Woods v. Department of Public Safety et al
ORDER denying with Prejudice Plaintiff's 51 , 52 , 53 , 54 Motions to Compel; granting Defendants' 55 Motion for Protective Order; denying Plaintiff's 60 Motion to Extend the Deadline for Completion o f Discovery; denying as MOOT Defendants 61 Motion to Extend the Deadline to File Their Dispositive Motions. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall have until 21 days from this Order to file dispositive motions in this matter. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 1/6/2021. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.) (hms)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
TRAVON LEVI WOODS,
RONALD COVINGTON, et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motions for an Order
Compelling Discovery [Docs. 51-54]; Defendants’ Motion for Protective
Order [Doc. 55]; Plaintiff’s Motion to Extend the Deadline for Completion of
Discovery [Doc. 60]; and Defendants’ Motion to Extend the Deadline to File
Their Dispositive Motion [Doc. 61].
On December 13, 2018, Plaintiff’s Complaint, filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, survived initial review in accordance with the Court’s Order.
[Doc. 8]. On February 3, 2020, the Court entered its Pretrial Order and Case
Management Plan (PTOCMP), setting among other things the discovery
limits in this case. [Doc. 23]. The PTOCMP provides that “[e]ach party may
propound no more than 20 interrogatories, including subparts; no more than
20 requests for admissions, and take no more than 6 depositions.” [Id. at 2].
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The Court appointed the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services (NCPLS)
as counsel to assist in conducting discovery in this matter. [Doc. 23]. On
July 9, 2020, NCPLS counsel filed a notice advising the Court that he had
assisted Plaintiff with conducting discovery and moved to withdraw as
counsel, which the Court allowed. [Docs. 39-41]. The Court extended the
discovery deadline to September 29, 2020 and then to November 30, 2020
on Plaintiff’s pro se motions.1 [Docs. 42, 50; July 28, 2020 & October 6, 2020
On August 13, 2020, Plaintiff filed an “Opposition to Defendants [sic]
Objections for Plaintiff’s Discovery Requests” [Doc. 43], which the Court
construed as a motion to compel. In the motion, Plaintiff took issue with
certain discovery responses propounded by Defendants. [See id. at 1-2].
Defendants responded, advising the Court that they intended to construe
Plaintiff’s motion as a request for supplementation and asked the Court to
“hold any ruling on the Opposition in abeyance and allow the Defendants
until at least September 29, 2020 to attempt to supplement their discovery
responses.” [Doc. 45 at 1-2]. The Court, therefore, denied Plaintiff’s motion
to compel without prejudice to allow Defendants to supplement their
The Court stayed the dispositive motions deadline due to the parties’ agreement to a
judicial settlement conference in this matter. [Doc. 33].
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responses. [Doc. 47]. In this Order, the Court also advised Plaintiff that
“should Plaintiff need to refile his motion to compel, he must include a copy
of the discovery responses he complains are insufficient” because
“piecemeal recitation of the disputed responses is insufficient to allow
meaningful review by the Court.” [Id. at 3 n.2].
Plaintiff has now filed four motions to compel discovery responses from
Defendants, none of which included the disputed discovery requests as
previously directed by the Court.2 [See Docs. 51-54]. In these motions,
Plaintiff purports to seek more complete responses to certain discovery
requests [Doc. 52, 53] and responses to other discovery requests Plaintiff
allegedly propounded on Defendants [Docs. 51, 54].
Even if the Court were to consider Plaintiff’s motions to fully answer
the requests that are the subject of Docket Nos. 52 and 53, despite his failure
to include a copy of the disputed requests with his motions, Defendants’
response to these motions demonstrates that no further supplementation is
Defendants’ original discovery response and supplemental
response fully answer the disputed discovery requests. [See Docs. 59-1, 592, 59-3]. As such, the Court will deny Docket Nos. 52 and 53.
Plaintiff later filed the disputed discovery requests that should have been filed with
Docket Nos. 51 and 54, [see Docs. 57, 58], and asks the Court’s leniency in excusing his
previous failure to include them [Doc. 58 at 1].
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As for Plaintiff’s motions at Docket Nos. 51 and 54, Plaintiff exceeded
the limits on discovery requests set by the Court in its PTOCMP with his first
discovery requests. [See Doc. 59-1 at 3-20; Doc. 23 at 2]. Furthermore,
Defendants’ counsel states that he has no record of ever having received
these requests and the discovery period is now closed. [Doc. 59 at 2-4, 6].
The Court will, therefore, deny these motions to compel with prejudice.
Defendants move for an order protecting them from responding to
Plaintiff’s Second Set of Requests for Admissions, which Defendants state
Plaintiff served on October 26, 2020. [Doc. 55; Doc. 56 at 2]. As grounds
for the protective order, Defendants argue Plaintiff’s discovery request is
untimely, burdensome, and improper. [Id., Doc. 56 at 3-4]. Although
Plaintiff’s discovery request is timely under the extended discovery deadline,
Plaintiff’s request again exceeds the maximum discovery allowed under the
PTOCMP and Plaintiff has not moved to amend the PTOCMP to allow
additional discovery requests. The Court will, therefore, grant Defendants’
motion for protective order.
Also before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion to extend the discovery
deadline. [Doc. 60]. Plaintiff has had ample time to conduct discovery in this
matter, both when represented and proceeding pro se.
The Court has
previously granted two motions by Plaintiff extending the deadline.
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Furthermore, the grounds stated by Plaintiff for an extension are addressed
above with respect to Plaintiff’s motions to compel. The Court will, therefore,
deny this motion.
Defendants also move for an extension to file their motion for summary
judgment. [Doc. 61]. The Court will deny this motion as moot because the
dispositive motions deadline in this case has been stayed since April 6, 2020
for the reasons stated in that Order. [Doc. 33]. Because discovery is now
concluded, the Court will set the dispositive motions deadline for 21 days
from this Order.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motions [Docs. 51-54]
are DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion for Protective
Order [Doc. 55] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Extend the
Deadline for Completion of Discovery [Doc. 60] is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Extend the
Deadline to File Their Dispositive Motions [Doc. 61] is DENIED as moot.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall have until 21 days
from this Order to file dispositive motions in this matter.
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IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed: January 6, 2021
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