Walker et al v. Detroit Public School District et al
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 50 MOTION to Compel filed by Leon Merriweather, Malik Slater, BRIDGET WALKER, Kejuana McCants, Extending Discovery and Setting Telephone Conference. ( Discovery Cut-off set for 12/7/2011; Telephone Conference set for 12/8/2011 02:30 PM before District Judge Robert H. Cleland) Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BRIDGET WALKER, Personal Representative
of the Estate of Christopher Walker, et al.,
Case No. 2:10-cv-12596
CARMEN EVANS, et al.,
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS’ “MOTION TO
COMPEL,” EXTENDING DISCOVERY, AND SETTING TELEPHONE CONFERENCE
Pending before the court is Plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery, which requests
a court order compelling Defendants to answer previously served interrogatories and
requests to produce. At the court’s direction, Defendants have filed a response to the
motion, and the court held a hearing on the motion on October 12, 2011.
On May 11, 2011, Plaintiffs served on Defendants a set of fifteen interrogatories
and nine requests to produce. Defendants failed to serve its answers and objections
within thirty days as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33 and still has not
done so, even though Plaintiffs brought up the issue in an August 19, 2011 telephone
conference with the court and claim to have made numerous other inquiries of
Defendants. (Pl.’s Mot. Compel ¶¶ 5-9.) On September 16, 2011, Plaintiffs filed this
motion to compel Defendants to produce the requested discovery.
In Defendants’ response and at the motion hearing, Defendants’ attorney
indicated he had been working to compile answers to Plaintiffs’ interrogatories and
procure documents responsive to their requests to produce, noting that he had already
secured the requested documentation regarding the October 16, 2008 shooting incident
on which Plaintiffs base their claims. However, he also cited numerous challenges as
in-house counsel for the Detroit Public Schools—a district currently under emergency
management—including depleted resources, a shortage of support staff, and a heavy
trial schedule. These challenges, he claimed, have prevented him from serving
answers to Plaintiffs’ interrogatories and requests to produce in a timely fashion.
Additionally, Defendants’ counsel objected to some of Plaintiffs’ requests to produce as
overly broad and irrelevant to the parties and claims that remain in this suit.
The court agrees with Defendants that some of Plaintiffs’ requests to produce are
not “relevant to any party’s claim or defense” and not “reasonably calculated to lead to
the discovery of admissible evidence.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Specifically,
requests one through five, to the extent they ask for materials originating after the
October 16, 2008 shooting incident, and request eight appear relevant only to the
claims Plaintiffs initially alleged against the Detroit Public School District, which the court
has dismissed as a defendant in this action. (See 12/13/10 Order.) Therefore, the court
will grant in part Plaintiffs’ motion to compel by ordering Defendants to provide answers
to all interrogatories, any documents dating from September 1, 2007 through October
16, 2007 that are responsive to Plaintiffs’ requests to produce numbers one through
five, and any documents, regardless of date, that are responsive to requests to produce
numbers six, seven, and nine. Given the difficulties with collecting the requested
discovery detailed by Defendants’ attorney in his response and at the hearing, the court
will impose a schedule, laid out below and agreed to by Defendants’ counsel at the
hearing, for production over the next eight weeks.
Finally, the court notes that the scheduled end of discovery in this case was
October 12, 2011. However, at the hearing, both Plaintiffs’ counsel and Defendants’
counsel stated that they would like to take additional depositions. Namely, Defendant
wishes to depose Plaintiff Malik Slater and Plaintiff wishes to depose Defendant Colin
Lowery, both of whom had been largely unreachable prior to October 12, 2011.
Therefore, the court will extend discovery for an additional eight weeks, with the
expectation that all parties will be able to complete any remaining discovery during that
time. After the expiration of that eight-week period, the court will hold a telephone
conference with the parties; any requests to further extend discovery for good cause or
due to extraordinary circumstances will be entertained at that time.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above and on the record at the October 12,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ “Motion to Compel” [Dkt. # 50] is GRANTED IN
PART AND DENIED IN PART. It is GRANTED in that Defendants shall: immediately
produce all materials that are responsive to Plaintiffs’ requests to produce number six,
seven, and nine; produce answers to Plaintiffs’ interrogatories by November 9, 2011;
and produce all materials dating from September 1, 2007 through October 16, 2008 that
are responsive to Plaintiffs’ requests to produce numbers one through five by
December 7, 2011. It is DENIED in that Defendants need not produce materials dated
after October 16, 2008, in response to Plaintiffs’ requests to produce numbers one
through five or any materials in response to Plaintiffs’ request to produce number eight.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that discovery in this case shall extend to December
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall participate in a telephone
conference on December 8, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. The court will place the telephone call.
The parties shall be prepared to discuss any remaining discovery issues as well as a
proposed trial schedule.
s/Robert H. Cleland
ROBERT H. CLELAND
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: October 14, 2011
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record
on this date, October 14, 2011, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
Case Manager and Deputy Clerk
S:\Cleland\JUDGE'S DESK\C2 ORDERS\10-12596.WALKER.GrantInPartMotCompel.set.wpd
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