Martinez Castro v. Unnamed Defendants

Filing 15

ORDER DENYING 14 Request for Early Discovery, without Prejudice; Thirty Day Deadline to File a Complaint in Compliance with the Court's Order of August 26, 2014 signed by Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin on 9/13/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Complaint/IFP forms)(Sant Agata, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 GLENN S. MARTINEZ CASTRO, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 1:14-cv-01326-GSA-PC ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR EARLY DISCOVERY, WITHOUT PREJUDICE (Doc. 14.) vs. THIRTY DAY DEADLINE TO FILE A COMPLAINT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE COURT‟S ORDER OF AUGUST 26, 2014 UNNAMED DEFENDANTS, 15 Defendants. 16 17 18 19 20 I. BACKGROUND 21 Glenn S. Martinez Castro (APlaintiff@) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil 22 action. On April 7, 2014, Plaintiff sent a letter to the United States District Court for the 23 Southern District of California, requesting assistance. (Doc. 1.) The court construed Plaintiff‟s 24 letter as an attempt to file a complaint, filed the letter, and opened a civil rights action pursuant 25 to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed another letter on May 27, 2014, which was construed as a 26 motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 3.) On July 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for 27 extension of time to file a § 1983 complaint in this action. (Doc. 8.) On August 22, 2014, the 28 case was transferred to the Eastern District of California. (Doc. 9.) 1 1 On August 26, 2014, the court issued an order requiring Plaintiff to file a Complaint on 2 the court‟s form within thirty days; and to file an application to proceed in forma pauperis on 3 the court‟s form, or pay the $400.00 filing fee for this action, within forty-five days. (Doc. 12.) 4 Plaintiff has not yet filed the Complaint, submitted the application to proceed in forma 5 pauperis, or paid the filing fee. 6 On September 10, 2014, Plaintiff filed a document titled “Order of Subpoena for 7 Timely Response.” (Doc. 14.) The court construes Plaintiff‟s document as a request for leave 8 to conduct early discovery. 9 II. REQUEST TO CONDUCT EARLY DISCOVERY 10 In a civil rights action brought by a prisoner without the assistance of counsel, early 11 discovery is available in certain circumstances. For example, the Ninth Circuit has held, 12 “„[W]here the identity of the alleged defendant is not known prior to the filing of a complaint, 13 the plaintiff should be given an opportunity through discovery to identify the unknown 14 defendants, unless it is clear that discovery would not uncover the identities, or that the 15 complaint would be dismissed on other grounds.‟” Wakefield v. Thompson, 177 F.3d 1160, 16 1163 (9th Cir. 1999) (quoting Gillespie v. Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637, 642 (9th Cir. 1980)). In 17 Gillespie, the plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights action against several 18 U.S. Marshals, prison officials, and prison guards. However, the complaint did not name all of 19 the defendants. Instead, the plaintiff identified the unknown defendants as “John Doe” and 20 “filed interrogatories requesting from the named defendants the names and addresses of the 21 [unnamed defendants].” Gillespie, 629 F.2d at 642–43. The district court denied the request 22 for discovery and dismissed the complaint, but the Ninth Circuit reversed and held that the 23 “district court abused its discretion in not permitting the discovery sought by the [prisoner] ... 24 [as][i]t was very likely that the answers to the interrogatories would have disclosed the 25 identities of the „John Doe‟ defendants.” Id. at 643. 26 The facts in the present case are distinguishable from those in Gillespie. Here, Plaintiff 27 requests issuance of a subpoena to compel the defendants, who are correctional officers at 28 Wasco State Prison, to provide their full names and I.D. numbers to Plaintiff. However, in this 2 1 case, unlike in Gillespie, there is no complaint on file. Until Plaintiff files a complaint and 2 resolves the payment of the filing fee, pursuant to the court‟s order of August 26, 2014, this 3 case shall not proceed. Therefore, Plaintiff‟s request to conduct early discovery shall be denied. 4 Plaintiff shall be granted leave to renew the motion at a later stage of the proceedings, if he 5 wishes. 6 III. SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM 7 Plaintiff is advised that after discovery is opened,1 and subject to certain requirements 8 set forth herein, he may be entitled to the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum commanding the 9 production of documents from a non-party, and to service of the subpoena by the United States 10 Marshal. Fed. R. Civ. P. 45; 28 U.S.C. 1915(d). 11 such a request only if the documents sought from the non-party are not equally available to 12 Plaintiff and are not obtainable from the defendants through a request for production of 13 documents. Fed. R. Civ. P. 34. Some of the documents sought by Plaintiff may be kept in 14 Plaintiff=s central file at the prison, to which he is entitled to access. Should Plaintiff wish to 15 file a motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum at a later stage of the proceedings, the 16 motion must (1) identify with specificity the documents sought and from whom, and (2) make a 17 showing in the motion that the records are only obtainable through that third party. Also, 18 documents requested must fall within the scope of discovery allowed in this action.2 19 /// 20 /// However, the Court will consider granting 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 1 Ordinarily, the court issues an order opening discovery after one of the defendants has filed an answer to the complaint. 2 Under Rule 26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, A[u]nless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense C including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.@ Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). 28 3 1 IV. CONCLUSION 2 Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 3 1. 4 5 Plaintiff‟s request to conduct early discovery, filed on September 10, 2014, is DENIED, without prejudice; and 2. Plaintiff is granted an extension of time until thirty (30) days from the date of 6 service of this order in which to file a complaint on the court‟s form, in 7 compliance with the court‟s order of August 26, 2014. 8 9 10 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: September 13, 2014 /s/ Gary S. Austin UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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