Dinkins v. Schinzel

Filing 45

ORDER Granting in part and Denying in part Defendant's 29 Motion for Sanctions, Motion for Protective Order, and Motion for Attorney's Fees. The Court grants Defendant's request for a protective order and denies Defendant's request for sanctions and attorney's fees. Signed by Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr on 9/15/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - SLD)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 7 8 9 10 11 12 KENNETH DINKINS, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) vs. ) ) GERALDINE SCHINZEL, ) ) Defendants. ) __________________________________________) Case No. 2:17-cv-01089-JAD-GWF ORDER 13 14 This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions, Motion for Protective 15 Order, and Motion for Attorney’s Fees (ECF No. 29), filed on August 23, 2017. Plaintiff filed his 16 Opposition (ECF No. 33) on August 25, 2017. Defendant filed her Reply (ECF No. 36) on August 17 29, 2017. 18 BACKGROUND 19 This matter arises from allegations of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, 20 tortious interference with business relationship, and assault stemming from a real property 21 transaction. See Complaint (ECF No. 1). Defendant represents that Plaintiff supplemented Fed. R. 22 Civ. P. 26 disclosures with documents regarding Defendant’s counsel’s suspension from the State Bar 23 of Nevada. Defendant requests an order protecting from disclosure documents related to Defendant’s 24 counsel’s legal issues unrelated to this matter as well as sanctions and attorney’s fees. Plaintiff argues 25 that the Defendant failed to engage in a meet and confer conference as required by the Local Rules. 26 Plaintiff further argues that such information is public and is relevant to potentially impeach 27 Defendant. 28 ... 1 DISCUSSION 2 Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) provides: 3 6 Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable. 7 When a party moves for a protective order, the court “may, for good cause, issue an order to 4 5 8 protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” 9 Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1). “Rule 26(c) confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide when a 10 protective order is appropriate and what degree of protection is required.” Youngevity Int'l, Inc. v. 11 Smith, 2017 WL 2692928, at *3 (S.D. Cal. June 22, 2017). “The burden is upon the party seeking the 12 [protective] order to ‘show good cause’ by demonstrating harm or prejudice that will result from the 13 discovery.” Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004). This burden may be met by 14 showing that the discovery requested is irrelevant, overly broad, burdensome, or oppressive. 15 Youngevity Int'l, Inc., 2017 WL 2692928, at *3. If the court finds that a protective order is 16 appropriate, it may forbid the disclosure, forbid inquiry into certain matters, specify the terms for 17 discovery, or limit the scope of discovery. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1). 18 Defendant’s counsel is not a party to this matter. Nor is he a witness to the facts underlying 19 this case. Plaintiff disclosed documents regarding Defendant’s counsel that are not relevant to the 20 issues of this matter. The Court, therefore, grants Defendant’s request for a protective order and 21 instructs Plaintiff to withdraw his disclosures related to Defendant’s counsel and to limit the scope of 22 his disclosures to relevant facts, claims or defenses. Plaintiff shall not disclose or inquire into 23 Defendant’s counsel’s personal or professional matters as they are irrelevant to the issues of this case. 24 Fed. R. Civ. P. governs discovery sanctions and provides for sanctions against a party that 25 fails to comply with discovery orders. Issuance and violation of a discovery order is not always a 26 prerequisite to the imposition of sanctions. Wysocki v. Dourian, 2017 WL 3996398, at *2 (D. Nev. 27 Sept. 11, 2017) (citing Sigliano v. Mendoza, 642 F.2d 309, 310 (9th Cir. 1981)). Defendant seeks an 28 award of attorney’s fees in bringing her motion. An award of sanctions against Plaintiff is not 2 1 warranted in this instance. Plaintiff is pro se and, although required to comply with the Federal Rules 2 of Evidence and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court affords some leniency to pro se litigants. 3 To the Court’s knowledge, Plaintiff has not been previously sanctioned. He is, however, cautioned 4 that failure to comply with this Court’s order and attempts to introduce Defendant’s counsel’s alleged 5 bar discipline may result in an award of monetary or dispositive sanctions including dismissal of his 6 complaint. Accordingly, 7 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions, Motion for Protective 8 Order, and Motion for Attorney’s Fees (ECF No. 29) is granted, in part, and denied, in part. The 9 Court grants Defendant’s request for a protective order and denies Defendant’s request for sanctions 10 11 and attorney’s fees. DATED this 15th day of September, 2017. 12 13 14 ______________________________________ GEORGE FOLEY, JR. United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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