Medina v. Macomb, County of et al
ORDER Granting 18 Motion to Compel - Signed by Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub. (LBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-cv-10476
MAGISTRATE JUDGE MONA K. MAJZOUB
MACOMB, COUNTY OF,
ANTHONY ROMITA, and
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL 
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Jorge Medina’s Motion to Compel
Defendants’ Answers to Interrogatories. (Docket no. 18.) Defendants Macomb County and
Macomb County Sheriff’s Deputies Anthony Romita and Frederick Parisek have not responded
to Plaintiff’s Motion; however, the parties have filed a Joint Statement of Resolved and
Unresolved Issues (docket no. 20). With consent of the parties, this case has been referred to the
undersigned for all proceedings in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 73. (Docket no. 12.) The Court has reviewed the Motion and dispenses with oral
argument pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2). The Court is now ready
to rule pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).
Plaintiff initiated this action on February 9, 2016, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
that Defendants violated his rights as secured by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution. (Docket no. 1.) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on February
15, 2014, Defendants Romita and Parisek unlawfully entered Plaintiff’s home and unlawfully
searched and seized Plaintiff without a warrant or probable cause; used excessive force against
Plaintiff and/or failed to intervene in the same; and acted with deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff’s serious medical needs/injuries by failing to provide Plaintiff with access to medical
care. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 36-48.) Plaintiff also asserts a municipal liability claim against Defendant
Macomb County and a state-law claim of assault and battery against Defendant Romita. (Id. ¶¶
On October 7, 2016, Plaintiff served a set of twenty-two interrogatories upon Defendants
Romita and Parisek and a set of twenty-one interrogatories upon Defendant Macomb County.
(Docket no. 18 at 2-3; docket no. 18-1 at 1-17.) Defendants Romita and Parisek objected to and
did not answer Interrogatory nos. 8-22 on the basis that they exceeded the maximum number of
interrogatories, including discrete subparts, allowed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
33(a)(1). (Docket no. 18 at 3; docket no. 18-1 at 26-33.) Defendant Macomb County objected to
and did not answer Interrogatory nos. 20 and 21 on the same basis. (Docket no. 18 at 3; docket
no. 18-1 at 49-50.) Plaintiff then filed the instant Motion to Compel, in which he seeks a court
order compelling Defendants to answer the aforementioned interrogatories as well as the costs
and attorney fees he incurred in filing the Motion. (Docket no. 18.) According to the Joint
Statement of Resolved and Unresolved Issues, the parties were unable to resolve their dispute
regarding Plaintiff’s interrogatories. (Docket no. 20.)
Law and Analysis
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33 permits a party to serve no more than twenty-five
written interrogatories, including all discrete subparts, without leave of court. Fed. R. Civ. P.
33(a)(1). “Discrete subparts” of an interrogatory are questions that ask for discrete pieces of
information. Nolan, L.L.C. v. TDC Int’l Corp., No. 06-CV-14907-DT, 2007 WL 3408584, at *3
(E.D. Mich. Nov. 15, 2007) (citing Prochaska & Assocs. v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner &
Smith, Inc., 155 F.R.D. 189, 191 (D. Neb. 1993)). But a subpart that is related to the primary
question or directed at eliciting details concerning the common theme of the interrogatory should
be counted as one interrogatory rather than as a discrete and separate interrogatory. Harhara v.
Norville, No. 07-CV-12650, 2007 WL 2897845, at * 1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 25, 2007). For
example, “a question asking about communications of a particular type should be treated as a
single interrogatory even though it requests that the time, place, persons present, and contents be
stated separately for each such communication.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 33 (Advisory Committee Notes,
1993 Amendment, Subdivision (a)).
Many of Plaintiff’s interrogatories seek additional information or details to support the
primary answer, either in the text of the interrogatory itself or in enumerated lists stationed below
the text of the interrogatory. (Compare Interrogatory nos. 2 and 5 of Plaintiff’s First Set of
Interrogatories to Defendants Romita and Parisek, docket no. 18-1 at 3, 4, and Interrogatory nos.
