Watterson et al v. Burgess et al
ORDER denying without prejudice 157 Motion for Sanctions. Defendant Jason Green shall serve complete discovery responses on Plaintiff Randolph A. Watterson on or before 11/1/16. Defendant Green shall file a Notice on or before 11/1/16 confirming that discovery responses have been provided as directed herein. Signed by Magistrate Judge David Keesler on 10/25/16. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(ssh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:13-CV-159-FDW-DCK
JEFFREY RANDOLPH WATTERSON, and
RANDOLPH ALEXANDER WATTERSON,
WOODY BURGESS, et al.,
THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on Plaintiff Randolph A Watterson’s
“Motion For Sanctions Against Defendant Green” (Document No. 157) filed on September 23,
2016. The pending motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b), and is ripe for disposition. Having carefully considered the motion, the record,
and applicable authority, the undersigned will deny the motion, without prejudice.
On September 7, 2016, the undersigned issued an “Order” (Document No. 154) granting
“Plaintiff Randolph A. Watterson’s Motion To Compel Discovery” (Document No. 150) and
requiring Defendant Green to provide complete discovery responses to Plaintiff on or before
September 12, 2016. The Court specifically noted that Defendant Jason Green had failed to even
respond to the motion to compel. (Document No. 154). In addition, the Court observed that
Plaintiff’s motion indicated that Defendant Green’s counsel had previously represented that
discovery responses would be provided no later than August 19, 2016. Id. (citing Document No.
By the instant motion for sanctions, Plaintiff now seeks sanctions against Defendant Green
for failure to provide responses to Plaintiff’s discovery requests and for failure to abide by this
Court’s “Order” (Document No. 154). (Document No. 157).
Defendant Green, through counsel, filed a “Response In Opposition To Motion For
Sanctions” (Document No. 165) on October 10, 2016. Defendant Green’s response is not
particularly enlightening. Defendant asserts that “there was confusion on counsel’s part” regarding
“where exactly discovery documents needed to be sent.” (Document no. 165, p.2). Defendant then
contends that “Defendant has in fact attempted to provide Discovery to the Plaintiff in a timely
manner. If the materials never arrived, or perhaps arrived at an incorrect address, Defendant would
ask that Plaintiff provide an accurate address.” (Document No. 165, p.3). Defendant Green has
not indicated any objection to the requested discovery, or that he is otherwise unwilling or unable
to provide complete and full responses to the requested discovery – just confusion about where to
send it. See (Document No. 157-1).
Plaintiff filed a reply brief on October 24, 2016, further indicating that Defendant Green
has yet to provide discovery responses. (Document No. 174).
The undersigned is deeply concerned about Defendant Green’s (and his counsel’s) failure
to comply with an Order of this Court. See (Document No. 154). The location and address of
Plaintiff Randolph A. Watterson is one of the most certain features of this lawsuit – since it is
undisputed that he is incarcerated and his mailing address is readily available on the docket for
this case. Defendant offers no explanation or evidence regarding an alleged “attempt” to provide
discovery to Plaintiff in a timely manner, nor is there any suggestion that Defendant Green’s
counsel reached out to the Court or the Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution for clarification
and/or to request additional time for compliance.
Despite Defendant Green’s recent failures, the undersigned will deny the pending motion
without prejudice and allow Defendant Green one more opportunity to provide full and complete
discovery responses to Plaintiff Randolph A. Watterson. The Court will take Plaintiff’s request
under advisement and may award sanctions, including reasonable expenses, at a later date. In
addition, Defendant Green and his counsel are respectfully advised that additional sanctions are
likely if he fails to provide full and complete discovery responses as ordered herein. The Court
could render a default judgment and/or treat Defendant’s failure as a contempt of court, among
other sanctions available. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Plaintiff Randolph A Watterson’s “Motion For
Sanctions Against Defendant Green” (Document No. 157) is DENIED WITHOUT
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Jason Green shall serve complete discovery
responses on Plaintiff Randolph A. Watterson at the address provided on the docket for this case,
on or before November 1, 2016. Moreover, Defendant Green shall file a Notice with this Court
on or before November 1, 2016 confirming that discovery responses have been provided as
Signed: October 25, 2016
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