Anderson v. Virga et al

Filing 64

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 11/14/201 GRANTING 62 Motion to Extend the Discovery Deadline. Defendants shall respond to these discovery requests within 30 days of the date this order is filed. Plaintiffs motion to compel based on those requests, if any, must be filed within 30 days of his receipt of defendants responses. (Hunt, G)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ERIC ANDERSON, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 No. 2:15-cv-1148-KJM-EFB P v. ORDER TIM VIRGA, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 17 18 U.S.C. § 1983. He has filed a combined motion to extend the discovery deadline and motion to 19 compel. ECF No. 62. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted. 20 Background 21 In its scheduling order, the court directed the parties that all requests for discovery 22 pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 31, 33, 34, or 36 were to be served no later than June 30, 2017. ECF 23 No. 44 at 4. The court noted that requests to modify the scheduling order would be looked upon 24 with disfavor and must be supported by good cause pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b). Id. at 5. 25 ///// 26 ///// 27 ///// 28 ///// 1 1 On August 29, 2017, defendants Boe, Meier, and Riley1 moved for an order modifying the 2 scheduling order. ECF No. 60. Defendants requested a sixty-day extension of the deadline to 3 conduct discovery and file motions to compel and a sixty-day extension to the dispositive motion 4 deadline. Id. at 1-2. They argued that this extension was warranted because plaintiff’s mental 5 health treatment precluded his timely deposition. Id. at 1. Defendants also noted that plaintiff 6 had incorrectly served responses to their discovery on the court and needed a new copy of 7 defendants’ discovery requests. Id. at 1-2. The motion explicitly noted that it did not request a 8 modification of the June 30, 2017 deadline to serve discovery requests. Id. at 1. The court 9 granted defendants’ motion on August 30, 2017. ECF No. 61. 10 On August 25, 2017, defendants’ counsel received plaintiff’s first set of interrogatories 11 and first set of requests for production. ECF No. 62 at 4. Defendants advised plaintiff that they 12 would not respond to those requests insofar as they were submitted well past the June 30 13 deadline. Id. at 4-5. 14 In his motion, plaintiff raises two arguments as to why the scheduling order should be 15 modified and his requests deemed timely. He argues that he was transported to a new prison 16 during the period discovery was to take place and was without his property. Id. at 1. Plaintiff 17 also claims that he misunderstood the aforementioned modification of the scheduling order and 18 believed that the time for serving discovery requests had also been extended. Id. at 1-2. 19 20 Analysis The court finds that the circumstances of this case warrant making an allowance for the 21 tardy service of plaintiff’s discovery requests. As noted above, plaintiff states that circumstances 22 beyond his control, namely his transfer to a different prison and separation from his property, 23 interfered with his ability to timely serve his requests. Id. at 1. Although plaintiff should have 24 filed an earlier motion for extension of that deadline, the Ninth Circuit has cautioned that “strict 25 time limits . . . ought not to be insisted upon where restraints resulting from a pro se prisoner 26 27 28 1 The court’s scheduling order applied only to these defendants. Defendant Villasenor has not filed an answer to plaintiff’s complaint. Findings and recommendation recommending his motion to dismiss be denied have been issued. ECF No. 56. Those recommendations are pending before the district judge. 2 1 plaintiff’s incarceration prevent timely compliance with court deadlines.” Eldridge v. Block, 832 2 F.2d 1132, 1136 (9th Cir. 1987) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Tarantino v. Eggers, 3 380 F.2d 465, 468 (9th Cir. 1967)). The court finds this logic particularly compelling in the 4 instant case where, if plaintiff’s motion is not granted, he would be precluded from serving any 5 discovery requests whatsoever. And allowing plaintiff to pursue his discovery requests may 6 facilitate resolution of this action insofar as “[a]n important purpose of discovery is to reveal what 7 evidence the opposing party has, thereby helping determine which facts are undisputed--perhaps 8 paving the way for a summary judgment motion--and which facts must be resolved at trial.” 9 Computer Task Group, Inc. v. Brotby, 364 F.3d 1112, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004). 10 Conclusion 11 Based on the foregoing, it is ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to extend the discovery 12 deadline (ECF No. 62) is GRANTED. The record indicates that defendants have already been 13 served with plaintiff’s first set of interrogatories, first set of requests for production, and requests 14 for admissions. Id. at 4. Thus, defendants shall respond to these discovery requests within thirty 15 days of the date this order is filed. Plaintiff’s motion to compel based on those requests, if any, 16 must be filed within thirty days of his receipt of defendants’ responses. Finally, given this 17 modification to the scheduling order, the court will be receptive to requests from either party to 18 extend the dispositive motion deadline. 19 DATED: November 14, 2017. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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