5 and 7 of Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant Macomb County, docket no. 18-1
at 13, with Interrogatory nos. 3 and 4 of Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendants
Romita and Parisek, docket no. 18-1 at 3-4, and Interrogatory no. 17 of Plaintiff’s First Set of
Interrogatories to Defendant Macomb County, docket no. 18-1 at 15.) As Plaintiff points out,
Defendants do not challenge any specific interrogatory or indicate which of the interrogatories
they interpret to contain discrete subparts. A review of the interrogatories answered and left
unanswered by Defendants, however, reveals that Defendants seemingly considered only those
interrogatories with enumerated lists stationed below the text of the interrogatory to contain
discrete subparts, with each of the enumerated subparts counting toward the limit of twenty-five
Plaintiff argues that the enumerated subparts of his interrogatories do not seek
information about discrete and separate subjects, but they are subsumed within and related to the
primary question set forth by the interrogatories. (Docket no. 18 at 9-13.) Defendants have not
responded to Plaintiff’s Motion, and their general assertion in the Joint Statement of Resolved
and Unresolved Issues that they have “fully and fairly responded to the maximum number of
interrogatories allowed by FRCP 33(a)(1),” does not acknowledge or address Plaintiff’s
argument or the supporting law cited by Plaintiff. (See docket no. 20 at 2.)
Having conducted an independent review of Plaintiff’s interrogatories, the Court agrees
with Plaintiff – each of the subparts in the interrogatories at issue is either related to the primary
question or directed at eliciting details regarding the common theme of the interrogatory. Thus,
the Court finds that Plaintiff has only served Defendants Romita and Parisek with twenty-two
interrogatories and Defendant Macomb County with twenty-one interrogatories. The Court will
therefore order Defendants Romita and Parisek to provide full and complete answers to
Plaintiff’s Interrogatory nos. 8-22 and Defendant Macomb County to provide full and complete
answers to Plaintiff’s Interrogatory nos. 20 and 21, without further objection.
If the party receiving discovery requests under Rules 33 or 34 fails to respond properly,
Rule 37 provides the party who sent the discovery the means to file a motion to compel. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(B). If a court grants a Rule 37 motion to compel, or if discovery is received
after a Rule 37 motion is filed, then the court must award reasonable expenses and attorney’s
fees to the successful party, unless the successful party did not confer in good faith before the
motion, the opposing party’s position was substantially justified, or other circumstances would
make an award unjust. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A).
Rule 37 sanctions are appropriate in this case because the Court grants Plaintiff’s Motion
to Compel and because Defendants have failed to demonstrate that their position was
substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. The Court
will therefore order Defendants to pay Plaintiff’s reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees
associated with bringing this Motion pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5). The Court will also order
Plaintiff to submit a Bill of Costs.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Defendants’
Answers to Interrogatories  is GRANTED. Defendants Romita and Parisek are ordered to
provide full and complete answers to Plaintiff’s Interrogatory nos. 8-22, without further
objection, within twenty-one (21) days of this Opinion and Order. Defendant Macomb County is
ordered to provide full and complete answers to Plaintiff’s Interrogatory nos. 20 and 21, without
further objection, within twenty-one days (21) of this Opinion and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants pay the reasonable expenses and
attorney’s fees incurred by Plaintiff as a result of bringing the instant Motion. Plaintiff is
ordered to submit to the Court a Bill of Costs itemizing the same within twenty-one (21) days of
this Opinion and Order, at which time the Court will determine the amount of costs and fees for
which Defendants are liable.
Dated: October 11, 2017
s/ Mona K. Majzoub
MONA K. MAJZOUB
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
PROOF OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that a copy of this Opinion and Order was served upon counsel of record
on this date.
Dated: October 11, 2017
s/ Lisa C. Bartlett
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