King v. Martinez, et al.

Filing 85

ORDER denying 80 Motion to Compel and for Imposition of Sanctions signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 11/29/2017. (Lundstrom, T)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) MARIO KING, 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 W.S. WADKINS, 15 Defendant. 16 17 18 19 Case No.: 1:16-cv-00433-LJO-SAB (PC) ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL AND FOR IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS [ECF No. 80] Plaintiff Mario King is a state prisoner and appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion to compel and for imposition of sanctions, filed 20 November 1, 2017. Defendant filed an opposition on November 14, 2017. Plaintiff did not file a 21 reply and the time to do so has expired. Accordingly, the instant motion is submitted for review 22 without oral argument. Local Rule 230(l). 23 I. 24 RELEVANT BACKGROUND 25 26 27 28 This action is proceeding against Defendant W.S. Wadkins for alleged due process violations relating to a rules violation for fighting with another inmate. Defendant Wadkins filed an answer to the complaint on August 18, 2016, and on August 23, 2016, the Court issued the discovery and scheduling order. 1 1 On August 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel, and Defendant opposed the motion on 2 the ground that Defendant had not been served with the discovery requests. On September 13, 2017, 3 the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion to compel, but ordered Defendant to serve responses to Plaintiff’s 4 first set of interrogatories and request for production of documents within forty-five days of the 5 Court’s order. 6 On October 27, 2017, Defendant filed a request for an extension of time to serve his 7 interrogatory responses. The Court granted Defendant’s request on October 30, 2017, and granted 8 Defendant until November 3, 2017, to serve his responses to the interrogatory requests. 9 Defendant submits that he served his response to the requests for production of documents on 10 October 27, 2017, and his response to the interrogatory requests on October 30, 2017. (Declaration of 11 A. De La Torre-Fennell (De La Torre-Fennell) ¶¶ 5, 7; ECF No. 81-1.) 12 II. 13 DISCUSSION 14 A. 15 This is a civil action to which the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply. The discovery 16 process is subject to the overriding limitation of good faith, and callous disregard of discovery 17 responsibilities cannot be condoned. Asea, Inc. v. Southern Pac. Transp. Co., 669 F.2d 1242, 1246 18 (9th Cir. 1981) (quotation marks and citation omitted). “Parties may obtain discovery regarding any 19 nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of 20 the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the 21 parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery 22 in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its 23 likely benefit.” Fed R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). 24 Motion to Compel Plaintiff filed his motion to compel on November 1, 2017, self-dated by Plaintiff on October 25 28, 2017. (ECF No. 80.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant has failed to comply respond to the 26 outstanding discovery requests as ordered in the Court’s September 13, 2017 order, and Plaintiff 27 requests imposition of sanctions. However, defense counsel declares that on October 27, 2017-just 28 one day prior to Plaintiff’s motion to compel, Defendant timely served a response to Plaintiff’s 2 1 requests for production of documents. (De La Torre-Fennell ¶ 5) Then, after receiving an extension 2 of time, Defendant filed a response to Plaintiff’s interrogatory requests on October 30, 2017. (De La 3 Torre-Fennell ¶ 7.) Accordingly, there is no basis to grant Plaintiff’s motion to compel and it must be 4 denied. 5 B. 6 Plaintiff seeks $875.23 for the filing of the instant motion to compel, and an additional $875.27 7 Request for Imposition of Sanctions and Reasonable Expenses as sanctions. 8 “Sanctions may be warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2) for failure to 9 obey a discovery order as long as the established issue bears a reasonable relationship to the subject of 10 discovery that was frustrated by sanctionable conduct.” Navellier v. Sletten, 262 F.3d 923, 947 (9th 11 Cir. 2001). Under Rule 37(b)(2), subsections (A) through (C), sanctions are “appropriate only in 12 ‘extreme circumstances’ and where the violation is ‘due to willfulness, bad faith, or fault of the 13 party.’” Fair Housing of Marin v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 905 (9th Cir. 2002). 14 If a motion to compel discovery is granted, “the court must, after giving an opportunity to be 15 heard, require the party … whose conduct necessitated the motion … to pay the movant’s reasonable 16 expenses incurred in making the motion, including attorney’s fees.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5). 17 Plaintiff’s pro se status does not insulate him from sanctions for failure to respond to discovery. See 18 Warren v. Guelker, 29 F.3d 1386, 1390 (9th Cir. 1994) (a court cannot decline to impose sanctions 19 simply because a plaintiff is proceeding pro se); Sanchez v. Rodriguez, 298 F.R.D. 460, 470 (C.D. 20 Cal. 2014) (pro se status “does not excuse intentional noncompliance with discovery rules.”). 21 As an initial matter, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se in this action and has therefore not incurred 22 attorney’s fees. In addition, as explained above, Plaintiff’s claim that Defendant has failed to respond 23 to his discovery requests is without merit and there is no basis for imposition of sanctions. 24 Accordingly, there is simply no justification to impose sanctions against Defendant, and Plaintiff’s 25 motion must be denied. 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 3 Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to compel and for 1 2 imposition of sanctions is DENIED. 3 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 Dated: 6 November 29, 2017 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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