’s motion to dismiss
(ECF No. 35) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 1ST DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2013.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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