Millare v. Stratton et al

Filing 69

ORDER denying without prejudice Plaintiff's 50 Motion to Compel a More Definite Answer. If, after making a good faith effort to meet and confer regarding specific challenges Plaintiff asserts against Defendants' objections, the parties reach an impasse, the parties may file a Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute by 10/18/2017. Signed by Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin on 9/15/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service) (jah)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MORIANO MILLARE, Case No.: 16CV1633-BAS-MDD Plaintiff, 12 13 v. 14 G. STRATTON, et al., 15 Defendant. ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL [ECF No. 50] 16 17 Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel a More Definite 18 Answer. (ECF No. 50). Plaintiff’ moves to compel responses to 19 interrogatories and further documents from Defendant G. Stratton. (Id.). 20 The dispute involves a confidential memorandum in Plaintiff’s central file 21 and documents relating to Plaintiff’s work placement. (Id. at 14-27). 22 23 LEGAL STANDARD A party may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged information 24 that is relevant to any claim or defense in his case. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). 25 Once the party seeking discovery has established that his request meets this 26 broadly-construed relevancy requirement, “the party opposing discovery has 27 the burden of showing that the discovery should be prohibited, and the 1 16CV1633-BAS-MDD 1 burden of clarifying, explaining or supporting its objections.” Bryant v. 2 Ochoa, No. 07-cv-200, 2009 WL 1390794, at *1 (S.D. Cal. May 14, 2009). 3 When a party believes the responses to his requests are incomplete, or 4 contain unfounded objections, he may move the court for an order compelling 5 disclosure. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. 6 DISCUSSION 7 As a threshold issue, in a proper motion seeking the court to compel 8 further discovery production, the movant must show that he conferred, or 9 made a good faith effort to confer, with the party opposing disclosure before 10 seeking court intervention. Fed R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1). Additionally, a motion to 11 compel “must include a certification” that the movant has attempted to meet 12 and confer.” Id. Failure to meet and confer in good faith is grounds for 13 denial of the motion to compel. Robinson v. Potter, 453 F.3d 990, 995 (8th 14 Cir. 2006); Rogers v. Giurbino, 288 F.R.D. 469, 477 (S.D. Cal. 2012) 15 (Scheinuck v. Sepulveda, No. C 09-0727 WHA (PR), 2010 WL 5174340, at *1- 16 2 (N.D. Cal. Dec, 15, 2010); see Shaw v. Cnty. Of San Diego, No. 06-2680- 17 IEG(PQR), 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80508, at 3-4, 2008 WL 9411414 (S.D. Cal. 18 Oct. 9, 2001) (denying plaintiff’s motion to compel for failing to attempt to 19 meet and confer.). 20 The requirement to meet and confer applies to pro se litigants. Madsen 21 v. Risenhoover, No. C 09-5457 SBA (PR), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90810, *8-9 22 (N.D. Cal. June 28, 2012) (finding that the meet and confer requirement 23 applies to incarcerated individuals); Walker v. Ryan, No. CV-1—1408-PHX- 24 JWS (LOA), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63606, at *5-6 (D. Ariz. May 7, 2012) 25 (denying motion to compel where unrepresented party did not include a 26 certification of attempts to meet and confer); see also Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 27 F.2d 108, 109 (6th Cir. 1991) (discussing that although courts should liberally 2 16CV1633-BAS-MDD 1 construe pro se plaintiffs’ pleadings and legal arguments, this liberality does 2 not apply to compliance with straightforward procedural requirements). 3 Here, Defendants assert that Plaintiff did not meet and confer before 4 filing his motion. (ECF No. 54 at 9). A declaration provided by Defendants’ 5 attorney indicates that Plaintiff made no effort to meet and confer with 6 respect to the supposedly insufficient discovery responses “either by letter, 7 phone, or in person.” (ECF No. 54-2 at ¶7). Plaintiff’s motion cites Rule 37’s 8 requirement to include a certification that he engaged in or attempted to 9 engage in the meet and confer process before seeking court intervention. 10 (ECF No. 50 at 12). Plaintiff’s motion does not contain the required 11 certification. Further, Plaintiff argues that he does not have access to collect 12 call telephones during business hours because of his work assignment. (ECF 13 No. 62 at 1). 14 As noted above, Plaintiff’s status as an incarcerated pro se litigant does 15 not absolve him of the requirement to engage in the meet and confer process. 16 The Court finds that Plaintiff has not satisfied this requirement and 17 therefore his Motion to Compel is premature. Accordingly, the parties are 18 directed to meet and confer by telephone by October 4, 2017, to address 19 Defendants’ objections and Plaintiff’s reasons to compel further production. 20 Defendants are directed to initiate the call. If after a good faith effort to meet 21 and confer, the parties are unable to resolve their disputes, they may file a 22 joint motion for determination of a discovery dispute consistent with this 23 Court’s Chambers Rules. 24 CONCLUSION 25 For the aforementioned reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel is 26 DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. If, after making a good faith effort to 27 meet and confer regarding specific challenges Plaintiff asserts against 3 16CV1633-BAS-MDD 1 Defendants’ objections, the parties reach an impasse, the parties may file a 2 Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery dispute on or before October 3 18, 2017. 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 Dated: September 15, 2017 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 4 16CV1633-BAS-MDD

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