(PC) Robinson v. Scottini

Filing 48

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Chi Soo Kim on 5/10/2024 DENYING 45 Motion to Compel. (Kyono, V)

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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 JAVAUGHN ROBINSON, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 v. No. 2:22-cv-1641 KJM CSK P ORDER SCOTTINI, Defendant. 16 17 Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Plaintiff’s motion to compel is before the 18 court. (ECF No. 45.) As set forth below, plaintiff’s motion is denied. 19 The Parties’ Positions 20 In plaintiff’s motion to compel, plaintiff declares that on January 18, 2024, plaintiff signed 21 a “single production of document request,” but has not yet received a response. (ECF No. 45 at 22 1.) Plaintiff states that the request sought “any and all videos on B-7 when [defendant] worked 23 and April through May. . . .” (Id.) Further, plaintiff claims that a meet and confer would be too 24 late to meet the discovery deadline. (Id.) 25 In opposition, defendant objects that no such discovery request was received and plaintiff 26 did not provide a copy of the purported discovery request or a copy of the proof of service 27 corroborating plaintiff served the request. (ECF No. 47.) Defendant confirms that on or about 28 January 30, 2024, four requests for production of documents seeking various documents were 1 1 received, but none of the requests sought production of video footage. (Id.) Despite plaintiff’s 2 failure to seek video footage in the discovery requests received by defendant, counsel for 3 defendant obtained video footage from May 19, 2022, one of the days defendant worked in B7, 4 and was making arrangements for plaintiff to view the footage at Salinas Valley State Prison 5 where plaintiff is currently housed. (Id.) No other video footage for any of the dates defendant 6 worked in B7 has been located, and “none is believed to exist.” (ECF No. 47 at 3.) Defendant 7 also provided a copy of defendant’s responses to plaintiff’s first set of requests for production of 8 documents. (ECF No. 47 at 5-8.) 9 10 Plaintiff did not file a reply. Motions to Compel Discovery 11 A. Standards Governing Discovery Disputes 12 Under Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “a party seeking discovery may 13 move for an order compelling an answer, designation, production, or inspection.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 14 37(a)(3)(B). The court may order a party to provide further responses to an “evasive or 15 incomplete disclosure, answer, or response.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(4). “District courts have 16 ‘broad discretion to manage discovery and to control the course of litigation under Federal Rule 17 of Civil Procedure 16.’” Hunt v. County. of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting 18 Avila v. Willits Envtl. Remediation Trust, 633 F.3d 828, 833 (9th Cir. 2011)). 19 The party moving to compel bears the burden of informing the court (1) which discovery 20 requests are the subject of his motion to compel, (2) which of the responses are disputed, (3) why 21 he believes the response is deficient, (4) why defendants’ objections are not justified, and (5) why 22 the information he seeks through discovery is relevant to the prosecution of this action. McCoy 23 v. Ramirez, 2016 WL 3196738, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jun. 9, 2016); Ellis v. Cambra, 2008 WL 860523, 24 at *4 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008). If a court grants the motion, then the court must order the party 25 “whose conduct necessitated the motion . . . to pay the movant’s reasonable expenses incurred in 26 making the motion, including attorney’s fees.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A). The court must not 27 award expenses if “the movant filed the motion before attempting in good faith to obtain the 28 disclosure or discovery without court action”; “the opposing party’s nondisclosure, response, or 2 1 objection was substantially justified”; or “other circumstances make an award of expenses 2 unjust.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)(i)-(iii). 3 B. Discussion 4 Plaintiff’s motion to compel was signed under penalty of perjury on March 14, 2024, one 5 day before the discovery deadline expired, and therefore the motion is timely. However, as 6 argued by defendant, plaintiff failed to provide a copy of the discovery request or the proof of 7 service attesting to service of the purported request for production of video footage on defendant. 8 In addition, plaintiff failed to reply to defendant’s opposition, and defendant’s responses to the 9 plaintiff’s first request for production of documents confirms that plaintiff did not seek video 10 footage in such request. Because it appears plaintiff failed to properly serve a request to produce 11 video footage, plaintiff’s motion to compel is denied. The Court appreciates the defendant 12 planning for plaintiff to view the May 19, 2022 video footage despite plaintiff’s failures. 13 As set forth above, the Court would normally be required to order plaintiff to pay 14 defendant’s reasonable expenses in opposing plaintiff’s motion. However, because plaintiff is 15 indigent, and proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court finds such an order would be unjust. 1 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to compel (ECF No. 45) 16 17 is denied. 18 Dated: May 10, 2024 19 20 21 /1/robi1641.mtc 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 That said, plaintiff is cautioned to take care when filing motions, and when signing court filings under penalty of perjury. Courts have dismissed an action with prejudice for failure to comply with a court order, for failure to prosecute, and for failure to comply with local rules. See, e.g., Malone v. United States Postal Service, 833 F.2d 128, 130-31 (9th Cir. 1987) (dismissal for failure to comply with court order); see also Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 1423 (9th Cir. 1986) (dismissal for failure to prosecute and for failure to comply with local rules); see also ECF No. 26 at 8 ¶ 17. 3

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