Jenkins v. City of Vallejo et al

Filing 52

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes on 2/6/2024 GRANTING 45 Motion to Compel. Within seven days of the date of this order defendants shall produce responsive documents; The 2/9/2024 hearing of Plaintiff's Motion is VACATED; and Within fourteen days of the date of this order defense counsel shall pay plaintiff $750 as a sanction for their conduct. (Mena-Sanchez, L) Modified on 2/7/2024 (Mena-Sanchez, L).

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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 DEYANA JENKINS, 12 13 14 15 No. 2:19-cv-1896 TLN DB Plaintiff, v. ORDER CITY OF VALLEJO, et al., Defendants. 16 17 On November 3, 2023, plaintiff filed a motion to compel and noticed the motion for 18 hearing before the undersigned on December 8, 2023, pursuant to Local Rule 302(c)(1). (ECF 19 No. 45.) On November 22, 2023, the parties filed a Joint Statement re Discovery Dispute 20 pursuant to Local Rule 251. (ECF No. 46.) Therein, the parties disagreed as to whether they had 21 met and conferred after defendants made their most recent document production. (Id. at 2, 3-4.) 22 Accordingly, on December 5, 2023, the undersigned issued an order continuing the 23 hearing of plaintiff’s motion to January 12, 2024. (ECF No 47 at 2.) The parties were also 24 ordered to meet and confer on or before December 22, 2023, and to withdraw the motion to 25 compel or file an updated Joint Statement on or before December 29, 2023. (Id.) 26 On December 29, 2023, plaintiff filed their portion of the Joint Statement. (ECF No. 48.) 27 Therein plaintiff’s counsel asserted that the parties met and conferred on December 12, 2023. (Id. 28 at 2.) Thereafter, on December 12, 2023, and December 15, 2023, plaintiff’s counsel emailed 1 1 defense counsel and received no response. (Id.) These assertions are supported by evidence. 2 (ECF No. 48-2 at 4-10.) Plaintiff’s counsel sent additional emails thereafter and received no 3 response. (ECF No. 48 at 2.) Defense counsel filed nothing in response to either the 4 undersigned’s December 5, 2023 order or the representations made in the December 29, 2023 5 filing by plaintiff’s counsel. 6 Accordingly, on January 8, 2024, the undersigned issued an order continuing the hearing 7 of plaintiff’s motion to February 9, 2024, and ordering defense counsel to show cause as to why 8 counsel should not be sanctioned. (ECF No. 49.) On January 19, 2024, defense counsel filed a 9 declaration in response to the order to show cause. (ECF No. 50.) Therein, defense counsel 10 explained that counsel was “on vacation starting December 22, 2023, through the new year,” and 11 was “not checking emails or deadlines while . . . out.” (Id. at 2.) 12 On February 1, 2024, the parties filed an Updated Statement re: Discovery Dispute. (ECF 13 No. 51.) Therein, plaintiff’s counsel states that after defense counsel filed the declaration on 14 January 19, 2024, plaintiff’s counsel sent defense counsel emails on January 19, 2024, and 15 January 24, 2024. (Id. at 2-3.) Once again defense counsel did not respond. (Id. at 3.) Again, 16 plaintiff has supported these assertions with evidence. (ECF No. 51-3; ECF No. 51-4.) Defense counsel characterizes plaintiff’s statements as “superfluous, perhaps disparaging 17 18 remarks[.]” (ECF No. 51 at 4.) Counsel does not articulate which statements are “perhaps 19 disparaging.” The information certainly is not superfluous. The undersigned shares plaintiff’s 20 counsel’s concern about the lack of attention and responsiveness defense counsel has displayed, 21 as well as the failure to comply with the Local Rules. While disruption due to vacation and/or 22 holidays is entirely understandable, defense counsel’s explanation that they were out “through the 23 new year,” does not explain defense counsel’s continued unresponsiveness or why counsel did 24 not file anything prior to the undersigned’s order to show cause issued on January 8, 2024. Moreover, defense counsel states that “amended responses will be provided by February 25 26 27, 2024.” (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff’s motion to compel was filed on November 3, 2023. In the 27 updated Statement re: Discovery Dispute, defense counsel provides no substantive basis to 28 //// 2 1 oppose plaintiff’s motion. Nor has defense counsel’s conduct inspired confidence that a future 2 production will be responsive and timely. 3 “The discovery process in theory should be cooperative and largely unsupervised by the 4 district court.” Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center, 884 F.3d 1218, 1219 (9th Cir. 2018). 5 “When that cooperation breaks down, the district court has broad discretion to regulate discovery 6 conduct and, if needed, impose a wide array of sanctions.” Infanzon v. Allstate Insurance 7 Company, 335 F.R.D. 305, 311 (C.D. Cal. 2020). Moreover, the counsel’s failure to comply with 8 the Local Rules “may be grounds for imposition by the Court of any and all sanctions authorized 9 by statute or Rule or within the inherent power of the Court.” Local Rule 110. 10 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 11 1. Plaintiff’s November 3, 2023 motion to compel (ECF No. 45) is granted; 12 2. Within seven days of the date of this order defendants shall produce responsive 13 documents; 14 3. The February 9, 2024 hearing of plaintiff’s motion is vacated; and 15 4. Within fourteen days of the date of this order defense counsel shall pay plaintiff $750 16 as a sanction for their conduct. 17 Dated: February 6, 2024 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 DLB:6 DB/orders/orders.civil/jenkins1896.mtc.sanc.ord 27 28 3

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