DYKEMAN v. MCGILL et al
LETTER OPINION AND ORDER denying 49 Motion to Compel; denying 52 Motion to Compel. Signed by Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion on 3/6/18. (sr, )(N/M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Martin Luther King Jr, Federal Bldg.
& U.S. Courthouse
50 Walnut Street
Newark, NJ 07102
STEVEN C. MANNION
United States Magistrate Judge
March 6, 2018
Dykeman v. McGill, et al.
Civil Action No. 14-cv-5411 (SDW)(SCM)
D.E. 49, 52
This matter comes before the Court on pro se Plaintiff William Dykeman’s (“Mr.
Dykeman”) motion to compel further responses to written deposition questions from former nonparty, now Defendant New Jersey Department of Corrections (“NJDOC”),1 and his motion to
compel further responses to deposition questions from Defendant Officers McGill and Wasik
(“Mr. McGill” and “Mr. Wasik”).2 NJDOC submitted a response,3 as did Mr. McGill and Mr.
“Depositions are the factual battleground where the vast majority of litigation actually
takes place.”5 For these reasons, the scope of examination during a deposition is broader than
(ECF Docket Entry (“D.E.”) 49, Mot. to Compel, Oct. 23, 2017).
(D.E. 52, Mot. to Compel, Oct. 30, 2017).
(D.E. 58, Ltr., Nov. 28, 2017).
(D.E. 60, Ltr., Dec. 1, 2017).
Hall v. Clifton Precision, a Div. of Litton Sys., Inc., 150 F.R.D. 525, 531 (E.D. Pa. 1993).
permitted at trial.6 Objections to written deposition questions are waived if not timely served.7 “A
party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer…if…a deponent fails to
answer a question asked under Rule 30 or 31.”8 “[A]n evasive or incomplete…answer…must be
treated as a failure to…answer[.]”9 “Any party may use a deposition to contradict or impeach the
testimony given by the deponent as a witness, or for any other purpose allowed by the Federal
Rules of Evidence.”10
Mr. Dykeman seeks to compel responses from NJDOC to three written deposition
questions.11 NJDOC was a non-party when it received and answered these questions. NJDOC
objected to one of Mr. Dykeman’s questions for breadth and relevance, asked for clarification on
another, and said its response would be forthcoming with the third.12 The motion to compel is
therefore moot as to this third request.
Furthermore, the Court notes that having granted Mr. Dykeman’s most recent motion to
amend,13 NJDOC is or soon will be a defendant in this matter, and Mr. Dykeman will have the
opportunity to serve interrogatories on NJDOC. For these reasons, NJDOC’s objections for
breadth and relevance to one of the questions at issue here may no longer apply. Mr. Dykeman
may therefore ask the same question as part of his interrogatories. NJDOC can then respond as a
defendant, and the Court can resolve any disputes that may remain at that point. Finally, if Mr.
Dykeman still seeks a response to the question for which NJDOC sought clarification, he should
Mellon v. Cooper-Jarrett, Inc., 424 F.2d 499 (6th Cir. 1970).
(D.E. 49, Mot. to Compel, Oct. 23, 2017, 4-5).
(D.E. 58, Ltr., Nov. 28, 2017).
(D.E. 65, Order, Feb. 8, 2018).
clarify the wording of his question and serve it as an interrogatory. For these reasons, the present
motion to compel responses from NJDOC is denied as moot.
Mr. Dykeman also seeks to compel further responses from Mr. McGill and Mr. Wasik to
his requests that they “[s]et forth in detail each and every incident in which a complaint was filed
or lodged against you” and “[i]dentify by venue and docket number any other litigations, lawsuits,
investigations, or proceedings in which you were either a defendants or subject of investigation,
and provide a detailed description of [them].”14 Mr. McGill and Mr. Wasik both responded that
despite having been named in lawsuits brought by inmates during the course of their employment
with NJDOC, they were “unable to recall the specifics of said complaints” and, with respect to Mr.
Dykeman’s latter request, “unable at this time to recall or provide the specifics identified in this
question.”15 In their letter opposing Mr. Dykeman’s motion, Mr. McGill and Mr. Wasik stated that
given their “lengthy tenures with the [NJDOC], neither is able to recall particular information
regarding lawsuits that have been brought against them in connection with their positions as
corrections officers.”16 They also stated that “reasonable inquiry into materials in their possession
provided no information that would enable them to more thoroughly respond[.]”17
It would be understandable if Mr. McGill and Mr. Wasik could not recall all the specifics
of the various complaints and lawsuits filed against them. However, they have not provided any
response to the questions at issue. The Court finds it highly improbable that these officers cannot
remember any facts regarding any complaints or lawsuits brought against them, particularly if they
have conducted “reasonable inquiry into materials in their possession[.]” The disclaimer of
knowledge that both officers have given seems like the prototype of an “evasive” answer.18 Mr.
Dykeman’s motion to compel further responses is therefore granted. Given the length of their
respective tenures, the Court will limit the request to the five years preceding the underlying claims
by Mr. Dykeman against Mr. McGill and Mr. Wasik in this case.
(D.E. 52, Mot. to Compel, Oct. 30, 2017, 1-2).
(D.E. 52, Mot. to Compel, Oct. 30, 2017, Ex. B-C).
(D.E. 60, Def.’s Ltr., Dec. 1, 2017).
See supra n. 9 and accompanying text.
The aspects of Mr. Dykeman’s motions that do not seek to compel discovery responses are
denied. The Clerk of the Court shall provide a copy of this Order to Plaintiff, Mr. Dykeman by
IT IS SO ORDERED.
3/6/2018 1:38:07 PM
Original: Clerk of the Court
Hon. Susan D. Wigenton, U.S.D.J.
cc: All parties
c (via U.S. Mail):
New Jersey State Prison
P.O. Box 2300
168 Frontage Rd.
Newark, NJ 07114
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